YGT conserve windows at Trinity College, Oxford

25th May 2016

After undergoing a year-long restoration programme, Trinity College Chapel, Oxford has now been revived and re-opened.  Towards the end of 2015, York Glaziers Trust carried out conservation work on the Chapel windows, and on 11th May, those who worked on the project were kindly invited to the College for a service in the Chapel and a celebratory dinner in Hall. Nick Teed, Laura Tempest, Nancy Georgi and Merlyn Griffiths attended the event, where they were able to see the completed Chapel and its conserved windows for the first time, without the scaffolding that previously filled the space.

Seven of the Chapel's eight windows date to 1885-6, and were manufactured by James Powell and Sons (Later known as Whitefriars Glass). These windows each contain a standing figure echoing those found in windows of an earlier scheme, and relating to the history and devotion of the College. When the team began work in October 2015, the eighth window opening contained plain leaded lights, but had previously been filled with a window dating to the 1860’s and honouring Trinity Fellow Isaac Williams (d. 1865). This window had been removed in 1947, but was never reinstated. These panels had been made by the Königliche Glasmalereianstalt (The Royal Bavarian Stained Glass Establishment) in Munich, the most influential workshop for stained glass in central Europe during the 19th century, and so were incredibly significant. As part of the major restoration project, the College decided that the Isaac Williams window should be reinstalled into its original opening, and so the glass was brought back to York where it was meticulously conserved during the summer of 2015.

For three months in the autumn of the same year, Laura Tempest led a team in conserving the seven Powell’s windows in situ. The exposure of the windows to many years of candle burning and a gas heating system had resulted in a thick layer of grime on the surfaces of the windows. Months of careful cleaning revealed the unblemished glass below, and for the first time in many years it became possible to see through the windows again.

A visit to the Chapel is highly encouraged, as not only is it now possible to view the Powell’s windows in all of their glory, but the Isaac Williams window can be viewed in its original position for the first time in over sixty years. The plasterwork, paintings and Grinling Gibbons carvings have also been lovingly restored, and together the Chapel comes alive once again.

This summer, the College is open daily between 10:00-12:00, 14:00-18:00 (Closed for lunch between 12:00-14:00)

More information on visiting can be found on the Trinity website.


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