News

Caroline Benyon FMGP

All the team at Vidimus note with sadness the sudden death this month of Caroline Benyon FMGP. Caroline was Chairman of the British Society of Master Glass Painters for more than two decades. She also served the Worshipful Company of Glaziers as a Court Assistant for many years and was Deputy-Chair of the Worshipful Company of Glaziers’ Craft and Competitions Committee. Caroline made a huge contribution to the world of stained glass and will be greatly missed.


News from the Stained Glass Museum

The Stained Glass Museum has announced their Autumn 2021 online webinar series which include:

Wednesday 22 September 2021, 7pm (UK) 

The Illuminated Canvas: Francis Eginton (1737-1805), the Prospect Hill Studio and Glass Painting in late Georgian Britain – Suzanne Phillips Galloway

Wednesday 29 September 2021, 7pm (UK) 

Kehinde Wiley’s Stained Glass Art – Jasmine Allen

Wednesday 6 October 2021, 7pm (UK) 

Dating Nathan: The Oldest Stained Glass Window in England? – Laura Ware Adlington

Wednesday 13 October 2021, 7pm (UK) 

Irish Stained Glass: from An Túr Gloine to the present day – David Caron

For full details, prices and booking arrangements please see:

https://stainedglassmuseum.com/toursandlectures



#Museumlates

To celebrate their new acquisition by Kehinde Wiley, the museum is delighted to be hosting three free #MuseumLates in August and September. The museum invites Vidimus readers to come and see the artwork and the museum’s collection for free on one of the following #MuseumLates:

  • Tuesday 17 Aug, 4-5pm; 6.30-7.30pm
  • Wednesday 8 Sep, 4-5pm; 6.30-7.30pm
  • Wednesday 15 Sep, 4-5pm; 6.30-7.30pm

 

Book here.

Pre-booked tickets are available for each timed 15-minute entry slot during the two sessions (4pm-5pm, and 6.30-7.30pm). Please book a FREE timed admission ticket and arrive at your selected entry time.

#MuseumLates are a great opportunity to explore the beautiful Stained Glass Museum after hours! The museum Curator, Jasmine Allen, will be on hand to chat about the new panel and answer any questions. The museum shop and main gallery will also be open for you to explore.


Event reminder: ICON Ceramics, Glass and Stained Glass Conservation Annual Conference

Fragmented Stories: Case Studies in Ceramics, Glass, and Stained Glass Conservation

16th-17th October 2021, Online 

Tickets are now on sale for the annual ICON Ceramics, Glass and Stained Glass Conservation Annual Conference, taking place online between 16th and 17th of October 2021.

This year’s conference proposes a large range of different topics in the joint worlds of Ceramics, Glass and Stained Glass, giving a chance to people from different disciplines to come together at a unique and varied event, and providing opportunities for networking and socialising across different sectors. Guest speakers include Julie Monique, discussing the disastrous recent fire at Notre-Dame de Paris and how it has affected conservation practice and Dr Katie Harrison, Vidimus’ previous editor, presenting part of her ground-breaking research on the St Cuthbert Window in York Minster, currently being conserved.

To see the full list of speakers and topics and for purchasing tickets, click here.


New dating for some of Canterbury Cathedral's glass

Readers of Vidimus will no doubt be aware of the recent exciting news that glass panels from the “Ancestors Series” at Canterbury Cathedral may be the oldest existing stained glass windows in England. This series was created and installed in the Cathedral, beginning in the late 1170s (after a fire in 1174) and continuing through to 1220. It has recently been discovered that a panel from this series is much older than originally thought, dating back to the period 1130-1160. This discovery was made by a team of scientists from UCL and conservators from Canterbury Cathedral using a technique known as portable x-ray fluorescence (pXRF), with an approach developed for the purpose by Dr Laura Ware Adlington, who was then a PhD student at the UCL Institute of Archaeology. Their results confirm research carried out in the 1980’s by the art-historian Professor Madeline Caviness who suggested that four of the panels installed in the 13th century were stylistically much older. Full details of the press release issued by  UCL can be accessed here and the detailed report on the work may be freely downloaded from the journal Heritage.

Readers may be interested to know how pXRF can help date glass.  It is a method of analysis which determines the chemical elements and their concentrations in a material.  Medieval glass was composed of two main ingredients, a flux (typically the ash of inland trees or bracken) and silica, usually in the form of sand.  The compositions of ash and sand vary depending on where the glass was made, and the proportions used in glass making changed over time and differed between workshops.  This opens up the possibility of dating or sourcing glass from its chemical composition. While a chronology of glass chemical compositions has been established for the post-medieval period in England (see works by Dr David Dungworth), similar work is still on-going for medieval glass.

