Man in overalls and a hat hat inspecting a stained glass window

Restoring Angels

The Conservation of the Burne-Jones window

The Burne-Jones Window

The Burne-Jones window, located in the South Quire Aisle, is a stained-glass window of great historical and artistic significance. It dates back to 1879 and features designs by the eminent Pre-Raphaelite artists Sir Edward Burne-Jones and William Morris.

However, the ravages of time, water ingress, and deterioration of painted details have led to the urgent need for restoration. This page delves into the rich history of the Burne-Jones Window, outlines the challenges it faces, introduces the dedicated team at Salisbury Cathedral’s glazing department and explores what you can do to help us as we work to restore this treasured window.

About the Burne-Jones Window

Commissioned to commemorate Captain George Eyre Townsend RA, the window was intended to depict the Order of Angels. The two windows at Salisbury Cathedral illustrate ‘Angeli Ministrantes’ and ‘Angeli Laudantes’ (Ministering and Praising Angels). Interestingly, similar designs were used not only for stained glass but also for tapestries and other artworks, showcasing the versatility of Burne-Jones’ creations.

Why Restoration is Necessary

Years of exposure to the elements, particularly condensation, have taken a toll on the Burne-Jones Window. Recent close inspections have unveiled the true extent of the deterioration. The painted details, especially the figurative elements of the window, have significantly deteriorated. The lead work shows signs of cracking, and the unique glazing exacerbates the challenges. We urgently need to restore the window to preserve its historical and artistic value and prevent further deterioration.

The Cathedral’s Glazing Department

The restoration of the Burne-Jones Window will be undertaken by Salisbury Cathedral’s skilled glazing department. Comprising experts in stained glass conservation, the team operates in an on-site glazing workshop where they undertake a range of tasks, from the conservation of medieval to contemporary stained glass.

Beyond the Cathedral, they extend their skills to other churches and private residences. Their proficiency in stained glass conservation includes conservation cleaning, isothermal glazing, environmental monitoring, glass painting, re-leading, producing lead light glazing and preparing condition reports.

Heading the team is Sam Kelly, the Head Glazier, whose impressive depth of knowledge about Salisbury Cathedral’s glasswork stems from apprenticing at the Cathedral and refining his craft over forty years. Sam holds an accreditation from ICON and is an associate member of the British Society of Master Glass painters. His expertise plays a crucial role in overseeing the care and conservation of the Cathedral’s stained glass windows.

How the Window Will Be Restored

Restoring the Burne-Jones Window involves a meticulous process. First, a detailed cleaning and documentation phase captures its true condition. Temporary measures address water ingress for stability during restoration and careful lead work restoration prevents further deterioration. Original chalk drawings will guide the delicate enhancement of missing painted details. Our glazing team will introduce protective glazing and oak frames to shield the window against future deterioration. Our team will also ensure the long-term preservation of the window through regular checks so this historical masterpiece remains a testament to its original makers for generations.

How you can Support Salisbury Cathedral

The ambitious restoration of the Burne-Jones Window comes with a significant cost, totalling nearly £120,000. Your support is crucial in preserving this historic treasure for future generations. Please consider making a donation to contribute to our restoration work. Every contribution, no matter the size, plays a vital role in ensuring the Burne-Jones Window continues to inspire and captivate visitors to Salisbury Cathedral. Thank you.

Donate Today

This project is kindly supported by:

The Dulverton Trust
Benefact Trust
Society of Antiquaries of London
St Andrew’s Conservation Trust
Idlewild Trust
Stuart Heath Charitable Settlement
Pilgrim Trust