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

Amanda Chau
<[email protected] >

article posted 15 May 2017

Amanda Chau is the Andrew W. Mellon Fellow in Objects Conservation at Worcester Art Museum, where she is focusing primarily on the conservation of stained-glass windows and Asian art. She received her MA and Certificate of Advanced Study in Art Conservation from the State University of New York at Buffalo, majoring in objects conservation. Previously, she was the 2015-2016 Sherman Fairchild Foundation Fellow at The Metropolitan Museum of Art where she gained a specialization in stained-glass conservation and undertook a technical study and the conservation of a stained-glass window by mid-nineteenth century American artist, Henry E. Sharp.

Drew Anderson is responsible for The Metís stained-glass collection. He received an MA in Stained Glass Conservation from the Victoria and Albert Museum/Royal College of Art and served as senior conservator in the Stained Glass Conservation Section of the Victoria and Albert Museum from 1999 to 2004. Drew previously was a production manager at Goddard and Gibbs Stained Glass Studios, Ltd. in London, and has served as a stained-glass committee member of the Council for the Care of Churches and Chairman of the ICON Stained Glass Section in the United Kingdom. He is a member of the Conservation Committee of the American Corpus Vitrearum.

The Sharp End of Conservation: The Reintroduction of Paint to a Mid-Nineteenth Century American Stained-Glass Window
Amanda Chau* & Drew Anderson

A recent examination and treatment of a mid-nineteenth century, American, stained-glass, church window owned by The Metropolitan Museum of Art not only involved stabilizing the window and preserving as much original material as possible, but also relooking at past paint restoration techniques and developing an alternative that restores aesthetic legibility and avoids conservation concerns that arise from other techniques. The artist, Henry E. Sharp, heavily employs stenciled designs on this window.
Thus, the patterns are a crucial component in how the window is viewed and understanding his style and technique. However, due to inherent vice and a lack of protection from pollution and the elements for over 150 years, the window suffered from severe paint loss that altered the windowís readability. Therefore, restoring aesthetic legibility was a paramount treatment goal. The paint reintroduction method is based on a concept and treatment by the Managing Director and Head Conservator of Barley Studio, Keith Barley, in which a mixture of glass paint, oil based gold size, and turpentine was brushed onto the back side of a figureís face that suffered from paint loss in order to bring forth the imagery. This projectís treatment implements Barleyís concept, tests its application on a larger scale, and integrates traditional glass painting, printmaking, and silk screening processes. Through this method, the paint is reintroduced in a manner that is faithful to the artistís stencil patterns, clarifies the designs, is stable in an environmentally controlled setting, and is entirely reversible.
Furthermore, this alternative method maintains the original materials and avoids possible complications of trapped moisture or stress from additional weight that can occur with back plating. Even in its early stages of development, this project's paint reintroduction method has proved overall effective in restoring aesthetic legibility and provides a promising alternative that should be further considered and explored for other windows facing similar condition issues.

Institutions: Presenting authorís current affiliation: Worcester Art Museum
Drew Andersonís affiliation: The Metropolitan Museum of Art
This paperís project was conducted at The Metropolitan Museum of Art.