- Restored: the West window of Stow Minster
- Copy that! Top Results for Zettler windows
- Exhibition: 300 Years of Norwich Churches
- Stained Glass Windows restored
- Curatorial Opportunity at the Victoria & Albert Museum
- Stained Glass Centre Autumn Lecture 2017: ‘The Oak, the Vine and the Lily: the design and creation of the Jesse window for St Mary’s Priory Church, Abergavenny’
- British Archaeological Association Lecture
- Reminder: British Society of Master Glass Painters Autumn Lecture 2017
- Reminder: Annual Clarendon Lecture 2017: Professor Christopher Norton, 'Clarendon, Salisbury and Medieval Floor Tiles in Wessex'
Restored: the West window of Stow Minster
By Alison Gilchrist
In June 2017 the Barley Studio team completed the restoration of the West stained glass window of Stow Minster, Lincolnshire. The 2.4 metre wide oculus had been boarded up since January 2014, when the window was blown out of its opening during a severe storm, falling nearly 10 metres on to the Minster floor below.
The window depicts Christ blessing the children, and is probably by Kayll & Co. of Leeds (the two lancet windows below, although not linked iconographically, are signed by Kayll & Co. and are very similar in style). A plaque on the wall below states that, “This circular window is erected in affectionate remembrance of Joseph Haydn Skelton (late of Stow Park) who died 15 December 1922”.
The brief for the restoration project, agreed between the parish, its architect and insurers, was to restore the window, as far as possible, to its original appearance, without the addition of protective glazing. The reason for the failure of the window was found to have been the inadequacy of its structural support system (ferramenta), both in terms of the metal work’s inherent strength and the depth of its fixing into the surrounding stonework; therefore, the design of a new and improved support system was an integral part of the reconstruction.
Following the storm damage, the remains of the window (glass, lead and supporting metalwork) were collected together [Figures 1 and 2]. Remarkably, one of the nine panels making up the circle was almost intact, although others were so badly damaged as to be unrecognisable. We were fortunate to be able to source a high-quality photograph of the window taken before the damage from Gordon Plumb, which proved extremely useful to the restoration project [Figure 3].
The collected glass fragments were painstakingly pieced together, like a giant jigsaw puzzle, in order to save as much as possible of the original material, and to collate all available evidence for the original appearance. There were some remarkable survivals; a number of large glass pieces, including several of the heads and areas of drapery, were found to be complete and in perfect condition. Other areas, such as the head of Christ and much of the lower third of the window, were so badly damaged that only small sections could be identified from the tiny fragments remaining. [Figure 4]
The original cutline (leading pattern) of the window was reconstructed from the identified glass pieces, with the aid of the Plumb photograph. Where possible, broken pieces were edge bonded together using conservation grade (CAF3) silicone adhesive. Care was taken that all bonded fragments would also be supported within the new lead matrix, so that backing plates would not be needed, and discreet additional leads were introduced where necessary.
In areas where the original glass either could not be found or was too badly damaged to reinstate, new painted pieces were created. The glass colours were matched as closely as possible from our own glass banks of mouth-blown antique glass, as well as glass sourced from the internationally-renowned Tatra and Lamberts glasshouses. The painted detail was faithfully recreated by copying surviving fragments where possible and following the original style where reconstruction was necessary. [Figure 5] All of the new painted pieces are identified by the Barley Studio signature and date scratched into the external surface of the glass.
Each of the window’s nine panels were re-leaded following the reconstructed cutline, matching the size and profile of the original leading. The window was reinstated into the original glazing groove with the support of a new ferramenta system fabricated in stainless steel, and powder coated black for protection and aesthetic appearance. The original ferramenta had consisted of two vertical T-section iron bars, notched out (compromising their structural integrity) to take six horizontal square section bars. The new ferramenta system replicates the configuration of the previous bars, but in much more substantial square section bars, bolt fixed together at notched overlapping joints. [Figure 6]
This was a challenging but hugely enjoyable project for Barley Studio, requiring all of our investigative and restoration skills. We are delighted with the result! [Figure 7]
Following installation, the Vice-Chair of Stow Parochial Church Council commented “The restoration of the window has been hugely impressive. Prior to commissioning Barley Studio to undertake the restoration of the window, the Parochial Church Council, Architect and Insurance Loss Adjuster had discussed the options for replacing the window. Few of us believed that it was possible to rebuild the window to the existing image using more than a mere few token pieces of the original window. Our Architect, Churchwardens and Treasurer visited Barley Studio’s workshop on a foggy day in February 2017 to see the work in progress. They were amazed then at the skill of the whole team in using a far greater proportion of the original glass than we could ever have envisioned, and the dedication to matching the original design and colours when fashioning new pieces. The finished window is a testament to the restorers’ craftsmanship.”
Copy that! Top Results for Zettler windows
A recent auction of 34 copies of ‘medieval’ panels and border pieces made by the Zettler Glass Manufactory in Munich around the turn of the 19th/20th century saw many lots exceed their pre-sale estimates.
