Experts at York Glaziers Trust worked alongside York Minster’s Stoneyard to conserve and restore the Great East Window, which is the largest expanse of medieval stained glass in Britain.
The window is the masterpiece of Coventry glazier John Thornton and was commissioned in 1405, taking three years to complete, at a cost of £56 to York Minster's Chapter, according to information gleaned from 17th century copies of the medieval contract.
In total, 311 stained glass panels were removed from the 600-year-old window in 2008, which is the size of a tennis court, and have been painstakingly restored at the trust’s studios, with each panel taking between 400 and 600 hours of work.
In 2016, phase one of this part of the project was completed with 157 panels being returned to the Great East Window. York Glaziers Trust is now working on the remaining 154 stained glass panels, which are due to be returned to the window in 2018.
The window is a work of immense ambition, depicting the beginning and end of all things, from the creation of the world as described in the book of Genesis, to the events that will presage the end of the world and the second coming of Christ as told in the visionary Book of Revelation, known in the Middle Ages as the Apocalypse.
As part of the York Minster Revealed project, the Apocalypse scenes and sections of the Tracery from this extraordinary window were studied, conserved and returned with revolutionary protective UV glazing that will secure its future for many generations to come. York Minster is the first building in the country to use the revolutionary technology.
See the video below (coming soon) as the very last panel from phase one is installed.