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Living with the Past - Part 2

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.

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Living with the Past: Part One

January 18th, 2010

By Stuart Frost

I have spent over seven years, or thereabouts, working on the Medieval & Renaissance Galleries. I find it hard to believe that my role on the project has finally come to an end. The project team offices are in the process of being cleared and I have taken up a new job at the British Museum. Most of you will know that the galleries opened to the public on Wednesday 2nd December. The response from the press and the public has been magnificent.

Over the last twelve months work on the Medieval & Renaissance Galleries progressed at a particularly remarkable rate. Noteworthy milestones receded into the distance at such a rapid rate that they’d vanished over the horizon before I’d had the opportunity to write about them. Installing the glass roof for Gallery 64b at the V&A, July 2009. Image courtesy of MUMA.

I wanted to use the blog to document work-in-progress on the glass roof of the new day-lit space, one of the most exciting aspects of the galleries. Therefore I’m posting this blog entry about The Simon Sainsbury Gallery retrospectively. The gallery space is open to the public although a number of objects are still to be installed. Although there is still a little bit of work to do the area looks wonderful, especially in the evening.

The day-lit gallery has been created from previously unused space between external facades. The photograph reproduced here shows the installation of glass beams measuring up to nine meters in length. These beams span the void between the walls, which in conjunction with a new floor, create the light filled gallery that houses large architectural objects. The blue colour of the glass beams in the picture results from protective coverings that have now been removed.

I’ve posted some additional photographs on Flickr which you should be able to reach by clicking on the picture provided here. I should point out that the photograph used here were taken in July 2009. The completed gallery roof looks very different.

The theme for the gallery is Living with the Past and the displays here highlight the often substantially altered buildings and monuments that survive in our towns and cities. The construction of this new space at the V&A allowed MUMA (McInnes Usher McKnight Architects) to design an orientation point which contains a study area with computer terminals where visitors can access online resources and a vast graphic timeline. The day-lit gallery is a remarkable addition to the V&A building.

I would like to thank MUMA for providing the photograph that illustrates this page and for their permission to use it. I’ll provide more information on the daylit gallery in the next blog entry and focus on some of the vast architectural objects that occupy the space.

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A Missal from the Abbey of Saint Denis, Paris

January 4th, 2010

By Stuart Frost

Page from a missal from the abbey of Saint-Denis, 1350. Museum no. MSL/1891/1346.The pages that illustrate this blog entry are from a magnificent missal in the V&A’s collections, one of the finest surviving examples of a fourteenth century Gothic manuscript. A missal is a book which contains all the texts and music needed by a priest to celebrate Mass. This particular missal was made for use at one of the altars in the royal abbey of St Denis, Paris. The book is displayed in Room 9 The Rise of Gothic 1200-1350.

Visitors to the Medieval & Renaissance Galleries will be able to see manuscript but also to explore a larger selection of openings from the book through a touch-screen interactive placed nearby. In addition, for the first time visitors will also be able to hear a recording of one of the chants preserved in the musical notation written on the missal’s pages. 

The missal waA missal from Saint Denis, Paris. MSL/1891/1346 393vs commissioned for the abbey of St Denis and because it was used there it includes specific references to both the abbey and its patron saint, Saint Denis. Saint Denis is the patron saint of France. He was believed to have been sent to Gaul to convert pagans to Christianity in the third century. Although St Denis preached initially with great success he was imprisoned and eventually beheaded. His martydom is depicted in the illumination depicted in the photographs that heads this blog entry.

The strong connection between the manuscript and Saint Denis dictated that if we were to record only one piece from the missal it should ideally be a piece that related to the abbey or its name saint. Staff, students and professional singers from the Royal College of Music recently recorded Salve Pater Dyonisi (Hail Father Denis). the notation and words for which can be seen in the images to the left and below.  This piece would have been performed on the Feast Day of Saint Denis. Salve Pater Dyonisi comprises seven verses which praise St Denis and two other saints who were martyred with him, Saint Rusticus and Saint Eleutherius. The words are sung in Latin to music that was adapted from pre-existing pieces to create a fresh work.

