Stained Glass - Art at the Glass Surface
Cambridge - Monday 4th and
Tuesday 5th September 2017

Martha Hör
<[email protected]>

article posted 17 May 2017

Martha Hör Dipl.-Rest. (FH), Fachhochschule Erfurt, Germany BA (Hons) in Conservation, EVTEK Institute Vantaa, Finland

Martha Hör is working as a stained glass conservator in her own studio in Fürth.
Glasrestaurierung Hör Nürnberger Str. 38 90762 Fürth Germany

Cold Paint on Stained Glass in Nuremberg around 1500 Patina, Varnish and Glazes
Martha Hör

Glasrestaurierung Hör, Fürth, Germany

The conservation campaign on stained-glass windows of St. Lorenz church and the church of St. Sebald in Nuremberg provided an opportunity to examine the painting technique of stained-glass production around 1500 in detail. In addition to the extensive and skilled use of silver stain, etching techniques, and iron red on monumental stained glass, there are various layers of paint that are difficult to categorize. New findings support the hypothesis that these layers represent residues of cold paint, applied on top of the classic three-layer structure of fired paint. The systematic, extensive, and highly variable use of unfired varnishes and glazes on stained glass in the late 15th and early 16th centuries in Nuremberg is illustrated with examples of windows executed at the workshops of Wolgemut and Hirsvogel and the Strasbourg Workshop-Cooperative. Individual findings are described to support the interpretation of these surfaces. The visual concepts and the resulting technological limitations and requirements are discussed.

On basis of these new findings, the concepts of “cleaning” stained glass surfaces must be questioned critically. The distinction between original surface and “encrustations,” dirt or deposits is sometimes difficult. A perfectly preserved fired paint layer underneath unrecognizable “deposits” does not necessarily represent the original surface.