Friends of Chesterfield Parish Church

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Stained Glass Studio Visit - May 2011

The Transfiguration window in the South Transept of the church is currently undergoing repair and renovation.  This work includes cleaning and restoration of the stained glass, which was found to be both dirty and badly cracked. We are fortunate that the restoration work is being carried out by a local craftsman, Michael Stokes, at Wellow, and 9 Friends made a visit to the Manor Barn Studio at Wellow, on 4th May and were rewarded with a fascinating insight into the world of stained glass.

The stained glass artist Michael Stokes regaled members with an intriguing account of the conservation and restoration of ecclesiastical glass.

The visit was made all the more interesting as members were able to see, literally on the workbench, the ‘Transfiguration’ window. We were able to appreciate the entire process of restoration of this window from beginning to end.

Both lead and glass of the 140-year-old window were indeed in a sorry state from a combination of weather, heat from the 1961 fire and pitting caused by the 1973 sand-blasting of the church exterior. It was intriguing to appreciate the grime which had accumulated on such a window, much more so on the inside than outside face.

Stained Glass Studio Visit Before-colours dirty and lifeless
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Stained Glass Studio Visit
After-colours clear and vibrant

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To see the restored panels against a ‘light box’ background was a revelation indeed, cherubims, living faces and even a ‘missing thumb’ duly replaced, were brought into true relief.

The work undertaken was mind-bogglingly precise, no detail was omitted,  every fragment of glass carefully preserved and each action meticulously recorded. In all, approaching 1000 hours would be spent restoring this particular window.

Members expressed enormous appreciation. It was a real pleasure to be in the presence of a professional thoroughly enjoying and expressing his artistry.

Thank you Michael for a memorable evening.

Tony Hallam

Stained Glass Studio Visit
Tracery glazing-lead and glass separated ready for cleaning
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