July 5th, 2011 – Vandalized Window Repair Part One

Undamaged Window, Left-hand side.
Undamaged Window, Left-hand side.

Started work today on a vandalized window repair. It is the right-hand side of a set of two. These windows have a really cool style graphically to them, we don’t know who the artist was.
The scene seems to depict a possible saint/angel figure telling Joseph about how his wife’s having a baby via the medium of some cool vision. We get to see this vision in a dreamy blue circle design in the upper right of the window. Also, his eyes are closed so that indicates the vision thing, well that’s how I see it. At his feet are some of his carpenter tools, a nice inclusion. I really like the painted style on these windows, it’s quite unusual.

The remains of the right-hand side window.
The remains of the right-hand side window.

The right-hand window has been smashed in, quite badly and we began today the job of restoring it.
First, we know it’s exactly the same size as the left-hand window because it has the same iron frame so it’s a big help straight away when the size is not in dispute. The next job is to take a rubbing of the window, on this we make notes on the lead widths used. Because it’s been kicked in a lot of the leads are twisted and bent out of shape, so in the areas where the glass is completely missing, we have no definite on the true direction /curve of the lead lines other than there is one there. So looking for clues in the window and making educated estimates we can begin to plot what might have been happening in this scene.
Unfortunately, the blank areas are totally empty, sometimes there will be fragments that can indicate at least what colour was in a particular section, and from that, we can tell what it might have been. This window is short on clues, and even with the twisted leads, the shapes are somewhat irregular…

So this is the rubbing & the window side by side. The scene appears to be Mary kneeling on the left & Joseph standing on the right. Apart from a very small bit of glass showing her eye we have lost her face. This is enough however to indicate her eye line. Also, her hands which seem to be positioned as you would cradle a baby. Everything else, however, is gone so we spent the better part of today trying to work out how with the shapes available (allowing for bent leads) we could fit a baby in here. Maybe it’s her fish supper and Joseph wants some chips…
The lower half of Joseph seems to be a bit complicated too as we have very little to go on.
So I dismantled the panel and tomorrow we can begin positioning the glass pieces into a more true design as the leads cant be really trusted due to being bent out so much. The pieces of glass however are what they are so we should be able to plot out the rest of the design tomorrow.
Dusty & a little confusing day, but a good one nonetheless.

Close-up of cracked Stained Glass

4 thoughts on “July 5th, 2011 – Vandalized Window Repair Part One

    1. peterjgillies Post author

      thanks andy, lovin the film reviews I promise ill get round to the Godfather, damn that reminds me I was half way through Raging bull like 2 months ago. Damn i totally forgot about that…

    1. peterjgillies Post author

      thanks, i don’t think its the kind of job you could continue for any length of time if it didn’t totally interest you. The full restoration projects are always the most interesting, a bit of mystery, chalenges replicating paint techniques. There is many parts to getting to a finished window, each one with its very own joy and sorrow. Sometimes a lot of sorrow. But in the end it alwas get there.

      On a side note the phrase ‘i’ll be glad to see the back of him/that/her/whatever’

      i think comes from someone that worked in a stained glass studio…
      how so?
      well once the whole thing is together and top side soldered you can turn it over and solder the back then your done. So when you see the back of it you know your nearly done. Hence i’ll be glad to see the back of this… window in my case.

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