The unique beauty of stained glass art has transfixed observers for centuries. Originating in times when most buildings were constructed for purely functional rather than decorative reasons, and most people had scarcely enough money for the necessities if life, these ornate and extravagant works continue to inspire and fascinate today. Ancient stained glass windows are some of the finest relics of their eras still in existence, and it’s no wonder there is a great deal of enthusiasm to preserve these wonderful treasures. Joe Goodwin of York is a stained glass restoration expert, who has worked on preserving and restoring some of the most valuable examples of this unique art form.
European stained glass art became popular in the middle ages, and as with most skills and art forms of the era was appropriated by the church. In any settlement of the time, from the smallest village to a large city, the church would typically be the grandest and most decorated building in the area. Glass had been used as windows since Roman times, but there was still no manufacturing process which could produce large sheets of the material of uniform thickness. Therefore windows tended to be small in area (in most dwellings and secular buildings), or made from many small panes of glass joined together (in the homes of the wealthy and in churches). Cutting the material to form these mosaic arrangements soon became an art form, and when colour was added it was possible to produce striking and beautiful pictures and patterns. When viewed from a darkened interior, it’s easy to understand how observers came to link these art works with spiritual experiences. York Minster is home to the largest single collection of medieval glass in Europe, and it was here that Joe Goodwin learned many of his stained glass restoration techniques.
In times when few common people could read, ecclesiastic stained glass artwork was used to educate and edify, like a modern storyboard or comic strip. Many old churches have window art which tells a Bible story or emphasises a doctrinal point. The restoration of the stained glass windows in York churches must be consistent across the whole series of panes to preserve the continuity. That’s why it’s important to have stained glass restoration carried out by a York based specialist like Joe Goodwin. The study of stained glass includes not just the techniques used in its creation, but also its cultural and historical significance.
These days, you are just as likely to find stained glass artwork in an office, shopping centre or home as in a church. This form of art is used not only in windows, but also in lamps, ornaments, and many other objects. It’s good to know professional stained glass restoration services are available in the York area, to keep your treasured works of art looking their best and maintain their value. Call Joe Goodwin of York for a quote on any stained glass restoration project, or check out his handiwork on the website.