Poole Hall Glass Lost in Fire

Gamul/Poole armorial surrounded by quarries depicting soldiers practising drill, from Poole Hall. © the author.

Fig. 1. Gamul/Poole armorial surrounded by quarries depicting soldiers practising drill, from Poole Hall. © Penny Hebgin-Barnes.

A fascinating panel of fragments, which included ten 17th-century quarries depicting soldiers performing military drill, has been largely destroyed in a fire. The panel from Poole Hall in Nantwich, which was 42cm square, consisted of an armorial of Gamul impaling Poole, surrounded by the quarries depicting soldiers, set amidst other fragments, including shield quarterings and garish yellow, red and purple stopgaps added in the early 19th century. The panel was profiled by Penny Hebgin-Barnes in Vidimus 44 as ‘Panel of the Month’ and constituted evidence found extremely rarely in glass of the early 17th-century preoccupation with civil defence and the practical measures that resulted from this. The panel, along with two others, including a rare armorial of Queen Mary I and six quarries of c.1600 depicting various occupations, was removed from Poole Hall to storage by the hall’s former owner, and all three have suffered partial destruction along with other artefacts originating from the hall.

Gamul/Poole armorial, from Poole Hall. © author.

Fig. 2. Gamul/Poole armorial, from Poole Hall. © Penny Hebgin-Barnes.

Penny Hebgin-Barnes, who is currently in contact with the owner in an attempt to assess the state of the surviving glass fragments and to have them conserved if possible, told Vidimus: ‘Drill quarries are the hidden treasure of Cheshire glazing: no other county has retained them at so many sites, and the Poole Hall quarries were the finest examples of the genre. It would be a tragedy if they have all been destroyed.’

The only records of this glass from before the fire are the photos taken by Penny Hebgin-Barnes on a visit to Poole Hall in 2006

The only records of this lost glass are the photos taken by Penny Hebgin-Barnes on a visit to Poole Hall in 2006. These can be seen in the online CVMA Picture Archive and were published in her CVMA (GB) survey of Cheshire (Summary Catalogue 9, 2010).


Catalan Corpus Vitrearum Medii Aevi Volume Published

Anna Vila Rovira, coordinator of Volume V of the Corpus Vitrearum Catalunya, reports

Fig. 1. Fragment of Saint Mary of Cervera rose window, detail with archangel Gabriel’s head .

Fig. 1. Fragment of Saint Mary of Cervera rose window, detail with archangel Gabriel’s head .

The long-anticipated fifth and final volume of the Catalan Corpus Vitrearum Medii Aevi series consists of two parts: The Stained Glass of La Seu D’Urgell Cathedral and the Collegiate Church of St Mary of Cervera and the substantial Studies on the Art of Stained Glass in Catalonia. Many of the authors who collaborated on previous volumes have taken an active part in this recent volume.

The first part has the format typical of previous Corpus Vitrearum publications, and contains studies relating to glass in Catalonia – the Cathedral of St Mary at La Seu d’Urgell, the Collegiate Church of St Mary at Cervera, the Episcopal Museum at Vic, the Montserrat Museum – as well as elsewhere (the Palace of the Kings of Majorca in Perpignan, France, as well as Worcester Art Museum, USA). Also covered are stained-glass windows represented in paintings, as well as buildings from which stained glass has been lost, such as the cathedral and castle in Lleida, churches and royal palaces in Barcelona, other churches in Catalonia, civic buildings, and private houses.

The second part is a resumé of the studies carried out on the art of stained glass in Catalonia and its international artistic context and relationships. The authors have been able to draw on an abundance of parallels in other media as well as a wealth of documentary evidence.

Fig. 2. Fragment of S II, “Noli me tangere”. Saint Mary (Cervera).

Fig. 2. Fragment of S II, “Noli me tangere”. Saint Mary (Cervera).

Another important feature of this book is the glossary of artistic and technical terms relating to both medieval and modern stained-glass techniques, designed to be suitable for all readers interested in this technical terminology. There is also an index of medieval glass-painters mentioned in the Catalan CVMA volumes. This fifth volume is the most comprehensive work published on the topic of medieval stained-glass windows in Catalonia, and concludes a long period of investigation and study devoted to this medieval art.

Conference Review: University of York Masterclass ‘New Voices in Stained Glass Conservation’

Celeste Flower, current Stained Glass Conservation and Heritage Management MA student

Fig. 1. Monika Adamczak

Fig. 1. Monika Adamczak

The spring masterclass of the University of York’s MA in Stained Glass Conservation and Heritage Management took place in The King’s Manor, York, on 28 February 2015. The masterclass, now in its seventh year attracted participants with a wide range of interests. In her opening remarks Sarah Brown explained how she and Dr Ivo Rauch (co-organizers of the event) had been impressed by the enthusiasm of the invited speakers, who were bringing vitality to the future of stained-glass studies in general and to the conservation of glass in particular. Rather than having a single thematic focus for the day, this was to be an omnium-gatherum in which new voices from the conservation community could showcase and elucidate a range of recent and current projects in the field. A striking feature of the programme was that although each speaker had studied at York, all had come from different starting points, and their subsequent career paths were equally varied. They shared with the audience this variety of opportunity and experience in a series of clearly illustrated technical presentations, punctuated with insightful personal observations.