A missal from Saint Denis, Paris. MSL/1891/1346 394rA short film that introduces the missal and which documents the recording of Salve Pater Dyonisi has just been posted on Vimeo. If you’d like to see the film please click on the link provided below. The superlative artistic qualities of the missal are easy to appreciate but the recording of some of the music that its written upon its pages will hopefully give visitors a greater feel for how the manuscript was originally intended to be used. 

I’m delighted that visitors to the Medieval & Renaissance Galleries will be able to hear for the first time a piece of music that was originally performed in Saint Denis abbey around 1350. The recording will also be made available online. Watch this space for more information. Happy New Year to everyone!

Click here to see the film about the Saint Denis Missal and the recording of Salve Pater Dyonisi on Vimeo.

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A Labour of Love

December 18th, 2009

By Stuart Frost

There is an extensive and varied programme of events to support the Medieval & Renaissance Galleries. Activities, talks, special projects and lectures will take place throughout 2010. A fascinating demonstration took place on Saturday 5th December, the first weekend the galleries were open to the public, and it focused on a unique object that I think will astound visitors who see it.Quilted bedcover, Italy, about 1355-1400. Museum no. 1391-1904.

The object in question is a large bed-cover that can be dated between 1360-1400, and perhaps even more precisely than that. The quilt is vast, 320cm high by 287cm wide. It is decorated with fourteen scenes from the story of Tristan. The photograph to the right shows a detail from one of the scenes, with the hero Tristan pointing to his sword.

Photographs of the original quilt really don’t do it justice. It looks far more spectacular in reality, partly because it is easier to appreciate its vast scale and to read the scenes. The image at the bottom of this page should give you a sense of how big the quilt is, although it doesn’t include all of the object.

Tristan is a chivalrous knight who performs great deeds but whose life is ultimately brought to a sad conclusion as the result of a tragic love affair with Isolde, the queen of his lord, King Mark of Cornwall. As in many great romance stories, love grows but doom follows.

The Tristan quilt belongs to the age of romance literature, a type of literature that was popular from the middle of the twelfth century until the sixteenth. These types of poems and stories were written in the local vernacular, rather than the Latin of the church. .Detail from a modern copy of the Tristan Quilt made by Francine Nicolle.

If you click on any of the pictures in this blog entry you will find more information about the quilt, and be able to access a larger group of images on Flickr. Some of those photographs relate to conservation work that was undertaken to prepare the quilt for display in the new galleries. Others, like the one to the left, relate to the recent demonstration of the technique that was used to create the copy.

The scenes on the quilt were created by stitching the outlines of the figures through two layers of linen, and then carefully stuffing the pockets between the layers with cotton. Then the loose stitches that form the outline were tightened. The figures are raised in relief, the background between them is flat. The technique is still practiced in France where it is known as boutis. Over a number of years a large number of French men and women brought together by the Musee de Boutis in Calvisson have been involved in making a modern copy of the Tristan quilt.

Francine Nicolle has been the driving force behind the project. I first met her several years ago when she brought examples of the work to the V&A. After six thousand hours of work her copy of the quilt was finally completed earlier this year. It really is a remarkable achievement and one which raises many interesting questions about how the original was made. Francine and her French colleagues arrived in London on Friday 4th December, and the following day they laid out the quilt in the Sackler Centre Art Studio so that the public could see it. Throughout the day a number of demonstrations took place, and the public were able to participate and try the technique for themselves.

Detail from a modern copy of the Tristan Quilt made by Francine Nicolle.The event was a great success thanks to the efforts of the delegation from Calvisson and colleagues in the Learning & Interpretation department who planned the event over a long period of time. French speakers from within the department were on hand to translate the talks given by Francine and her team. The provision of powerful lights helped to illuminate the quilt and show exactly how the figures on the quilt were raised. The attention to detail helped give visitors a clear sense of the technique. It really was a remarkable event and quite an emotional occassion.

I’ll post extra photographs of the event on Flickr in due course. I’d like to thank everyone involved in the project, but especially Francine Nicolle, Catherine Paoli, Christina Shannon and at the V&A Helen Didier and Maureen McKarkiel.

