New Conservation Project Under Way at The Burrell Collection

Stained glass conservators at the Burrell Collection in Glasgow have started an important project, and are blogging about it!

Fig. 1. Christ before Pilate panel, from the Life of Christ and the Virgin window, Burrell Collection.

Fig. 1. Christ before Pilate panel, from the Life of Christ and the Virgin window, Burrell Collection.

Senior Conservator Marie Stumpff has been awarded a fellowship that will enable her to focus on research into and conservation of a group of three large windows from the Carmelite church at Boppard-am-Rhein, Germany. She will be assisted by Megan Stacey, who has been appointed Junior Fellow for the duration of the project.

The original glazing scheme at Boppard was vast, and the story of the removal of the windows from the church has fascinated researchers for a long time. What is truly unique is the fact that much of the glass has survived and is now dispersed among various institutions and private collections across Europe and the United States of America.

The aim of the two-year project is to document the current condition of the windows in the Burrell Collection and to study their restoration history, in order to create a benchmark against which future conservation treatment of windows from Boppard can be measured. A conservation plan will be developed that recognizes that the Burrell windows are part of an internationally distributed collection and should therefore not be treated in isolation. A key part of the study will be to visit other institutions that hold significant collections of stained glass from the Carmelite church, to learn from the approaches of other conservators to the conservation and restoration of these windows.

Fig. 2. Agony in the Garden panel, from the Life of Christ and the Virgin window, Burrell Collection.

Fig. 2. Agony in the Garden panel, from the Life of Christ and the Virgin window, Burrell Collection.

A recent condition survey has confirmed that many of the Burrell panels are showing signs of structural deterioration. The Boppard windows consist of 34 panels that amount to 14 square metres of glass. They have been on display continuously since 1983, when the Burrell Collection opened, and have not received any conservation treatment in the intervening years. Their display in the south-facing gallery has exposed them to fluctuating relative humidity and temperature. The effect this has had on the glass, the vitreous paint and the lead is difficult to determine, as there are no detailed records or photographs to show what their condition was when they first went on display. By analyzing corrosion samples from affected glasses, studying the gallery environment, and comparing the condition of our Boppard windows with those held by other institutions the Burrell conservators hope to understand the factors that have contributed to the glass’s deterioration. The final element of the project will then be the conservation and restoration of the stained glass.

Readers can follow the progress of the project on the blog.

Panels from Canterbury on Display at the Getty Museum, Los Angeles

Fig. 1. Abraham. © Dean & Chapter of Canterbury Cathedral.

Fig. 1. Abraham. © Dean & Chapter of Canterbury Cathedral.

Stained-glass panels from Canterbury Cathedral are soon to go on display at the J. Paul Getty Museum in Los Angeles. The panels will be part of an exhibition entitled ‘Canterbury and St. Albans: Treasures from Church and Cloister’ and will be shown alongside the St Albans Psalter, an illuminated book of psalms. The exhibition will run from 20 September 2013 until 2 February 2014.

Six twelfth-century panels from the south-west transept window of Canterbury Cathedral will be on show. The panels depict ancestors of Christ, including Abraham and Noah. Each panel is approximately 2.5ft tall, and each figure spans two panels, making the seated ancestors almost life-size. The panels were removed from the cathedral in July 2009 (see Vidimus 36) prior to the restoration of the stonework, and in order to allow for conservation work on the architectural framing of the windows. Of the six windows that will travel to the U.S, five have never left the cathedral before.

Pages of the St Albans Psalter, which was being unbound for conservation and a facsimile project around the same time as the panels were removed, will also be on view. The psalter, from the collection of the cathedral library in Hildesheim, Germany, dates to c.1130 and includes scenes from the Old Testament and the life of Jesus.

Fig. 2. Noah. © Dean & Chapter of Canterbury Cathedral.

Fig. 2. Noah. © Dean & Chapter of Canterbury Cathedral.

This show at the Getty Museum will be the only opportunity to see the windows and psalter together. After the exhibition, the stained-glass windows will go to the Cloisters, the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s branch for medieval art in northern Manhattan, from March until May 2014, and the St Albans Psalter will travel to the V&A in London.

Further Reading

M. H. Caviness, The Early Glass of Canterbury Cathedral, circa 1175–1220, Princeton, 1977

M. H. Caviness, The Windows of Christ Church Cathedral, Canterbury, CVMA (GB) II, London, 1981

M. A. Michael, Stained Glass of Canterbury Cathedral, London, 2004

Appeal for Help

Fig. 1. Lead with ‘X.’

Fig. 1. Lead with ‘X.’

Many panels restored by Thomas and Drake – who worked extensively on the glass of the Burrell Collection, Glasgow, in the early and mid-twentieth century – used a milled lead with a repeating ‘X’ mark, as originally highlighted by Linda Cannon. The firm was based in London, and it is likely that this lead derived from a supplier in or near the capital, but more examples are needed in order to confirm this.

Fig. 2. Lead with ‘X.’

Fig. 2. Lead with ‘X.’

If any Vidimus readers can identify projects also using this marked lead, or a variation of it, please email Marie Groll directly with the details.