Dr Alison Gilchrist, a conservator at Barley Studio near York, who had recently received Accredited Conservator Restorer status under the ICON PACR scheme, spoke on ‘Becoming a conservator: from MA towards ACR’. She outlined the rigorous combination of study and internship required to achieve professional status, exemplified by the range of examples of projects in which she had been involved.[1] Her message to the would-be conservator was clear: make the most of opportunities in the forms of placements, bursaries, fellowships and networks and go out of your way to ‘make things happen’.

Monika Adamczak’s presentation ‘Glacier Transparencies: Research and Conservation Options’ introduced the audience to a lesser-known method of decorating window glass popular in domestic and church settings during the 19th century. The susceptibility of the materials to deterioration leaves few well-preserved examples and Monika’s work on the possible ways to conserve such fragile ‘Diaphanies’ and other transparencies is breaking new ground. Monika currently works at the York Glaziers Trust.

Fig. 2. Anna Santolaria Tura

Fig. 2. Anna Santolaria Tura

Anna Santolaria Tura of Can Pinyonaire Stained Glass Studio in Girona is well known for her seminal work on the Girona Cathedral glaziers’ table.[2] She gave ‘Guidelines for Conservation’ and an account of her latest research into the identification of the glass panels created using the tables, suggesting that as many as seven different panels may have come from them. Her new findings also seem to provide firmer evidence concerning the order in which some Girona Cathedral panels were assembled.

In ‘The Place of Research and Digital Documentation in a Heritage Lottery Funded Project’, Laura Tempest focused on specific examples from the Great East Window of York Minster to show how scrupulous research can bring to light astonishing new evidence for visual details in previously restored windows.[3] Art-historical research officer for the York Minster Revealed Project and a conservator at York Glaziers Trust, Laura also outlined the development of digitized systems for pre- and post-conservation recording. In doing so, Laura was clear that one method of recording would not suit all, and individual cases would need to adapt available programmes or create their own, according to the scale of a project.

The theme of adaptation was taken up by Sarah Jarron, an independent conservator and international consultant. Sarah’s presentation, ‘The Conservation of Four Monumental Choir Windows in Ulmer Münster: Production, Adaptation and Application of the Conservation Concept’, reinforced the need for continuous revision of intentions for intervention based on research and hard scientific evidence, followed by scrupulous recording of procedures, within and across projects. Each speaker’s work was accompanied by stunning photographs, making the whole day a treat for both the ear and the eye.

During the course of the day, delegates were invited to visit the Nicholas Barker Conservation Studio to hear from the current second-year MA students. All are engaged in a fascinating range of individual conservation projects as part of their degree submission. The 2015 spring masterclass was an opportunity to meet like minds from other regions, to enjoy discussion, and to enthuse about the many possibilities open to those who choose stained-glass conservation as a passion or profession.


1. Read more about Alison’s projects in the feature article, ‘“The tears wept by our windows”: severe paint loss from stained glass windows of the mid-nineteenth century’, Vidimus 64 (2012). The full text of the dissertation can be found on the CVMA (GB) website.

2. See Anna’s book: Vitralls sobre taules de vitraller: La taula de Girona (‘Glazing on White-Washed Tables’), Girona, 2014

3. Read more about York Minster Revealed in Sarah Brown’s Apocalypse: The Great East Window of York Minster, London, 2014.

Harry Clarke News

Church Recovers Harry Clarke Window

A stained-glass panel crafted in 1962 at the Harry Clarke studios has been reclaimed by parishioners of Kildimo (Co. Limerick, Ireland), after being missing from the church since the 1970s. The panel, depicting three generations of Jesus’s family (with Jesus, his mother Mary, and grandmother St Anne) was lost to the community when the parish church at Old Kildimo was deconsecrated in 1970 with a view to building new premises. A new church, St Joseph’s, opened in the village in 1971, and some of the old church fittings were disposed of. It seems that the then priest gifted the glass to the architect of the new church, and it had not been seen since.

Fig. 1. Detail from the recovered window

Fig. 1. Detail from the recovered window

However, the panel recently remerged at an auction in Kilkenny, and Fr John Donworth, the parish priest of Kildimo and Pallaskenry, made the trip to reclaim the glass, purchasing it with the consent of the parish finance committee. The reserve price was set at €7,000, but the bids for this prestigious work increased to €12,500, which including commission brought the overall cost to €15,000.

