Tuesday, 30 June 2009

Window in a Listed Building, 2

Now that the window is in the studio, a really good assessment can be made. This is the bottom panel with the missing portrait. Among the other jobs on this window is to research and create an image of a woman in period costume facing the male figure.

This image shows the male figure in transmitted light. You can see from this image how corroded the tracing lines have become. The shading is better preserved. This makes it obvious that the image was created using tracing and shading paints, a few enamels, and stain.

This image shows the male figure in reflected light. This makes clear not only how dirty the panels is, but also how the paint corrosion has mace the tracing lines pale rather than strong and dark. This is a characteristic of the painting done in Glasgow at the time. There was a need to produce stained glass windows quickly to meet the demand. So - it is speculated - the practice of adding more borax to the paint mix was brought from the Morris studios to Scottish practice.

By the turn of the century this problem had been recognised and many efforts were made to find a solution. Oscar Patterson even went so far as to avoid using paint whenever possible. He created fine images by etching and grinding the surfaces. The results are often difficult to distinguish from painted images.

This image again shows the dirt encrusted surfaces. In this case the inside of the window shows a build up of dirt on an apparently sound leading structure.

However, much of the panel is in need of re-leading as a result of damage over the years. There have been low cost repairs - inserting clear pieces of glass in various places around the window, for example. There are a number of breaks on the borders, and throughout the panels.

The superficially sound lead is extremely soft, with very thin inner and outer leaves. There are a number of broken solder joints, and the lead light cement is failing in places.

The decision has been taken that the whole will have to be re-leaded to ensure that the window lasts for another century and a half.

The previous entries in this series can be found at:

Monday, 29 June 2009

Window in a Listed Building, 1

Months and months ago, estimates were given on the restoration of a large stair window in a building dating from the third quarter of the 19th century.

At the time of the estimate, I did not know the building was a grade A listed building. This means that the internal and external features are protected. Although the developer had dealt with a number of listed building consents, nothing had been done about the window. Thus, I had to put in a planning application through the developer.

The initial investigations were not encouraging. Previously, all that has been required is to get the approval of Glasgow City-Wide Heritage Trust and work could begin. Now, I was told planning consent has to be given to ensure - among other things - that I did not abscond with the window. What an insult to my integrity! I swallowed my pride and made the application, indicating the method I intended to use to preserve what was left and restore the rest to a functioning window. I submitted this in early January.

In April my wife who is on an architectural amenity society that covers the area, told me that my name was on a planning application which she had to review. Finally, approval was given at the beginning of June. Now, of course, everything is a rush. The buyer wants to move in, but not until all the work is done. Really, all that needs to be done is the window. No pressure then.

I intend to follow this project through with descriptions of what was done to preserve and restor the window.

The window has been protected for a number of years by a fibreglass sheet screwed to the outsied of the opening. This has provided the window and interior of the building from the weather. It has done a good job of protecting the remaining glass from further impact damage. It also has lead to a lot of dirt adhearing to the outside of the glass.

This photo shows the opening with the fibreglass removed from the outside (there still is a sheet on the inside of the round head of the window). The broken pieces hanging from the came are taped to keep them in place while removing the panels and to keep the workers from being cut on the points and edges of the broken glass.

This photo shows the opeining with all the glass and glazing bars removed. The window was constructed in four panels. The largest panel - about one third of the window - is the one with the roundell with the portrait in it.

I omitted to take a picture of the window as we left it with the fibreglass sheet again screwed to the framework. It is very ugly.

Saturday, 27 June 2009

Royal Terrace

This is a great address isn't it? I just recently helped to install this entryway by Brian Waugh. This is a total height of more than 3 metres. Brian presents a night scene - a very unusual theme for any entry. But as an entry for a day spa, it has the appropriate calmness.

Brian is in the process of developing a website and when completed will be able to show much more of his painting and stained glass works.

Thursday, 25 June 2009


I was asked a few months ago to create a side light. After discussions it was decided that it should be an image that reflected some aspects of the Tuscany area of Italy. It was also requested that light colours be used to allow lots of light to continue to come into the hallway. Other requirements were for fields of sunflowers and poppies along with a Tuscan style house with smoke coming from the chimney.

This was a difficult set of requirements to fill. First, the opening was a little over 12 inches wide and 66 inches tall. It also is to be placed in a double glazed unit for installation. This was an advantage as the piece would not require glazing bars to stabilise it, even though turning the panel during construction would still be difficult.

The Internet is so useful in these kinds of situations. I have never been in Tuscany, but I could look at pictures of Tuscany and get ideas of the countryside without leaving my chair. This meant that I could use a composite of images to create my own interpretation. Estate agents in Tuscany have taken to promoting houses for sale over the Internet and in English. This allowed me to get an idea of country houses in the area and create a terracotta roofed house for the clients.

The poppy fields were created by etching away the red glass flashed on a green base. You can see these at the bottom right and two thirds up on the right. The fields of sunflowers were created by using brown and green paints on a yellow glass. The trees lining the road were also painted to give some idea of the variegation of the tree foliage.

The whole is, of course, graphic rather than realistic. It does convey the hilly nature of the terrain and the brightness of the countryside.

This is now in the glaziers shop being put into a double glazing unit and will then be installed in the house in Dunoon.

Tuesday, 23 June 2009


After a long absence from the blog, I return. It is not that I have been doing nothing, just that there is lots to do in the rest of my life too. Family changes, new caravan, visiting other studios during the Spring Fling, etc.

But things have been happening in the studio too. Last winter I was asked to consider doing a ship for a person who has recently celebrated his 80th birthday. He was part of the RNVR just at the beginning of the Second World War. Both he and his wife felt a sailing ship would be a suitable piece for their house.

Of course he did not go to war in a ship like this, but felt this kind of ship gives a notion of the freedom within the constraints of the sea that you can get in any vessel.

This was completed with deep sand carving, area etching and shading. It is fixed to a mahogany base and will be screwed to the sill.