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Research and Conservation of the 15th-century Stained Glass Windows from the Carmelite Church at Boppard-on-Rhine

The Burrell Collection contains one of the most important museum collections of medieval stained glass anywhere in the world. One of its most significant parts is the group of three large medieval windows that came from the Carmelite Church at Boppard-on-Rhine.

Sir William Burrell acquired these windows in 1938/39 from the collections of the American tycoons William Randolph Hearst and Robert Goelet.

The original glazing scheme at Boppard was vast and the story of the removal of the windows from the church has fascinated researchers for a long time. What is truly unique is that much of the glass has survived and is now dispersed in various institutions and private collections across Europe and the United States.

The Boppard windows held at the Burrell consist of 34 panels with about 14m² of stained, painted and leaded glass. They have been on continuous display since 1983 when the Burrell Collection opened and have not had any conservation treatment in the intervening years.

A generous grant from the Clothworkers’ Foundation has enabled us to embark on a 2 year conservation and research project on these important windows.

This will provide an exciting and rare opportunity to see the painted details up close and learn more about how the panels were made.

Two conservators will be working on this project: Marie-Louise Stumpff, Senior Conservator and Megan Stacey, Assistant Conservator. We will study and document the condition of each panel and try to find out as much as possible about the restoration history of the windows. Our aim is to understand exactly what parts of the windows are original and what areas were restored and – if possible – when this work was done and by whom. We will also develop a conservation treatment plan for the windows and aim to carry out as much of the required work in the next two years as possible. We will be giving regular updates of our progress as the project develops.

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