Quilted bedcover, Italy, 1355-1400. Museum no. 1391-1904.Although the galleries themselves are now open this doesn’t mean that the work of the project team has finished. A large amount of content will be added to the V&A website over the coming months so if you check back at regular intervals you are likely to discover something new. The Tristan Quilt is one of the objects that will be the focus on an in-depth online only subject.

We also hope that a subject exploring the links between some of the key objects in the galleries and the literature of medieval and Renaissance Europe will be added in due course. The version of the Tristan story illustrated on the quilt is a 14th century Italian version that isn’t easy to find. The most accessible English translation is the Penguin Classic edition written by the German Gottfried von Strassburg. He who followed an earlier version written in French by Thomas around 1160. It is a wonderful story, and a very good read.

If you wish to come to the V&A to see the quilt you will find it in Room 9, The Rise of Gothic 1200-1350. It is part of a subject that looks at the subject of Knights and Heraldry. If you wanted an object that epitomised these themes I don’t think you could find a better one. The quilt depicts a magnificent castle, kings and queens, knights in armour, brave deeds and a duel to the death. You can find out more about the quilt and see images of all of its scenes online via Search the Collections.

If you have any questions or comments please do post them below and we’ll endeavour to answer them as soon as we can!

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The Medieval & Renaissance Galleries are open!

December 7th, 2009

By Stuart Frost

The Medieval & Renaissance Galleries opening night, 1st December 2009.The first meeting of the Concept Team, a group of four people whose role was to shape and steer the development of the Medieval & Renaissance Galleries, took place in June 2002. The official opening of the galleries took place last week on the evening of Tuesday 1st December 2009.

On Wednesday 2nd December the galleries opened to the public. As I hadn’t been into the galleries over the final three weeks of work I was stunned to see how much had been achieved in such a short period of time. The last time I had walked through the spaces they were still very much a work in progress.  Objects and cases were still being installed and there was a huge amount of work to do. When I walked into the spaces on the opening night I was stunned at the transformation. It was wonderful to see the galleries finally completed but also more than a little emotional. It still hasn’t quite sunk in that my role on the project, and that my time at the V&A, is over.

The Director of the V&A at the opening of the Medieval & Renaissance Galleries.I’ve included some pictures from the opening night here. It was a very special occasion for the V&A and for everyone who has contributed to the project. I found it hard to believe that I was walking through the galleries and seeing the displays for the first time as the public would see them, rather than looking at design drawings on A3 sheets of paper. The evening also reminded me of just how many colleagues have been involved in the project over the years.

Perhaps the most exciting and nerve wracking moment for me was walking through the galleries on Saturday afternoon, a few days after the public opening, and watching people moving through the displays and interacting with objects. It was fascinating to look at their faces and to see how they were reacting. Some of the most beautiful, significant and inspiring art works in the Museum’s collections now on display and are there for visitors to discover and enjoy. It is exciting to think about the vast number of different experiences and responses that visitors will have in these new galleries over the coming years.

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Music from the leaf of a choirbook

November 24th, 2009

By Stuart Frost

Leaf from a choirbook, about 1250, Germany or northern Netherlands.  Museum no. 1519I’ve chosen to illustrate this blog entry with a manuscript leaf that was orginally part of a choirbook made around 1250, probably in Germany. The leaf is decorated with an illuminated letter that depicts the Annunciation, the moment when the Angel Gabriel appears to the Virgin Mary and tells her that she will give birth to Christ. Click on the image for a larger picture and more information about the choirbook leaf.

The leaf also contains the musical notation and the Latin words for a piece of Gregorian chant, Missus est Gabriel or the Angel Gabriel was Sent. Thanks to the efforts of staff and students and the Royal College of Music visitors to the Medieval & Renaissance Galleries will be able to listen to a recording of this piece of music in the gallery where the choirbook leaf is displayed. The music will be delivered through headphones and an audio-point built into one of the gallery seats.

If you’d like to know more about the choirbook leaf and the recording of the piece of music I’ve provided a link below to a short film that we made to document the work. In the film curator V&A Rowan Watson explains why the V&A has a large collection of individual manuscript leaves, the female choir is shown rehearsing the piece of music and Jennifer Smith of the Royal College of Music explains the work involved in transcribing the notation from the original manuscript.

