BSMGP Summer Lecture and Touring Conference

Summer Lecture

The BSMGP summer lecture will be given by Steve Clare and is entitled ‘An under-appreciated masterpiece: conservation of the great Jesse Tree window in Wells Cathedral’.

The ‘Tree of Jesse’ window, Wells Cathedral. © Dean and Chapter of Wells.

Fig. 1. The ‘Tree of Jesse’ window, Wells Cathedral. © Dean and Chapter of Wells.

The window dates from around 1340 and features an unusual colour palette, predominantly of green and gold. The cleaning and conservation of the glass has enhanced the brilliance of these colours. The window is formed of seven main lights that trace Christ’s genealogy and contain monumental figures of ancestors set on a sinuous vine that grows from the recumbent figure of Jesse at the foot of the central light. At the apex of the central light is the figure of the crucified Christ on a green tau cross, and the tracery has scenes from the Last Judgment (Fig. 1).

Steve Clare first became involved with surveying this window in 1994 when working under the direction of Alfred Fisher at Chapel Studio, but it was fifteen years before the project to conserve the window actually began. The lecture will feature photographs of the window taken from the scaffolding and in the workshop, affording a rare opportunity to glimpse the complex processes of conservation at a conservation studio. The conservation campaign for this window has adhered strictly to the principle of minimal intervention, and the research methods were based on extensive research, including analysis of the restoration history of the window by charting mill marks in the centre of the lead cames, which were cross-referenced with archival material. The lecture aims to detail the painstaking work of the mastercraftsmen and women in the conservation of this beautiful glass, and will show details of the manufacturing process and installation of the protective glazing. This will be the first time these images have been seen.

The lecture will be held on Friday 13 June at the Art Workers’ Guild, 6 Queen Square, London WC1N 3AT, 6.15 for 6.45pm. Costs – lecture only: members £10, non-members £14, student members £7.50, student non-members £12; supper is an additional £10 per head. For further details and booking, telephone Helen Robinson on 01582 764834, or visit to book and pay online.

See Vidimus 43 for more information on this window.

Touring Conference: East Riding

The 2014 annual autumn touring conference will take place in the East Riding of Yorkshire from Thursday 28 to Sunday 31 August, with an option to stay for a further night. The group will be based in Hull, with accommodation at the University of Hull campus, and the centrepiece of the tour will be Holy Trinity, Hull, one of the largest parish churches in Britain.

The tour will include two large Sylvester Sparrow windows, with one made by him but designed by Walter Crane; a scheme of windows at Hotham designed by Douglas Strachan during the war years of 1938–45; a stunning early Clayton & Bell scheme at St Mary’s, South Dalton; Anning Bell glass at Warter; excellent Morris glass at Welter; work by the Belgian artist Jean-Baptiste Capronnier; as well as examples of 20th-century work by the ‘Yorkshire School’, including Harry Stammers and Harry Harvey. Delegates will also have the opportunity to visit the nearby York and Beverley before heading home. Peter Cormack will guide the group, with Ann Sotheran supplying her local knowledge of the ‘Yorkshire School’ in particular.

See the BSMGP website for booking and more information.

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