So what is the difference between conservation and restoration? Conservation involves work that stabilises the object to minimise deterioration and try to ensure the object is available for future generations to enjoy. Restoration involves work that helps to return the object more towards its original condition so people can understand and appreciate it better.
For example, the magnificent Warwick Vase at the Burrell is a late 18th century restoration incorporating the original 2nd century Roman pieces. The Warwick Vase is old enough to be an antiquity in its own right now, but if we dug up those pieces nowadays we would probably not perform such a reconstruction. The Tang dynasty Chinese horse was originally in many pieces and was restored to the condition it is in now before Sir William Burrell bought it. This kind of restoration would also be carried out today.
As the Boppard Conservation Project progresses the big question of just how much restoration work should be done will be high on Marie’s mind.
Marie Stumpff is a Senior Conservator for Glasgow Museums with a specialism of stained glass. She was awarded the Fellowship by the Clothworkers and she will be the main conservator for the project.
Megan Stacey has been appointed as Junior Fellow and Assistant Conservator for the duration of the project to work with Marie on the Boppard windows and to gain valuable experience working as stained glass conservator for the Museum service.
This 2-year conservation research project is funded by a generous grant from the Clothworkers’ Foundation.
It consists broadly of two stages.
Year one will involve a careful study of the windows to determine their condition in detail. Past restoration work will be recorded as well as the condition of all the components that make up a stained glass window such as the glass, vitreous paint, lead and putty.
In year two of the project the conservators will concentrate on cleaning the stained glass and making it safe for future display.