RESTORATION OF THE GOOD SHEPHERD WINDOW
I was honored to have been chosen to restore the Good Shepherd window located in Saint James' Church, in Danbury, CT. This was a three month restoration and conservation project that required considerable cleaning, consolidation and some replacement of the painted glass.
The artist who created this stained glass window is unknown, but the remarkable artistry and delicate detailing in Christ's face was truly amazing to uncover. The cleaning of this beautiful window took over two weeks of slow and careful removal of one hundred and forty years worth of dirt, paint, and varnish. Some of the varnish on this window actually acted to preserve the fragile paint on certain areas of the face and drapery.
Pictured below is Christ's face prior to cleaning and half way through the cleaning process. In the photograph on the left it is possible to see some of the layers of cold paint and varnish that had been applied over the years. It is possible to also see some of that paint peeling away from the surface of the glass especially the areas of the eyes, nose, and forehead. In the photo on the right half of the face has been cleaned to reveal the subtle beauty of not only of the head of Christ, but also that of the lamb propped on his shoulder. Also revealed is the considerable deterioration of the painted surface of the glass on the nimbus that surrounds Christ's head.
The cleaning of the glass was accomplished by slowly dissolving the various layers of paint and varnish and carefully scrubbing the painted surface with cotton swabs. All of the glass in this window was treated this way prior to the window being re-leaded.
In addition to the cleaning of Christ's face, certain areas of the face such as the eyes and hair were painted over with light stable paints and the whole surface was coated with conservation epoxy. The epoxy is specially formulated for use with glass and will protect the painted surface of the glass from further deterioration. As a last step for the conservation of the face, a thin piece of glass was painted, silver stained, and plated over the original piece.
Also necessary was the repainting of Christ's hands. The glass paint was so deteriorated that the hands needed to be repainted to match the style of the original hands and the face. There was enough indication of trace lines and shading to make the duplication of these important features possible.
The Restored Face of TheGood Shepherd Window
© William Murray Studios,2004