Stained-Glass Conservators Appointed For Divine Beauty Project

14 March 2023

Birmingham Cathedral has appointed independent conservation centre, Holy Well Glass, to complete significant restoration work on their four stained-glass windows.

Around 3000 hours of work will be involved in the Divine Beauty conservation phase, the majority of which will be completed on-site. This work will include removing a substantial build-up of debris and repairing areas of cracking, failed leading and paint loss.

The windows were designed by Pre-Raphaelite artist Edward Burne-Jones and made by William Morris. They are considered some of the most acclaimed stained-glass in the world, depicting four scenes from the life of Christ.

Scaffolding will be erected after Easter and will remain in place until later this year, providing an opportunity for visitors to see this work up close from a special viewing platform. Some portions of stained-glass will be removed for cleaning and repairs to take place, but some elements of this will also be completed within the cathedral for the public to see first-hand.

A range of exciting events are also planned at Birmingham Cathedral between May and September, to enable visitors to learn about the windows, their significance, and their heritage. This includes guided tours, meet the conservator workshops and the culmination of the Divine Beauty Children’s Poetry Festival. A full programme of events will be made available on Birmingham Cathedral’s website as these are confirmed.

In January, 3000 people attended the immersive light and sound experience, Divine Beauty at Night by Luxmuralis, which brought the windows and their history to life in a unique way.

Anna Pitt, CEO at Birmingham Cathedral said: “This project has been in conception since 2014, so being able to finally start the physical conservation work is an exciting milestone. Our hope is that by Christmas, our windows will be bright, clean and preserved safely for future generations to enjoy. Holy Well Glass bring incredible expertise to undertake this historic work, and we are looking forward to working with the team over the coming months”.

Jack Clare, Director at Holy Well Glass, said: “We count ourselves fortunate to work at many of the great cathedrals and churches in the UK, but this project is especially exciting for the team, conserving and restoring what is undoubtedly Edward Burne-Jones’ master work. The engagement with the community and their great pride in the cathedral, and these superb windows will be a great experience for our conservators”.

Holy Well Glass will start by removing of the protective grills on the outside of the cathedral. Glass conservation, stone cleaning, masonry repairs and the construction of new protection measures will then be undertaken.

Divine Beauty is generously supported by National Lottery players, via The National Lottery Heritage Fund.