On Sunday I will set off on a tour of different museums and locations in the States and Germany to see other Boppard stained glass windows. I will visit the Detroit Museum of Art, Ochre Court and Seaview Terrace in Newport (Rhode Island), the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York and the Schnuetgen Museum in Cologne. All of them have panels from Boppard that come from the same windows as the ones we have at the Burrell.
I am focussing on the Tree of Jesse Window and the 10 Commandments Window.
The Window with Standing figures (St. Cunibert and Bishop Saint) has one associated panel at the Fine Arts Museum in San Francisco and ideally I would have liked to see that as well but as a conservator I should also consider the environment – I have decided that this additional trip will cost me too many air miles!
The aim is to explore the details about how our windows differ, and in what ways they are the same, as the windows in these other locations and collections. Up to 1893, when they were sold at the Spitzer auction in Paris, they shared the same history and were kept in the same locations. The Burrell glass was then sent to the US along with other panels bought by Hearst and the windows remained together (probably at a warehouse in New York) until 1938/39, when some of the glass was sold to the Metropolitan and other panels were sold to William Burrell.
By comparing these windows, we should be able to work out what happened after 1939 and we will also be able to confirm all of the interventions that were carried out before 1939.
The glass at Detroit, Ochre Court & Seaview Terrace in Newport as well as the panels now in the Schnuetgen Museum in Cologne all have a very different – and varied – history since 1893 and the comparison with them will help identify restorations that predate 1893 and also make more clear what interventions were added after that date.
On my trip abroad I will study and compare original paint, over-painting and retouching, backpainting, lead condition, corrosion, glass repairs, replacements and restorations. I will also look at how the other Boppard panels have been restored and conserved in their more recent history.