It is not straightforward, however. Handheld pXRF works by directing a beam of x-rays at the glass of interest.  The x-rays interact with the glass surface and send out a spectrum of new fluorescent x-rays which are diagnostic of the elemental make-up of the glass.  Because pXRF is non-destructive and portable, it is well suited for windows but they present a number of difficulties: the presence of weathering or dirt on the glass surface, the difficulties in positioning the instrument against the glass surface because of the protruding lead cames, and the fact that air absorbs the X-rays of light materials. 

The authors overcame these issues by devising a special 3D-printed nose which allowed the positioning of the pXRF instrument between the cames and by concentrating on a few diagnostic elements which were characteristic of the sand and the flux, which can travel through air and which were generated below the surface of the glass, minimising the problems due to weathering. This approach allows the identification of glass groups that are related to different recipes, sources, and/or date. The authors were therefore able to analyse and compare panels from different stages of the Canterbury construction programme and concluded that the Nathan panel, which was installed in the early thirteenth century, has a chemical composition resembling the earlier panels, and is therefore consistent with Caviness’s interpretation. 

With scaffolding and a suitable attachment, a pXRF instrument, which in looks and weight is rather like a hand-held electric drill (without the drill bit), can be held against a stained glass window. With appropriate protection for the operator, a number of readings can be safely taken from all parts of the window and compared with analyses from other windows to establish the relationships between them.


Event Reminder: BSMGP Autumn Lecture - Australia’s Stained Glass: Short History…Long Story with Bronwyn Hughes

10th September 2021, 7pm, Online via Zoom

Through a selection of stained glass windows installed in Australian architecture, this webinar will explore British connections and influence from the 1850s onwards, as both countries were changed by depression, war and economic circumstance. Stained glass windows, seen by many as decorative, can also be viewed as documents of art, architectural, and religious history, reflecting changes in society.

Tickets are £5 (£4.25 for members) and can be purchased at this link.

 


Call For Papers - International Conference

Glass in Museums: Research, Context, Communication

Bildungszentrum Adler, Historisches Museum Thurgau, Frauenfeld, 5 November 2022

Deadline for submission: 15 October 2021

2022 is the International Year of Glass. The United Nations is going to dedicate an entire year to this fascinating material, which will be discussed in all its facets over the twelve months. In the context of the theme it has adopted for the year, ‘Glas & Gloria. Fensterkunst im Thurgau’ (‘Glass and Glory. The Art of Window Glass in Thurgau’), the Historisches Museum Thurgau is taking this international focus as an opportunity to mount a conference that will examine glass from both its historical and museal angles. The conference is being mounted in collaboration with the Vitrocentre in Romont and at the same time will also constitute an opportunity to evaluate the work undertaken for the research project ‘Die Glasmalereien vom 14.–21. Jahrhundert im Thurgau’ (‘Stained Glass from the 14th to the 21st c. in Thurgau’), a project sponsored by Thurgau Canton and implemented by the Vitrocentre Romont, as part of the Swiss Corpus Vitrearum series.

While only a few museums have dedicated themselves entirely to glass art, there are significant collections of glass objects in historical collections. The transparency and fragility of glass pose challenges, but they also form the basis of our fascination with a material that has been in use for millennia. A range of issues make a multifaceted analysis possible: the significance of glass-painting as a vehicle for images, a significance closely intertwined with the medium’s own history; the employment of glass for everyday objects; its use in the fields of craft and art; and the technological aspects of the production and conservation of glass.

It is intended that discussion of the features of art glass held in museums and collections—whether as glass- painting, reverse glass-painting, vessel glass, or glass sculpture—as well as the challenges that it poses for museums will be divided into four sections. How can glass objects that have been removed from their architectonic contexts be exhibited in a new context? In this regard, what is to be gained through research into an object’s provenance? What opportunities are opened up for us by new communication media, both digital and virtual? To what extent should and can collection histories and earlier modes of presentation (for example, heraldic panels built into historical rooms) be included in exhibitions? What demands do glass objects make on the staging of exhibition space?

It is intended that the conference in Frauenfeld will promote exchange between experts in different disciplines and offer a forum for discussion of practice-based as well as theoretical and methodological perspectives. We welcome contributions that focus on the following subjects:

  • the scenography and staging of art glass in exhibitions

  • research into provenance in the field of art glass

  • digital story-telling: new ways of imparting information about glass

  • the conservation and restoration of glass

It is envisaged that papers will last 20 minutes. The conference languages are German, French, and English. Abstracts of a maximum of 300 words, together with a brief CV, should be sent by 15 October 2021 to [email protected] Some accommodation and travel costs can be covered.

This academic conference is being organized by the Historisches Museum Thurgau (https://historisches- museum.tg.ch) in collaboration with the Vitrocentre Romont (https://vitrocentre.ch).

All enquiries to [email protected] .