Archive for the 'stained glass windows' category

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For the past four weeks I have been restoring a damaged stained glass window installed by Ashwin and Company in the 1930's. Once again I had chris Wellwood and Clive Hillier assisting on the excavation of the window and boarding up. After initial hesitation with the St Jame's Catholic Church project at Glebe, Clive has embraced working on scaffold with gusto.

Damage to stained glass windowDamage to stained glass window

Close up of damaged sectionClose up of damaged section

Existing fragmentsExisting fragments

The difficulty that presented itself with this paarticular restoration project was the obvious severe paint loss ocurring in almost all the windows in the Church: not on all the glass however, only the flesh- all the faces, hands and feet. Many of the faces have lost their trace lines and now appear as ghosts. When I eventually got the window into the studio I discovered that the paint on these pieces of glass was so flaky it could be scraped by a fingernail: very unusual.

Creating a cutlineCreating a cutline

Cutline for new glassCutline for new glass

New glassNew glass

Cartoon for new glassCartoon for new glass

It's a matter of conjecture as to why this might be the case. Other stained glass windows I've seen showing paint loss tend to suffer across most of the glass and I assume that the cause of this was not adequate firing in the first place. And it is possible that with the Holy Cross window the faces, hands and feet were fired as a differnet batch of glass to the remainder of the window. It would be unlikely that a different paint was used to that of the drapery and foliage. But I am convinced that it is to do with the chemistry of the particular glass, an unusual shade of pinkish/yellow brown, and a possible incompatibilty with the glass paint.


Replacement hands and feetReplacement hands and feet

Replacement handReplacement hand

Completed windowCompleted window

Detail of the facesDetail of the faces

Detail of the handsDetail of the hands

The window is booked for re-installation next week and the scaffold will come down before Easter celebrations begin the following weekend.

Today I've just re-installed the Gabriel window into St Peter's historic Church at Cremorne after carrying out some extensive restoration over the last few weeks. I did manage to see in the New Year in style but also spent many hours laboring over some quite challenging paintwork to achieve the best result I could in matching the old painted glass.

Extensive damage to the Gabriel windowExtensive damage to the Gabriel window

With green paper block-outs to cut the glareWith green paper block-outs to cut the glare

Piecing together fragmentsPiecing together fragments

There was no signature or date of manufacture to be found on the window but a best estimate is around 90 - 100 years. It was common of windows from this era to be very heavily painted and while they look quite good, if somewhat sombre, insitu it becomes terribly difficult to read and then re-create such dark paintwork in the studio.

Fired trace on piece of draperyFired trace on piece of drapery

Same piece of glass with stipple matt appliedSame piece of glass with stipple matt applied

The restored windowThe restored window

The restored windowThe restored window

Detail of wingtipDetail of wingtip

Close up of restored areaClose up of restored area


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