Recording peformances of medieval chant in a church, 17 June 2009. Photograph by Lorena Meana.Chants like Missus est Gabriel originated in monasteries where the singing of the Divine Service seven times a day was required of those following the Rule of St. Benedict. Gregorian chant accompanied the celebration of Mass and other services that took place throughout the liturgical year. Chant has a long history and although it has been subject to many changes and reforms over the centuries it remains in use for worship today.

The choirbook leaf will be displayed in Gallery 8 Faiths & Empires 300-1250 as part of a display about Great Chuches and Monasteries. The Medieval & Renaissance Galleries will open to the public on Wednesday 2nd December 2009. It is hard to believe that after so many years the project is almost finished.

Click here to see the film about the choirbook leaf and the recording of Missus est Gabriel on Vimeo. The recording of Missus est Gabriel will also made be available on the V&A’s website in due course.

Click here to find out more about the Listening Gallery project.

The Listening Gallery project is funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council.

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The Listening Gallery Part 4: Music for the harpsichord

November 9th, 2009

By Stuart Frost 

The Medieval & Renaissance Galleries will open to the public on Wednesday 2nd December 2009. As you might expect installation of the objects and displays is dominating the work of the project team at the moment and will continue to do so over the short period of time that remains.

For those of you who are keen to get an impression of what is going on behind the scenes I have posted some photographs on the Medieval & Renaissance Flickr site. I’ll add further photographs on a weekly basis. The easiest way to reach the Flickr site is by clicking on the image below.

Harpsichord by Giovanni Baffo, 1574, Venice. Museum no. 6007-1859From my own point of view most of my time over the last couple of weeks has been focussed on the final scripting and recording of over forty audio tracks. These will integrated with the Medieval & Renaissance Galleries via fourteen audio-points, small touch-screen computers with headphones located at fixed points throughout the displays. Most of the tracks will also be available online via the V&A’s website. The recording and post-production of over eighty-four pages of script is now complete which I have to say is something of a relief. I’ll focus on just one audio track here.

The richly decorated instrument that illustrates this blog entry is a harpsichord made in Venice in 1574 for a member of the wealthy Florentine Strozzi family. The keyboard will be part of Palace and Home, a display that focuses on the elite Renaissance interior and the activities that took place there. The decision to provide recordings alongside the harpsichord to give visitors a sense of what the instrument sounded like was one of the more straightforward ones.

The V&A’s harpsichord, made by Giovanni Baffo, is no longer in playable condition. The instrument was acquired by the V&A primarily because of the superlative quality of its wonderfully rich and elaborate decoration. However there is an early harpsichord in the Museum at the Royal College of Music that is in playable condition. Thanks to our collaboration with the Royal College we were able to obtain a number of recordings of tracks that were performed on this instrument by Giulia Nuti.

The piece of music that visitors to Gallery 62 will be able to listen to is called Passemezzo di nome antico and was written by Marco Facoli. Facoli was born in Venice where he flourished as a composer in the late 16th century. The musical notation for this piece of music, contemporary with the Baffo harpsichord, is preserved in a manuscript in the library of the Royal College of Music. It is exceptional for the period for such a long and complex piece of solo music written out at length in a manuscript to have survived.

There are several advantages to obtaining recordings of previously unrecorded tracks like Passemezzo. One of the most significant benefits is that the pieces of music can be matched very closely to the objects which they are being used to interpret. New recordings can also be made more widely and freely available via the V&A’s website without getting involved in complex and sometimes expensive licensing issues.

To find out more about the harpsichord made by Giovanni Baffo from curators James Yorke and Kirstin Kennedy, and to watch footage of the recording of Passemezzo at the Royal College of Music, click on the link to the short film provided below. If you have any questions or comments please do post them below and I’ll respond to them as soon as I can.

Click here to see the film about the Baffo harpsichord on Vimeo.

Click here to find out more about the Listening Gallery project.

The Listening Gallery project is funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council.