Lincoln Cathedral Coverage

The British CVMA has now completed its coverage of all the stained glass at Lincoln Cathedral.

Fig. 1. Lincoln Cathedral, nVI, panel 2b

Fig. 1. Lincoln Cathedral, nVI, panel 2b

It has long been the British CVMA’s goal to make all the glass at Lincoln available to users, and thanks to its indefatigable photographer Gordon Plumb and the project’s committed database manager Friederike Hammer, this has now been achieved. The number of images of this monument now runs to more than 1,000. Considerable work had to be undertaken to ensure that a sensible window-numbering system was in place, and essential plans of the cathedral at upper and lower levels, together with a concordance of the various window-numbering systems that have been adopted in the past, are now available on the CVMA (GB) website.

Exhibitions at the Stained Glass Museum, Ely

 ‘Piecing together the Pollen Window’, 1 March – 22 April 2013

Fig. 1. The recently conserved central panel depicting the Assumption of the Virgin Mary designed by John Hungerford Pollen.

Fig. 1. The recently conserved central panel depicting the Assumption of the Virgin Mary designed by John Hungerford Pollen.

The exhibition brings together the recently conserved large round panel of the Assumption of the Virgin Mary with the angel panels that once surrounded it in the west rose window of 1863 in the Church of the Assumption in Rhyl, North Wales. Both the church and the stained glass windows were designed by John Hungerford Pollen, and the glass was made by Powells.


‘Francis Spear’, 29 April – 26 July 2013


Fig. 2. Spear’s cartoon for David in Cape Town Cathedral (1957).

Fig. 2. Spear’s cartoon for David in Cape Town Cathedral (1957).

A retrospective exhibition of stained-glass designs and panels by the eminent twentieth-century glass artist Francis Spear (1902–1979)

For more details, visit the Stained Glass Museum’s website.


An Exhibition Preview event will be held on Friday 26th April 2013 from 6.30pm – 8pm.  Tickets are £5 for Friends and £6 for general admission, and can be reserved or purchased from the Stained Glass Museum

‘Be a Pane’ - Christ Church, Eaton Appeal for Help

Christ Church, Eaton (in Norwich) has launched an appeal to raise £250,000 towards the cost of repairing its windows and improving facilities.

The majority of the windows at Christ Church are in need of repair and the cost has been estimated at £65,000. In particular need of repair is the west window inserted in 1918. The window was designed by Arthur A. Orr of Harrow to celebrate the golden wedding of the Norwich industrialist, John Joseph Dawson Paul.  Orr (1868-1949) was a freelance glass designer and worked with Hardman and Co.  He produced windows for churches including St Saviours, Lewisham; Christ Church, Moss Side, Manchester; Church of the Transfigurarion, Pyecombe, West Sussex and St Lawrence, Eyam, Derbyshire.  Examples of his work can be seen in the Stained Glass Museum

The ‘Be a Pane’ campaign sees the windows divided into sections, each with a target value attached. All donations are very welcome with panes in the windows in the north and south aisles available to be sponsored for as little as £1 each. Upon completion of the project, sponsors will receive a certificate, and a book will be produced with a copy of all the certificates, including the names of everyone who donated to the appeal.

To donate, visit the fundraising pages, and for more information, visit the church’s website or contact John Brydon on 01603 452701  email

BSMGP Autumn Conference

The British Society of Master Glass Painters has announced its autumn conference. The conference will be held 29 August – 1 September 2013 and will focus on Worcester and Gloucester.

Subjects will include the Great East Window at Gloucester, the Tewkesbury choir, and Fladbury (all early/mid-fourteenth century), as well as the east window of the Lady Chapel at Gloucester and Great Malvern Priory (late fifteenth/early sixteenth century). The nineteenth century will also be represented, with work from the Clayton & Bell and Hardman workshops, alongside work from more local makers, including Preedy, Rogers and Bell of Bristol. The Arts and Crafts theme will be continued at the chapel in Madresfield Court, with glass (and much else) from Henry Payne’s Birmingham Group. There will be an opportunity to view and discuss work from the twentieth century (glass by Webbs, A. K. Nicholson and Ninian Comper), as well as from the last two decades (glass by Caroline Swash, Alan Younger and Tom Denny). Also featured will be Joshua Price’s ten early eighteenth-century windows at Great Witley, a gloriously Baroque church.

The conference is based at the University of Worcester campus. Speakers will include Peter Cormack, Geoffrey Lane, Steve Clare, Tom Denny and Tim Bridges (of the Victorian Society), as well as local members Roy Albutt and Robin Lunn.

For booking and more information, see the BSMGP website.

Society of Glass Technology Conference: Call for Papers

The Society of Glass Technology calls for papers for its 2013 Conference ‘Living Glass’. The conference will be held 11–13 September 2013 at Murray Edwards College, University of Cambridge.

The conference will address science, technology and art. The scientific aspects will cover key themes from novel materials and fabrication routes to structure and properties; technology will include areas such as the environment, fuel usage, modelling, and glass applications; and art and history will make reference to the long traditions of stained glass in the colleges and religious buildings of Cambridge.

The deadline for abstract submission is 1 May 2013. See the website for further details.