The firm of F.X. Zettler & Co. was founded in Munich by Franz Xavier Zettler (1841-1916) in 1870. It was one of two major Munich studios whose histories are intertwined. Zettler had initially set up a glass studio in 1862 for his father-in-law, Joseph Mayer, proprietor of Mayer & Co. of Munich, which specialised in Christian art. The Mayer and Zettler studios remained competitors for a number of years, but both firms were successful in gaining commissions from all over the world. Zettler’s firm achieved success at displays at the 1873 International Exhibition at Vienna, and in 1882 was appointed as the “Royal Bavarian Art Institute for Stained Glass” by King Ludwig II. The firm exported windows across Europe, North America, Canada, South America, Australia, and New Zealand. The Zettler firm ultimately merged with its rival Mayer & Co. in 1939, when Mayer & Co. bought the establishment.
The auction took place on June 28th at the London rooms of Thomas Del Mar Ltd, well-known specialists in arms and armour sales.
The panels and borders were made by Zettler as part of a travelling promotional exhibition that toured North America in the early 20th century, helping the firm to win commissions in the USA and Canada, including Newark’s Sacred Heart Basilica, Philadelphia’s National Shrine of St. Rita of Cascia, The Immaculate Conception Cathedral in Denver, and St. Helena’s Cathedral in Montana.
Two years before the firm closed its doors in the 1930s, it seems that the collection was sold to the Higgins Armory Museum in Worcester, Massachusetts, primarily for atmospheric background decoration. Formed by a local steel magnate, John Woodman Higgins (1874 – 1961), the museum housed a number of exceptional suits of armour and edged weapons but funding problems led to its closure in 2013 and the subsequent dispersal of its contents. While some parts of the collection were absorbed by the local Worcester Art Museum, others exhibits have since been sold off in a succession of sales orchestrated by Thomas Del Mar Ltd. [Fig. 1]
The 34 Lots in the June 28th sale included copies of medieval glass from Angers Cathedral, Ausberg Cathedral, Bourges Cathedral; Canterbury Cathedral, Chartres Cathedral, Cologne Cathedral, Le Mans Cathedral, Rouen Cathedral the Abbey of St Denys; the Sainte-Chapelle in Paris; St Sebald’s Church, Nuremburg and elsewhere.
By price the star Lot (Lot 514) was a copy of the Death (or Dormition) of the Virgin c. 1260 from Chartres Cathedral [Fig. 2]. Measuring 8’ x 7’1” (2.44 x 2.23 m) it fetched £26,000 plus Buyer’s Premium (BP) of 24%, i.e., £ 32, 240. Other above-estimate sales included Lot 508, a copy of Three Apostles at the Ascension of Christ, Le Mans Cathedral c.1134-58 (£3968 incl BP) [Fig. 3]; a copy of the la Belle Verrière from Chartres cathedral c.1180-1225 (£18,600 incl BP) [Fig. 4]; a copy of Adam Delving, Canterbury Cathedral c. 1176-80 (£3720 incl. BP) [Fig. 5]; a copy of a border panel from Le Mans Cathedral ( £719.20) [Fig. 6]; and a copy of the figure of St Sebald from St Sebald’s church, Nuremburg, c. 1515 (£19,840) [Fig. 7].
We are grateful to Patrick Shutt of Thomas Del Mar Ltd for his help with this item. Figs 2; 3; 4; 5; 6; and 7 are published courtesy of Thomas Del Mar Ltd.
Exhibition: 300 Years of Norwich Churches
An exhibition of paintings and drawings featuring some of Norwich’s fifty eight known medieval churches (31 of which survive) will be on show from August 21st to November 17th at the Norfolk Record Office on the County Hall site in Martineau Lane, Norwich. It is the result of research by the Norwich Medieval Churches: City, Community and Architecture project at the University of East Anglia. The exhibits are drawn from the collections of Norfolk Museums Service, Norfolk County Council’s Record office and private individuals. According to Dr Clare Haynes, senior research associate at UEA, ‘“Among the themes we are exploring is the lost churches,” Dr Haynes added. “Some of the drawings in the exhibition can tell us some of the things we didn’t know about them.
“As an historian I’m a bit like a detective and the more difficult the story is to find out about the more intriguing it can be. I’m delighted we have been able to find so many things about the lost buildings.”
Some of the exhibits feature stained glass. Admission is free. For further information visit the website.
Stained Glass Windows restored
Five panels of stained glass, dating to the 15th century, have been restored and returned for display at St Cystennin’s church in Llangystennin near Mochdre, Conwy.
The fragmentary panels were discovered wrapped in blankets beneath the pulpit of the church, and were initially sent for safe-keeping to Llandudno Museum. After fund-raising by church volunteers and the award of a Heritage Lottery Fund grant, the panels were restored by Recclesia and returned to the church in a glass and oak display cabinet.
