Historic glass conservation in Newcastle upon Tyne
At Vitrail Studios, we’re proficient in all aspects of glass conservation. Based in Morpeth, we offer our services across Newcastle upon Tyne, Northumberland, Whitley Bay, Cramlington, Ashington, Bedlington, Alnwick, Hexham and nationwide.
Conservation of leaded glass
Conservation of leaded and painted glass differs from restoration in that conservation aims to preserve all the elements of a window (glass certainly, and lead if possible). Where glass has been lost, then a replacement must be documented. The materials used to bond broken glass must be reversible and the repairs identified in a conservation report. The purpose of this report is to inform future conservators or any interested party of the state of the glass before work was carried out and of any alterations, interventions or additions. Materials used to clean or repair should also be identified.
The conservation process
This procedure is more time-consuming than restoration in which the desired end is only a window looking “as new”. A conservation approach is usually only considered for glass of historic importance where simple replacement of breakages could not be tolerated.
A stained glass window, unlike a painting, has an architectural function and this requires a solid lead matrix. The lead may be old and need replacing but it might, on close inspection, give clues as to date and manufacture and any such findings ought to be recorded. Our experts here have the skills and expertise to carry out this process to the best of our abilities.
You can rely on our conservators
The conservator sometimes has the opportunity to improve upon the careless practices of earlier restorers. It can be argued that whatever the merits and aesthetics of previous repairs, they are still historically important and the conservator should proceed with caution when removing the work of others. Any such glass must be labelled, documented and stored.
It is part of the conservation ethic to accept that future generations will have other opinions and probably better bonding materials, hence the need for reversibility of bonding materials and of accurate documentation of each process.