Autumn Lecture 2019: Medieval Glazing at Westminster Abbey
The Stained Glass Museum Autumn Lecture Series 2019: Re-displaying fragments of the newly discovered medieval glazing of Westminster Abbey
Given by: Laura Atkinson (Conservator, The Cathedral Studios, Canterbury)
Wednesday 9 October, 2pm
Laura Atkinson selecting glass fragmentsIn June 2018, The Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Galleries opened at Westminster Abbey. The new gallery displays previously unseen treasures from the Abbey’s collections and allows for the first time visitor access to the Abbey’s medieval triforium. Before work started on creating the new gallery, the triforium space was cleared of the many accumulated stored objects and the floorboards were lifted. During this preliminary work, nearly 30,000 fragments of stained glass were discovered beneath the triforium floor.
The majority of the fragments are medieval in date and although many are small, their condition is remarkable given their age. During the sorting, fragments of particularly artistic and historic value have been identified, and long separated broken fragments reunited. Some of which are on display in the new public gallery. Further to these select fragments, two new windows utilizing the found glass have been installed into the access bridge leading to the gallery.
Image: Laura Atkinson selecting glass to be included in one of the new windows Image (C) The Dean and Chapter of Westminster
In addition to the creation of the two windows this talk outlines the work The Cathedral Studios at Canterbury Cathedral carried out sorting, photographing and cataloguing the fragments. Developing a suitable creative method for selecting fragments from such a large and varied collection for inclusion into the two new windows presented challenges. However, from these challenges arose an opportunity to develop a unique and innovative technique for displaying many of the fragments in the widows. This new system frees the stained glass fragment’s edges from the technical necessity of being wrapped in lead and enables the historic glass to be viewed in full.
Laura Atkinson has been working as a conservator at the The Cathedral Studios since 2012, she was lead conservator for the Westminster Abbey glass finds project. She has an MA in Conservation of Historic Objects from The University of Lincoln. Previous to this her background is in 3D design, glass blowing and museum work.
Our 2019 Autumn lecture series will focus on concepts of ’new’ in relation to stained glass – from new ways of looking at this exciting medium, to new commissions, and new discoveries of medieval glass, presented in a new light.
All talks take place in Ely Cathedral Education & Conference Centre, Palace Green, Ely, CB7 4EW
Buy tickets for whole series: £35 / £30 for Friends of The Stained Glass Museum. They are available via our website (https://stainedglassmuseum.com/lectures.html), over the phone on 01353 660347 or in person at the museum