After the windows were removed for conservation in 2008, the final panel of the Great East Window of York Minster has now been installed, concluding one of the largest and most significant conservation programmes of recent decades in Europe. The fifteenth-century window is regarded as a monumental medieval masterpiece, and is the work of renowned medieval artist John Thornton. Conservation of the window began in 2011, supported by a multi-disciplinary advisory group comprising of art historians, conservation specialists, and representatives of the York Minster Chapter and the York Minster Fund. The unrelenting high-quality of the conservation work also provided opportunities to innovate. The York Glaziers Trust pioneered the use of Restauro UV glass, handmade by Lamberts, for the outer protective glazing, ensuring that the light-sensitive conservation materials will be fully protected. The project generated massive public interest, and has been an exciting vehicle for training and knowledge transfer. As well as regular tours of the studio, where visitors could see conservation in action, 'The Orb', a consciously modern structure installed in the Lady Chapel, provided an exhibition space in which to display (on a rotating basis) newly conserved panels. This allowed visitors to the Minster a once in a lifetime chance to view the panels at close-quarters, transforming public perception of the craft and its significance. Several colour-illustrated, commercially successful books have also been produced that have focussed specifically on the Minster's windows.
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