The piece measures 102 x 35cm and is signed ‘Clarke, Dublin’. Harry Clarke (1887–1931) is regarded as one of Ireland’s greatest stained-glass artists. He grew up in Dublin, where he absorbed Arts and Crafts principles and Celtic revivalism. After winning national prizes and producing some superb book illustrations, he was given a commission at the age of 26 to make a series of large windows for the Honan Chapel, University College, Cork. The windows depict Irish saints and remain outstanding examples of his work – being highly stylized and making full use of materials such as flashed glass and demanding techniques, such as plating, acid etching, and microscopic painting. Commissions followed in Ireland, the UK and the United States of America. His work was shaped by numerous influences, including the sleekness of Art Nouveau, Celtic symbolism (with its emphasis on fantasy and mood), and central European Secessionism (with its delight in opulent decoration). By experimenting with plating and acid-etching techniques, Clarke was able to recreate such images in stained glass, producing figures with elongated bodies, gaunt faces, expressive eyes, and rich depths of colour. During his short life, Clarke created over 160 stained glass windows for religious and commercial commissions, but few are believed to be left in Limerick.

Harry Clarke Exhibition

Fig. 2. The controversial scene

Fig. 2. The controversial scene

Of Harry Clarke’s windows, one of the most controversial was arguably the Geneva Window, which the New Irish Free State government commissioned from him in 1925 as Eire’s contribution to the International Labour Organisation’s headquarters. Drawing on Irish literature, including the work of authors like James Joyce (1882–1941), for the design, the window offended conservative republican tastes with its depiction of Irish drunkenness and scantily dressed women and was never installed. There was unease in the then government over Clarke’s depiction of Liam O’Flaherty’s novel Mr Gilhooley, as it included two naked women, including the barely veiled dancer Nelly. Dublin City Gallery (The Hugh Lane) on Parnell Square, has bought an original section of the controversial panel and it will now go on permanent display.

Further Information (including a clip to hear Margarita Cappock, Head of Collections at The Hugh Lane discussing Harry Clarke’s work) (for a video on the window) (the Harry Clarke website)

Lucy Costigan and Michael Cullen, Strangest Genius: The Stained Glass of Harry Clarke, Dublin, 2010

Nicola Gordon Bowe, Harry Clarke, the Life and Work, Dublin, 2012

Medieval Glass to be Returned to St Andrew’s Church, Heckington

Medieval stained-glass fragments are to be returned to St Andrew’s Church in Heckington. The majority of the current church building was erected between c.1310 and the 1330s, although the nave aisle, south porch, and lower part of the south transept are earlier. In 1825, it was recorded that remnants of medieval glass from the windows in the church were collected and placed in one window, probably the west window, which they nearly filled. The fragments were removed in c.1946 to make way for a modern commission and have been in storage since then. The fragments are mostly of 14th-century date and appear to have filled cusped heads and tracery lights. In her volume The Medieval Stained Glass of the County of Lincolnshire Penny Hebgin-Barnes notes: ‘The quality of the glass-painting of some of these fragments suggests that the glazing of the windows from which they came was of the same high standard as the architecture of Heckington church.’ The church had all but forgotten the existence of the glass and is now eager to see it returned from storage. Plans are underway to restore a chancery chapel on the north side of the church, and it is hoped the glass may be placed here. A new group is being launched to develop St Andrew’s appeal to visitors – the church is already viewed as one of the grandest of its kind in the country – and the recovered medieval glass will contribute to the promotion of its beauty and importance as a place of worship.

Further Reading

Penny Hebgin-Barnes, The Medieval Stained Glass of the County of Lincolnshire, CVMA (GB), Summary Catalogue 3, Oxford, 1996, pp. 118–19

Glass Reflections: Glass in the Year of Light: Call for Papers and Registration 7–9 September 2015, University of Cambridge, Murray Edwards College

The annual conference of the Society of Glass Technology will be held 7–9 September 2015 in Cambridge and will celebrate the fundamental interactions of glass with light. One aspect of the conference will be research in glass science and its application to the production of glass in the modern world. The other aspect will focus on the history and heritage aspects of this material, spanning science and art, archaeology and conservation, museology and the importance of raising the public profile of historic glass artefacts. Registration is now open, and the call for papers has been extended until 7 April 2015.

The conference provides an opportunity for all who are interested in glass to reflect upon and celebrate the fundamental interactions of glass with light. Papers on all facets of glass studies will be welcomed – scientific or artistic, historical or industrial, analytical or creative, educational or technological. Glass might be the object of study, or glass might be an essential part of the method used to study something else. Either way, glass and its interaction with light will inevitably provide a linking thread, contributing to further enlightenment. See the website for more details on submitting an abstract.