York Minster’s Great East Window is the largest expanse of medieval stained glass in the country, a masterpiece in glass and stone depicting the beginning and end of all things.
For the last ten years, the world-famous window has been the subject of a major restoration and conservation project, the largest of its kind in Europe.
All 311 stained glass panels were removed from the 15th century window, which is the size of a tennis court, in 2008 so York Glaziers Trust could begin the mammoth task of restoring the fragile masterpiece.
The project, which also involved the conservation or replacement of nearly 2,500 stones by York Minster’s stonemasons, was part of the cathedral’s £20m York Minster Revealed project, which ran from 2011 to 2015.
During the five years of the project, the stonemasons and glaziers used ancient craftsmanship alongside cutting edge technology, complimented by in-depth academic research in a number of different disciplines.
All the stonework and the majority of the stained glass was completed and returned to the window in 2015, but the sheer size of the window meant the entire glazing could not be finished during the five-years.
Over the last two years, YGT has been working to restore the remaining sections of stained-glass and these will be returned to the window in early 2018.
The window was created between 1405 and 1408 by Master Glazier John Thornton of Coventry, who paid £56 by the Chapter of York. It is a work of enormous ambition, depicting the beginning and end of all things from the book of Genesis to the Book of Revelation, known in the Middle Ages as the Apocalypse.
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