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Archive for February, 2010

Stained Glass from the Chapel of the Holy Blood: Part Two

Thursday, February 25th, 2010

By Stuart Frost

zi Stained glass from the Chapel of the Holy Blood, after Conservation. Musuem no. C444-1918 after treatmentIn October last year I wrote about conservation work that had begun on a stained glass panel made around 1496 for the Chapel of the Holy Blood in Bruges, Belgium. The photograph that heads this page shows the glass after completion of the work by the conservators.

If you contrast this image with the previous photographs that show the panel as it was you’ll be able to see just what a remarkable transformation has taken place. It is fascinating to look at the before and after photographs side-by-side. To see the earlier photographs click on the picture to the right or the link at the foot of the page. This will take you to a set of images on the Medieval & Renaissance site on Flickr.To find out about the earlier conservation work please read the blog entry I posted in October 2009.

Room 10: Devotion and Display, Medieval & Renaissance Europe Galleries at the V&A.The initial set of photographs on Flickr documenting the key stages in the conservation process have been updated with another selection of photographs courtesy of conservators Ann Marsh and Sherrie Eatmen. If you’d like to know a little more detail about the work that has been undertaken please have a look at those pictures and read the captions that accompany them.

As you can see from the picture to the left the stained glass from the Chapel of the Holy Blood has been installed in Room 10 Devotion & Display 1300-1500 and looks stunning. Most visitors will, of course, be completely unaware of the highly skilled work and vast effort that went into ensuring that the stained glass looks at its best and can be displayed safely for future generations. 

In the foreground of the photograph is a reliquary of St Sebastian, and in the distance you can see an altarpiece depicting scenes of the Apocalypse. Both of these objects have also been the focus of innovative conservation work, and the subject of previous blog entries. All these instances illustrate the impact that conservation work can have both in improving the appearance of an object and helping in visitors interpret it meaningfully. It is wonderful to see the final results on display for everyone to enjoy and appreciate.

Click here to see a complete set of photographs related to the conservation of glass from the Chapel of the Holy Blood.

Living with the Past - Part 2

Monday, February 1st, 2010

By Stuart Frost

Gallery 64b at the V&A, 29th August 2009. Image courtesy of MUMA.In my last blog entry I posted some photographs documenting the installation of the glass roof for the new day-lit gallery, work that took place in July 2009. This new piece of architecture, the first on the V&A site for over one hundred years, is one of the most exciting aspects of the Medieval & Renaissance Galleries. I’m posting some futher photographs here that were taken on 29th August 2009. The first two photographs were provided by the architects, MUMA. I’ve posted some additional images on the Medieval & Renaissance Flickr site. Click on any of the pictures here and you should be able to access the other photographs.

The new gallery space contains a number of vast architectural objects, including a rare timber façade of a wealthy merchant’s London town-house. The façade of Sir Paul Pindar’s house was one of the few timber framed buildings to survive the Great Fire of London of 1666. It was fascinating to see this complex object completly dismantled in preparation for its move to the daylit gallery and to watch it being reassembled. The facade looks remarkable in its new context.Gallery 64b at the V&A, 29th August 2009. Image courtesy of MUMA.

Another of the most impressive objects in this space is also made of oak and is a vast staircase with three landings. The staircase once occupied the impressive central room of a townhouse in Morlaix, Brittany. Click on the link below to find out more about just how complex this object is. The installation of the staircase in the daylit gallery, like the facade of Sir Paul Pindar’s house, must have been one of the most complex undertaken as part of the project. 

I’m sure that visitors to the daylit gallery will be so engrossed in enjoying the architecture and the objects displayed there that they’ll give little thought to the process that was involved in achieving the end result. That is probably how it should be.Gallery 64b Living with the Past, January 2010. In fact some object installation is still to take place, but as you can see from the photograph below the space does look stunning as it is currently.

The photographs that I’ve posted here hopefully give some sense of the massive effort that was involved in delivering Gallery 64b Living with the Past, and the Medieval & Renaissance Galleries project as whole.  It has been a fantastic project to be involved with.

Click here to see a short film about the Medieval & Renaissance Galleries, including footage of the construction of the daylit gallery.

Click here to see what was involved in dismantling the façade of Sir Paul Pindar’s house.

Click here to find out more about the oak staircase from Morlaix.

Click here to find out more about Sir Paul Pindar’s House.