Herkenrode Glass: Watch this Space

Fig. 1. Before and after conservation

Fig. 1. Before and after conservation

Work has started this month on the preparations for the reinstallation of Lichfield Cathedral’s Herkenrode glass. Vidimus has followed the conservation of these exceptional panels, which formed part of a £3.7 million restoration project at the cathedral.

The glass was originally made for the abbey at Herkenrode (near Hasselt, Liège, in present-day Belgium) in the 1530s, and was installed in the Lady Chapel of Lichfield Cathedral in the early nineteenth century. The panels were removed for conservation in 2010 by Barley Studios, York. Look out for a full update on these windows in a future issue!

Call for Papers

The 20th Congress of the International Association for the History of Glass has been announced, and the call for papers issued. The congress will take place in Fribourg and Romont, Switzerland, Monday 7 – Friday 11 September 2015. It is organized by the Vitrocentre Romont, in collaboration with the University of Fribourg, the Fribourg Cantonal Archaeology Service, and several Swiss museums. The congress will feature two poster sessions, and three lecture sessions organized as follows: prehistory to late antiquity; the Middle Ages to the 21st century; and the archaeometry of glass – new approaches and methods. There will also be opportunities to visit the Vitromusée and the exhibition ‘A Last Glass? The Archaeology of a Material’ at the Fribourg Cantonal Archaeology Service, and to take in a glass-blowing demonstration.

Prospective speakers should submit a 300-word abstract by 30 November 2014. Themes for contributions can be taken from the history, archaeology, art history, technology, archaeometry, and conservation of glass from the entire world, from pre-history to the 21st century. Papers should only cover subjects for which the data have been obtained at the time of submission. Please remember that only a small part of the audience or poster readers will be familiar with your subject, so explain the background and objectives of your research; discuss the results in a historical or archaeological context; and explain your main methods of analysis in a way that can be generally understood.

Further information and a submission form are available on the AIHV website. Papers may be delivered in English, French or German and should be 20 minutes in duration. Acceptance of papers by the scientific committee will be based on the abstracts, so any abstract must highlight the significance of the contribution and be as clear and informative as possible.

University of York Stained Glass Master Class Lecture

issue_84_2014_news03The autumn Stained Glass Master Class Lecture presented by the MA in Stained Glass Conservation and Heritage Management and the Stained Glass Research Centre will take place on Thursday 13 November 2014 at 5.15pm, in the Philip Ratz Lecture Theatre, K/133, Kings Manor, York.

The lecture is entitled ‘Cold Paint, Warm Windows and Digital Futures’ and will be given by Dr Stefan Trümpler, Director of the Vitrocentre, Romont. Admission is free and open to everyone.

Stained Glass Museum: New Blog Post

issue_84_2014_news04The newly launched blog of the Stained Glass Museum, ‘Through the Eyes of the Conservator’, has published a new post. As mentioned in our last issue, the blog follows the conservation of stained-glass panels by the artist Geoffrey Clarke. The latest post focuses on the initial conservation investigations and objections relating to ‘Fragment’ (1956–59). Click here to read on.

‘Old Craft, New Art: An Artistic Journey’: A Lecture by Helen Whittaker

Fig.1. Helen Whittaker

Fig.1. Helen Whittaker

Helen Whittaker, Creative Director and Artist/Designer to Barley Studio, York, recently gave a lecture at the Stained Glass Centre, York, entitled ‘Old Craft, New Art: An Artistic Journey’. With the historic church of St Martin-cum-Gregory providing an appropriate backdrop, Helen began by describing her artistic inspirations, from Giotto to Warhol, hinting how her favourite artists and pieces have informed her passion for stained glass.

Helen then moved on to talk about her journey into the world of stained glass, through degrees, design competitions and commissions, and showed examples of her work, including windows installed at Ely Cathedral, Westminster Abbey, Selby Abbey, Beverley Minster, Southwell Minster, Worksop Priory, and the Royal Air Force Club, London. It was very interesting to see examples of her sculptural designs in copper, and listen to her explain how these pieces link to her windows. For each of the windows she showed, she gave a fascinating insight into the thought-processes, aims, symbolism, and often hidden details behind and in the design. Notable was the window created for St Ethelburga’s church in London, a building that was virtually destroyed by an IRA bomb, but which has been repurposed as a centre for reconciliation and peace. Helen demonstrated how her new window, which shows St Ethelburga striding across the five lights, not only represents Faith moving forward, but incorporates fragments salvaged from the shattered original window of c.1872 by Kempe, a reminder of the past.

The final section of the lecture focused on what must be considered when designing a stained-glass window, and seven main points were outlined: the history of the building; the architectural space selected for the window; the purpose of the window; the light and the aspect of the window within the building; the relationship of the window to the works within the building; the relationship of the window to the people who use the building; and structural limitations. For each of these points Helen provided examples of her glass and demonstrated how her often innovative approaches to design have resulted in successful, well-received windows.

Throughout the talk, Helen emphasized the collaborative nature of stained-glass production, highlighting the input of the Barley Studio team. Her approachable, open way of speaking made for an enjoyable, accessible lecture that highlighted her considered way of interpreting a brief and meeting the specific needs of a client.

The lecture at the Stained Glass Centre was packed to capacity, and with tea, coffee, biscuits and excellent raffle prizes was memorable. Check the Stained Glass Centre website and look out for news of more upcoming lectures.