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The Director of the York Glaziers Trust, Professor Sarah Brown, has been awarded the 2023 Plowden Medal for Conservation for her significant and globally renowned contribution to the stained glass conservation sector. The Plowden Medal is awarded annually by The Royal Warrant Holders’ Association to recognise the individual who has made the most significant recent contribution to the advancement of the conservation profession.
Professor Brown and her team at York Glaziers Trust are responsible for the conservation and care of the magnificent stained glass windows at York Minster. York Minster’s windows contain the largest expanse of medieval stained glass in Britain. Professor Brown led the ground-breaking 10-year project to repair and conserve the cathedral’s famed Great East Window, the stained glass masterpiece created more than 600 years ago by the medieval master glazier John Thornton.
Expert conservators at the Trust spent a combined 92,400 hours meticulously conserving the glass in the Great East Window. The project mixed traditional skills with pioneering technology to repair and conserve the stained glass. York Minster was the first cathedral in the UK to install state-of-the-art, UV resistant external glazing to protect the priceless stained glass.
In 2017, York Minster announced a 20-year partnership project with York Glaziers Trust and the York Minster Fund to protect all of the cathedral’s windows from environmental damage. Professor Brown and her team are currently working on 600 year-old stained glass in the cathedral’s South Quire Aisle as part of an 11 year, multi-million pound conservation and restoration project to repair glass and stonework.
Congratulating Professor Brown on the award of The Plowden Medal, The Very Revd Dominic Barrington, Dean of York said: “We were absolutely thrilled to learn that Sarah has received this award. Her outstanding expertise, scholarship and leadership in her field is internationally renowned as is her tireless commitment to the sector more widely, particularly in identifying and bringing-on the next generation of specialist conservators.
“Created for the glory of God, the restoration of the Great East Window carried out by Sarah and her team, gives modern pilgrims and visitors the chance to experience John Thornton’s masterpiece as it was first seen 600 years ago. Sarah is one of those special people who understands the long term impact of their work to improve on the work of those who have gone before and to make things better for those who will follow. She is a careful custodian and representative of her sector. We are honoured to have her alongside us at York Minster. The Plowden Medal is a tremendous accolade for Sarah.”
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