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The Listening Gallery Part 3: A Notation Knife

November 1st, 2009

By Stuart Frost

I’ve written about The Listening Gallery project before. It  is a two-year collaboration between the Royal College of Music and the V&A. The project draws on recent research in music, art & design and technology. One of the aims of the project is to connect key objects in the V&A’s collections with recordings of music that help visitors understand both the objects, and the cultural contexts to which they belonged, more fully.Notation Knife, Museum no. 310-1903.

New and existing recordings of music were integrated into the V&A’s major Spring 2009 exhibition, Baroque 1620-1800: Style in the Age of Magnificence (4 April to 19 July 2009) as part of the first phase of the Listening Gallery. A series of over thirty new recordings have been made for the Medieval & Renaissance Galleries (opening 2 December 2009). The music will be available in the galleries and online via the V&A’s website. My colleagues, Peter Kelleher and Maike Zimmerman, very kindly agreed to film some of the work involved in producing the recordings. A series of short films are now complete and will be added to the website over the coming weeks. 

The first film focuses on a knife made around 1550, the blade of which is etched on both sides with musical notation. The flat blade indicates that the knife was probably used to serve or present slices of meat. The object has been the focus of a great deal of thorough research undertaken by Flora Denis who has investigated a number of key questions. Why was musical notation engraved on the blade? Was this music actually meant to be sung? How many other knives like this one survive and was the V&A’s knife part of a larger set? The notation on the knife was recently transcribed, rehearsed and recorded at the Royal College of Music. To watch the film and find out more about the knife, the research, the music and the Listening Gallery project please click on the link provided below.  

If there are any questions that you’d to ask, or comments that you’d like to make, please do post them below. 

Click here to see the film about the notation knife on Vimeo.

Click here to find out more about the Listening Gallery project. 

The Listening Gallery project is funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council.

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St Thérèse of Lisieux

October 16th, 2009

By Stuart Frost

Earlier this week relics of Saint Thérèse of Lisieux arrived at Westminster Cathedral in London as the culmination of a month long tour of Britain. The reaction from the public and the media has been remarkable. The relics of this French nun, who died in 1897 at the age of  twenty-four, have drawn massive crowds as they have travelled around the country. Over two thousand pilgrims an hour are expected to visit Westminster Cathedral to venerate the relics during their comparatively short stay in the capital.Conservation work in progress on a reliquary of St Antigius, January 2007.

The scenes of devotion that have accompanied the tour are a reminder that British society isn’t quite as secular as is often assumed. In a decade dominated by the cult of celebrity, the response to the tour of St Thérèse’s relics demonstrates that the cult of saints remains central to the lives of many Christians in the United Kingdom. The significant number of new saints created by the Papacy in the twentieth century also serves to illustrate the continuing centrality of saints in Roman Catholicism.

At the age of fifteen Thérèse became a Carmelite nun at Lisieux where she remained until her death from tuberculosis just eight years later. Her life became more widely known through her short autobiography. L’Histoire d’une Âme (The Story of a Soul). She was canonised, officially recognised as saint by the Roman Catholic Church, in 1925.

The veneration of saints was of course, extremely popular throughout medieval and Renaissance Europe. The V&A’s collections include a number of extremely beautiful and significant reliquaries, elaborate containers made to hold relics associated with saints.  Almost all of these reliquaries are now empty, the relics they once held lost or removed long before the objects came to the Museum. At the V&A these reliquaries are now appreciated primarily for their aesthetic qualities but the response to St Thérèse’s relics is a reminder of the spiritual signficance they once had. I’ve written about a number of reliquaries over the last three years, most recently about  one associated with St Sebastian. The photograph that heads this blog entry shows conservation work undertaken in January 2007 on a reliquary of St Antigius.

Becket Casket, around 1180. Museum no. M.66-1977The most well known reliquary in the V&A’s collections is arguably one that is associated with St Thomas Becket and which was probably made in 1180, just ten years or so after the murder of the Archbishop in Canterbury Cathedral. The shrine of Thomas Becket become one of the most popular destinations for pilgrims in Britain and Europe. Relics associated with Becket were in great demand. 