The panels depict St George slaying the dragon; St Nicholas; St Catherine; St Peter and the Resurrection of Christ. They long pre-date the current church, built in the mid-nineteenth century.
Jamie Moore, Managing Director of Recclesia, said, ‘These are excellent examples of medieval stained glass, yet in some ways they are different from other local windows, and are therefore of huge significance. The style of the artwork depicting the horse of St George is similar to stained glass in Norfolk and the haloes around the heads of the saints are different from other local depictions.
It is thought also that there could be a sixth panel showing the Archangel Michael with the Virgin Mary, weighing souls but so far no fragments have been found’.
Curatorial Opportunity at the Victoria & Albert Museum
The V&A is seeking to appoint a Curator of Medieval Art and Design to join its Department of Sculpture, Metalwork, Ceramics and Glass.
The post-holder will be responsible for the care, research, display and interpretation of medieval art and design at the museum, and will be expected to play an active role in the field of medieval studies and collecting, both nationally and internationally. The post-holder will both represent the museum externally at the highest level, and also serve a role within the Department and Museum as one of the medieval specialists.
The successful candidate will hold a post-graduate degree in a relevant field, or equivalent, and have demonstrated curatorial experience in a museum context. They will be able to show a commitment to furthering their expertise within an area of the museum’s medieval department. They will have excellent organisational, interpersonal and writing skills, and an ability to create and maintain good relations with external organisations and communities.
An expertise in medieval metalwork or stained glass is desirable.
The closing date for receipt of applications is 5pm on Friday, 6th October 2017. For more information, visit the V&A’s recruitment portal.
Stained Glass Centre Autumn Lecture 2017: ‘The Oak, the Vine and the Lily: the design and creation of the Jesse window for St Mary’s Priory Church, Abergavenny’
Thursday, 12th October
Art historian and stained glass conservator Sarah Brown will introduce the intriguing iconography of the Jesse tree, with historical examples. Stained glass artist Helen Whittaker MA FMGP will follow this by presenting her own modern-day Jesse window installed at St Mary’s Priory, Abergavenny, describing her inspirations and the creative practice behind the project.
The lecture will take place at the church of St Martin-cum-Gregory, Micklegate, York, at 6.30 pm. Tickets can be purchased on the door for £6 (£5 concessions) and include refreshments, available from 6 pm. Entry is free to Friends of the Stained Glass Centre.
British Archaeological Association Lecture
Wednesday, 4th October 2017
Dr Julian Luxford (University of St Andrews) will present a paper entitled, ‘Ways of Seeing Late Medieval English Art’. The lecture forms part of the British Archaeological Association’s programme of meetings, and will take place in the rooms of the Society of Antiquaries of London, Burlington House, Piccadilly, London W1J 0BE. Tea is served from 4.30pm and the Chair is taken at 5.00pm. Non-members of the Association are welcome to attend, and are asked to sign the visitors’ book on arrival. For more information, please see the British Archaeological Association’s website.
Reminder: British Society of Master Glass Painters Autumn Lecture 2017
Friday, 6th October, 6.15pm for 6.45pm, The Art Workers Guild, 6 Queen Square, London WC1N 3AT
Diana Coulter IHBC, Zen and the Stained Glass Art of Keith New
Keith New was a well-respected member of the BSMGP for more than half a century, and an important innovator in post-war stained glass design. His output, however, was modest, the product of a mere 20 years work. Diana Coulter’s talk will highlight New’s talents and achievements, in commissions in England and further afield, and in working with glass in revolutionary as well as more affordable ways. For further information, and to book online, please see the Society’s website or telephone 0790 907 0739.
Reminder: Annual Clarendon Lecture 2017: Professor Christopher Norton, 'Clarendon, Salisbury and Medieval Floor Tiles in Wessex'
Thursday, 19th October, 6.30 for 7.00pm
Sarum College, Salisbury Cathedral Close
Painted and stained glass was only one component of the decoration of medieval churches and palaces. Others artworks included caved woodwork, painted walls and colourful floor tiles.
British CVMA Committee member, Professor Christopher Norton, will speak about some of these tiles at the Annual Clarendon Lecture on 19 October in Sarum College, Salisbury Cathedral Close. He is the foremost expert on the Wessex decorated floor tile industry, which commenced in the mid 13th century and whose traditions spread to the West Midlands, Wales and beyond by the early 1300s.
The Wessex Industry’s distinguishing characteristics can be traced directly to a pavement made for Henry III’s queen, Eleanor of Provence, at Clarendon Palace 1250–52 (Fig. 1). Tiles of identical or very similar design, with their familiar bird and lion motifs, were subsequently used in pavements at sites including Salisbury Cathedral, Winchester Cathedral, and a range of abbeys across Wiltshire, Somerset, Gloucestershire, Dorset and Hampshire.
Tickets are available from the museum website at a cost of £10 per ticket, or £8 for Friends of Clarendon Palace and members of Salisbury Museum. The ticket price includes a wine reception from 6.30pm.