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Introduction and Objectives

Cologne Cathedral, Germany
© Dombauverwaltung Köln

Stained glass windows reflect the glory of more than 800 years of common European history. The art of stained glass is a genuine European phenomenon that has always held a fascinating attraction for people. Conservation of stained glass with natural and synthetic polymers as surface coatings, paint consolidants and adhesives has been performed for more than 50 years to preserve the objects in their integrity and in their original architectural surrounding.

Conservator investigating a panel, Studio in Canterbury Cathedral, U.K.
© Dean & Chapter of Canterbury

Motivation
This project responds to the urgent need expressed by scientists and conservators dealing with stained glass to carry out a sustainable assessment of treatments, their reversibility and re-treatability. Moreover, new and innovative conservation materials and measures will be introduced and performed.

Objects
The pilot objects have been chosen from different European countries, providing different restoration histories and including both medieval windows as well as objects from the 19th /20th centurys.

Stained Glass Workshop, Cologne Cathedral,Germany
© Dombauverwaltung Köln
Medieval panel with outdoor coating for surface protection, Bourges
© Laboratoire de Recherche des Monuments Historiques
Laminar glossy paint consolidation, Cologne Cathedral, Germany
© Dombauverwaltung Köln
Yellowing of laminar glue, double plating, Berne, Switzerland
© Vitrocentre Romont
Yellowing of adhesive glue, Krakow, Poland
© Academy of Fine Arts, Krakow

Main Objectives

  • to evaluate a representative range of conservation materials on selected original objects after natural weathering
  • to optimize and apply advanced non-destructive analytical methods and molecular biological tools for understanding long-term effects of conservation treatments and bio-deterioration of applied materials
  • to investigate the degree of reversibility of ancient materials related to a specific risk assessment
  • to propose remediation strategies based on treatments and retreatability tests with modern materials
  • to improve preservation strategies by introducing innovative conservation materials based on nano-porous glass phases, derived from colloidal silica sols and stabilized by glass fibre components (glass-in-glass consolidants)

Partners
The CONSTGLASS consortium consists of 11 organizations from different European countries with different backgrounds: research providers, object owners, local authorities, universities and private companies.

The project is supported by the European Commission

A project supported by the European Commission under the 6th Framework Programme
Priority 8.1: Policy-oriented research Area 8.1.B.3.6: The protection of cultural heritage and associated conservation strategies
Contract No. 044339
Duration: June 2007 - May 2010