Nantes Cathedral Fire

Attribute to Jehan de La Chasse, west window, Nantes Cathedral, 1498, photographed in 2016 (Image © William Chevillon, CC-BY-NC-ND,

On the 18th July, Saint-Pierre and Saint-Paul Cathedral, Nantes, was severely damaged by fire, allegedly the result of arson by a volunteer church assistant. Firefighters were able to contain the blaze and save the building, but historic furnishings and artworks, including the seventeenth-century organ were destroyed. Among the losses were stained glass windows, including several fifteenth-century stained glass panels, which were in the west window. Video footage of the blaze shows flames and smoke escaping through the stonework of the window, after the glass was blown out. The panels which have been lost were the remnants of a window given in 1498 by Anne of Brittany (1477-1514, Duchess of Brittany and Queen Consort of France) and attributed to Jehan de La Chasse. The extant figural panels occupied the outer lights, and showed Anne of Brittany and her mother, Marguerite de Foix, each accompanied by their patron saints, beneath figures of Elijah and Moses. In the central light was a depiction of the fountain of life.

Vidimus is saddened by the news of this loss, and hopes to provide further information in our next issue.

Historic England Releases New Guidance Note for Stained Glass

Stained Glass Windows: Managing Environmental Deterioration (© Historic England)

Historic England has published a new guidance note for custodians of stained glass. Stained Glass Windows: Managing Environmental Deterioration is intended to provide building owners and managers with an understanding of the impact of the environment upon stained glass deterioration, the decision-making processes involved in stained glass conservation and the point at which custodians should seek specialist advice. The guidance note includes useful information on how to find conservation professionals, as well as a selected bibliography of key further reading. The guidance note promises to be a valuable resource for custodians and professionals whose work includes the care and protection of stained glass.

Vidimus is planning to publish a detailed review of the guidance note later in the year.

Historic England, Stained Glass Windows: Managing Environmental Deterioration, Swindon, 2020, can be downloaded from Historic England’s website, where further resources are also available.

News from the Stained Glass Museum

The Stained Glass Museum is aiming to reopen to the public, with a number of safety measures in place, from Wednesday 5 August. During August the museum will be open on fewer days and slightly reduced hours, Wednesday-Saturday, 10:30-15:30.

For further updates and information please check the museum’s social media and website updates at

The Stained Glass Museum hosted its first online annual lecture, “Craft New Art: An Artistic Journey in Stained Glass” with Helen Whittaker MA FMGP of Barley Studio on 15 July 2020. More than 120 people joined us from all over the world for this fantastic illustrated lecture. Many people have asked if a recording is available, and we are delighted to announce that Helen’s lecture is also now available to watch via our YouTube channel here:

New Appointments to the International Board of the Corpus Vitrearum

After eight successful years, Dr Hartmut Scholz, the outgoing President of the International Corpus Vitrearum, has warmly welcomed Professor Tim Ayers as his unanimously elected successor. Professor Ayers, who has previously served as Vice-President, is a Professor in the History of Art at the University of York, a committee member of the British CVMA and the author of numerous insightful works on stained glass, including CVMA volumes on the glass of Wells Cathedral and Merton College, Oxford.

At the same elections, both Karine Boulanger (France) and Professor Emeritus Ellen Shortell (USA) were elected for second terms as Vice-Presidents. Dr Dobrosława Horzela (Poland) was elected as scientific secretary, taking up the mantle from Dr Isabelle Lecocq (France). Vidimus extends its thanks to the outgoing representatives for their dedication and wishes every success to the new officers.

Online Postgraduate Diploma (PGDip) in Parish Church Studies: History, Heritage and Fabric

Studying the English Parish Church can be one of the most enriching pursuits in academia. A physical embodiment of religion, popular devotion, community, economy and government, these institutions encapsulate the very history of the British Isles. At the University of York, you can do just that. The only course of its kind, the two-year, part-time ONLINE Postgraduate Diploma (PGDip) in Parish Church Studies: History, Heritage and Fabric is delivered in association with The Churches Conservation Trust is open to applications.

Covering the spread of Christianity from the Age of the Venerable Bede, right through to the role of the church today, the programmes offers an unparalleled opportunity to gain detailed and practical knowledge of the history, use, care and conservation of the English parish church. We consider the controversial exploits of the Victorian movements then journey all the way back to the Break with Rome, and how it impacted communities at grass-roots level. We also travel back again to unravel liturgy, and how it aided the development of ecclesiastical architecture, and forward to consider how those buildings (and their immediate environment: the churchyard) may be used, reused, managed and maintained in what is arguably a difficult religious climate.

The interdisciplinary nature of the diploma means it really does have something for everyone. From art and architecture to conservation, to the communities that have shaped and been shaped by the church – even to the legislation that governs and the evidence that survives. In equal measure, the programme introduces the skills and resources you will need for academic work at postgraduate level, from analytical rigour, independent thought, and clear communication, meaning you will be well prepared for the world of work or further research.

As noted, a very special aspect of the course is its partnership with The Churches Conservation Trust which allows you exclusive access to local CCT sites, membership, key resources, and further opportunities for valuable work placements within the Trust. We are extremely proud of this partnership as it provides our students with a unique set of skills and prospects – it really does have it all!

The online component allows you to undertake the course from anywhere in the world and, most importantly, to be flexible with your studies allowing you to complete work around your schedule, all the while supported by expert staff who will challenge you to think creatively and independently, and provide participation in a lively yet scholarly online community.

You will emerge as a well-rounded researcher ready to pursue graduate careers in a variety of sectors including history, planning, heritage, the museums sector, the Church, teaching, public history, archives or Masters/doctoral level research.

Finally, there is an optional residential school held within York which allows you to get together and meet your peers, mingle with experts (including CCT staff) and, of course, visit some wonderful churches (including evensong at magnificent York Minster – what more could you ask for?!).

The PGDip in Parish Church Studies starts in late September, concurrent with each new academic year – places are limited to ensure a constructive atmosphere for discussions. To apply, visit: or contact the Programme Director for a further discussion, Dr Emma Wells.

St Michael and All Angels, Garton on the Wolds (Image © Emma J. Wells)

St Mary’s, Studley Royal (Image © Emma J. Wells)

St Gregory’s, Bedale (Image © Emma J. Wells)