Royal College of Physicians
Conservation follows a strict set of guidelines in any industry and stained glass is no different. The seven panels in need of conservation were first examined on site and a condition report written up as to the current state of each panel and the work required. It was also decided that new frames would need to be built to better protect the panels after.
All the panels had a good standard of lead, so it was deemed unnecessary to remove glass from the lead. Four of the seven panels were in need of just a clean, using specific products in order to not damage the glass and paint; this is worked out by doing tests on the glass beforehand. Two of the remaining panels needed repairs; the plain glass was replaced with new glass to match but the painted glass was examined and decided with the client that original sections could be kept and matched up with newly painted sections. Cracks in the glass were also repaired with edge bonding.
Once complete, all the panels were put into their new frames with toughened glass to protect them.
The seventh panel, ‘Antony Addington’, was an archive piece which had been badly damaged in the past and repaired using copper foil. This is a very common way of repairing panels but unfortunately spoilt the look of this panel, cutting through the portrait. It was the client’s wish to remove the copper foil and attempt to repair the portrait as best as possible.
Once the copper foil was slowly and carefully removed we were able to assess the damage and clean each individual segment of glass. It also reveals gaps in the glass that the copper foil had hidden. Undeterred by this and not wanting to obstruct the portrait with more copper foil or lead, each pieces was carefully put back in place using edge bonding resins. A layer of resin was then set within the gaps left behind and a cold paint applied to disguise these gaps – It is important that all these processes are reversible and the original work not disturbed.
A backing plate is then kiln formed to match the curve of the original panel and these two pieces are held together with copper foil around the edge. Not all pieces need a backing plate but with the delicate nature of this piece and sections of the glass only being 1-2mm thick, it was deemed necessary. This was then leaded back into its panel and placed in it’s new frame.