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DOORS&WINDOWS


MINSTER’S GLASS MASTERPIECE REACHES HALFWAY MARK


Conservators working on the restoration of the Great East Window at York Minster have completed the conservation of half of the panels in the stunning medieval window, which depicts the story of the Apocalypse.


York Minster’s Great East Window reportedly contains the largest expanse of medieval stained glass in Britain, and was designed by one of the ‘grand masters’ of glass art, John Tornton. Started in 1405 and completed in 1408, the main part of the window depicts the Apocalypse, and is said to be ‘recognised around the world as some of the finest medieval stained glass still in existence’. Te restoration of half of the Apocalypse panels is now complete thanks to the tireless work of the York Glaziers’ Trust.


“Tis is a significant landmark in the


restoration project, as each of the 108 panels require painstaking research, documentation, examination, conservation and repair of the many thousands of components that make up this incredible glass masterpiece,” said Sarah Brown, director of York Glaziers Trust.


“Each panel is a work of art in its own right; each piece painted with the skills of a Van Eyck or a Vermeer, with an amazing delicacy that can now be fully appreciated as we look at the panels up close.”


Te window is being restored as part of the five year York Minster Revealed project, generously supported by a £10.5 million grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF), due for completion in 2016. But visitors to York Minster will not have to wait until 2016 to see some of the completed restoration work, as a number of the panels will go on display later this year when a new state-of- the-art exhibition space, known as Te Orb, is installed in York Minster’s East End.


It is envisaged that the new exhibition will


give visitors a better understanding of the artistry that went into creating hundreds of stained glass masterpieces that are on display in York Minster.


“Te scale of the building, and the abundance of beautiful stained glass in it can often mean that it becomes somewhat overwhelming – there is such a huge amount of glass to look at, and the scale is so great, it is not until you take some time to look at some of the individual windows that you begin to appreciate these great works of art,” commented Canon Glyn Webster, acting Dean of York.


“Tese windows are so much more than mosaics of coloured glass, as each piece is diligently hand painted as part of a much larger design to create a beautiful image that changes as daylight filters through it.”


Huge stained glass windows, as seen in York


Minster, were created to reflect the theology and symbolism of medieval Europe. At a time when few other buildings would have used glass in windows, the scale and colour of these windows would have been in huge contrast to the dingy homes that most people would be used to.


Te glass allowed light – which is intrinsically linked to God and Heaven from the first few words in Genesis – into God’s house.


Te window’s artist, John Tornton, is


credited with being one of the most admired and respected artists of his day, invited to York from his native Coventry to complete


9 « Clearview South « September 2012 « www.clearview-uk.com


one of the 15th century’s most prestigious commissions in a city already famed for the skill of its glaziers.


Visitors to York Minster can see a nearly life-size replica of the window hanging in its place at the moment, and watch conservators of the York Glaziers Trust at work on tours of the Bedern Glaziers Studio each Monday, Wednesday and Friday at 2.00pm. Tours can be pre-booked online at www.yorkminster. org and cost £7.50 per person.


www.yorkminster.org


‘The window’s artist, John Thornton, is credited with being one of the most admired and respected artists of his day’


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