The relics of saints (sometimes parts of their bodies) were often divided between churches and saints’ relics were sometimes removed (or stolen) from shrines. Some of St Thérèse relics have remained in France, and indeed have also been touring the country there. However In medieval and Renaissance Europe pilgrims tended to travel to visit the shrines of saints rather then the relics being brought to churches near them in the manner of the current tour of  St Thérèse’s relics.

Unfortunately I don’t have any pictures of the reliquary which contains St Thérèse’s relics. However there are plenty or articles and images on the websites of most of the major newspapers, testament to the manner in which the story of St Thérèse has captured the media’s attention.

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Stained Glass from the Chapel of the Holy Blood

October 4th, 2009

By Stuart Frost

c. Stained glass panel from the Chapel of the Holy Blood, Museum no. C444-1918.The stained glass panel illustrated here was made around 1496 for the Chapel of the Holy Blood in Bruges, Belgium. The colourful panel depicts an angel holding the arms of Mary of Burgundy with those of Maximilian of Austria and was probably made to commemorate their marriage. You’ll not be surprised to learn that most stained glass panels dating from the 15th century have experienced some damage. This panel is no exception and is currently undergoing conservation treatment to prepare it for display. 

The picture that heads this page shows the panel before any work had begun. The photograph was taken a few weeks ago on a vertical lightbox in the Stained Glass Conservation Studio at the V&A. The panel was given a thorough assessment by conservators Ann Marsh and Sherrie Eatman in order to determine the treatment to be undertaken. A number of old lead repairs, where the glass had broken, are quite easy to spot. Several horizontal leads are also clearly visible in the photograph as is the heavy wooden display frame.

The first step in the conservation process was to remove the panel from its old frame. Wooden frames are no longer used because the wood can give off acidic fumes that may corrode the lead strips holding individual pieces of glass in place. All panels are now mounted in aluminium display frames because aluminium is an inert material. In this instance the frame also had to be removed so that the panel could be reframed in a style appropriate for the new galleries. A number of innovative shaped frames are being used throughout the new Medieval & Renaissance Galleries.e. Detail from stained glass panel, Museum no. C444-1918.

The face of the angel holding the shield exemplifies many of the issues that needed to be addressed with this particular glass panel as a whole. The panel had been repaired previously, in this instance most noticeably along the left-hand side of the face. Replacement pieces of glass had been added, including the hair and neck on the left-hand side, and the triangular piece in the cheek. As you can see these old repairs were not particularly sympathetic to the original appearance of the object.

In order to make new repairs all of the existing leads were removed except those within the shield held by the angel. However before any leads were removed a rubbing was taken of the entire panel and this was used to create templates. As each piece of glass was removed from the panel it was placed on top of one of the templates in the correct location. The picture below shows the individual pieces of glass laid on a template in the conservation studio after the leads have been removed.

The use of templates ensures that when the panel is reassembled each piece of glass goes back in the same position but also that the overall size of the panel remains exactly the same. Many of the leads that were removed were fatigued and will be replaced over the coming weeks.

Epoxy resin is being used to make subtle repairs by creating strong bonds between breaks in the glass. Dyed resin is also used to fill small areas where the original glass is missing. Work is underway on gently cleaning the front and the back of each glass piece. Deionised water and cotton swabs are used to remove the dust and grime that have accumulated over time.o. Placing the glass on the template rubbing.

Once the panel is reassembled it will be set within a new metal frame so that it can be installed in the Medieval & Renaissance Galleries. The production of the frames for the stained glass is a fascinating story in its own right and I’ll also cover that in a future blog entry along with the installation of the panel in the new gallery.

I’ve already posted a larger number of photographs illustrating the conservation work, courtesy of Ann and Sherrie, on Flickr. If you’d like to know a little more detail about the work that has been undertaken please have a look at those photographs. Click on one of the images here to visit the Flickr site. 

I’ll provide an update on work on this glass panel at some point over the next couple of weeks. It will be fascinating to put photographs of the panel before and after treatment side-by-side.

Click here to find out more about how you can contribute to the Medieval & Renaissance Galleries Appeal.

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