Conserved stained glass, Wilton, England

The Prodigal Son

The Prodigal Son

When I worked in England we were privileged to get our hands on some exceptional glass. In this case it came from Wilton, near Salisbury. The glass originally came from St. Denis near Paris, reputed to be the first Gothic building started in 1140. It was taken to England during the French Revolution and installed in Wilton where it still is today. The image is of the return of the prodigal son. I often wonder what it would have been like for those parishioners in the days before the printing press, I suppose stained glass was the advertising of the day! I don’t think the peasants would have had much access to art. If anyone has more information on this I would be interested to hear.

The brown that is visible on the faces is corrosion of the glass. That glass is approximately 860 years old and for some time the glass has been crystalizing and reverting back to sand. Sometimes the glass that is exposed becomes paper thin while the glass under the lead is still of a relatively normal thickness. In this case the glass was in excellent condition considering its age and it was mostly the flesh coloured glass that had corroded.

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