Latest Work in York Minster and Discovery of New Thornton Window

June 2019

 

Several of the York Glaziers Trust's site teams have been busy working on some outstanding medieval windows at York Minster. Glaziers have removed window s9, dating to c.1415 and depicting the Holy Kindred, from the south choir aisle. This window shares very strong stylistic similarities with the workshop of celebrated medieval glass-painter John Thornton (fl. 1405-33), author of the Great East window, and one of the most famous names in glass painting of the period. This is an exciting new discovery, following on chronologically from Thornton's team's probable work on the St William window (n7) in c.1414. Thornton's international gothic style is characterised by very distinctive modelling of facial features and hair. The team at YGT are delighted to be working once again on a Thornton composition, after having had vast experience conserving his other great works - Great East Window and St William window - during the last decades.

Window s9 illustrates scenes from Christ's genealogy, focusing on St Anne, her husband Joachim of Nazareth, and their children and grandchildren. After having been carefully removed from the Minster, this window will be undergoing conservation in our workshop before being returned to the Minster within an internally ventilated protective glazing system. This allows the stained glass to remain in situ, as it provides a museum-like environment for the fragile stained glass. The removal of this window for conservation permits high-definition photography of the window, as well as detailed documentation to take place, which will be invaluable to any future scholarship. 

 

The Holy Kindred, window s9, south aisle, eastern arm, York Minster

At the same time, the c.1310 Martyrdom Window (n26) in the Minster's north nave aisle, is now being reinstated having undergone conservation. Window n26, depicts the martyrdoms of Sts Lawrence, Denis, Vincent, Stephen, Edmund, Peter and Paul. A donor figure in the lower register is accompanied by an inscription requesting prayers for Vincent. The arms of Mowbray and Clare adorn the borders. This window has undergone conservation in the workshop, and has now been reinstated with the benefit of internally ventilated protective glazing. 

Another Minster window currently undergoing treatment by the Trust is choir clerestory window S9. This window contains several shields, such as those of Skirlaw and Langley, as well as figures such as popes, kings and archbishops. As well as the views of the outstanding stained glass, the conservators are fortunate to be able to enjoy close quarters views of stone carvings (such as the cheeky chap below), and sweeping views of the bustling city. 

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