Visitors to the Abbey Museum may have noticed a stained glass window that was once above the main door has been removed. I can assure you that this is not permanent but just part of the ongoing conservation program of our stained glass windows. This panel depicts a crowned figure holding a covered cup in one hand and a sceptre in the other. These attributes indicate that it is a king although the identity of the figure was unknown; the catalogue simply records it as “The Donor King” . However, during conservation of the window new evidence has come to light which is very exciting. Research has revealed that it was probably part of a much larger window depicting the three Magi (the Three Wise Men or Kings as they are also known) from the Biblical story of the Nativity of Christ. The window has been badly damaged and conserved a number of times during its history, and sadly the quality of the later work does no justice to the exquisite quality of the original window. Not only is …
Invited guests – donors who had supported the program – gathered in the Abbey Church in early December to help celebrate the conclusion of a ten year project of conservation of the stained glass windows in the Church.
Stained Glass Thank You
Director of the Abbey Museum, Edith Cuffe OAM, explained the obstacles which had to be overcome in order for the conservation project to be undertaken, not least of which was the substantial fundraising effort required. The presentation was a ‘thank-you’ and acknowledgement of those who donated or assisted in other ways to raise the funds necessary for the conservation work to take place. Edith introduced guests to Gerry Cummins and Jill Stehn, the conservators who undertook this mammoth task.
Conservator’s stained glass presentation
Gerry’s presentation included a power-point showing before and after photographs of each window as it was subject to the conservator’s attention. He told how the removal of some windows was made very difficult because of the age of the glass and fragility of the …
The Abbey Church is a very special place, not least because its beautiful stained glass windows. The windows are a large and significant collection dating from the 14th to the 20th century. Some of the most famous are those consisting of fragments originally from Winchester Cathedral’s Lady Chapel.
One of the problems associated with items of such a venerable age is the need for conservation and repair. In 2004 leading glass conservators Gerry Cummins and Jill Stehn of Eumundi examined the stained glass collection and compiled an inventory of the conservation requirements and the cost involved. This amounted to a substantial sum and Museum staff set about finding means of raising the necessary funds.
Fundraising for stained glass conservation
Conservation of individual windows was undertaken as funds become available; through donations and various fundraising efforts. The Abbey Museum Friends undertook the task of raising the funds required specifically for the Winchester Windows. From 2009 to 2012 we held “Walk for Winchester” where participants were sponsored to complete a ‘pilgrimage’ from Sylvan Beach on Bribie Island to the …
Earlier this month, a convoy of cars with Abbey staff made its way to visit our most recent stained glass windows conservation project at the Master Craftsman’s workshop in Buderim. Stained glass artists, Gerry Cummins and Jill Stehn, have been our conservators of choice for over ten years. Their original artworks can be found in many Australian churches and buildings as well as examples of their conservation projects.
We were welcomed at the door with huge grins of delight. Greetings over, we made our way into their workshop. This is a remarkable large room filled with long light boxes set in rows and forming aisles between. On those boxes lay stained glass windows at various stages of development or repair.
Creating a Stained Glass window
Gerry took us through the wonders of creating a stained glass window. It is always an intense pleasure to watch someone who seriously knows what they are doing, making it all look so very easy. The creation of any artwork begins with an idea. The application of pencil to paper is the first step …
There is no better way to commence celebrating Christmas than to attend an evening of wonderful ancient chants sung by the Brisbane choir, Schola Cantorum. Hallelujah! It was also the ideal way to welcome the newly conserved and reconfigured Winchester Cathedral stained glass windows back to their rightful place in the Abbey Church. After missing the group last year, an appreciative audience was delighted to have Advent ushered in with the unsurpassed sounds of the Gregorian Chants. Performed by a small but dedicated group, Schola Cantorum nevertheless filled the Abbey Church with their music for almost an hour.
More Celebrating with Medieval Christmas Fayre
Following the performance in the Church, chanters and audience moved to the Abbey Hall where tables laden with medieval Christmas themed supper awaited. Whilst partaking of this appetising repast, chanters and audience were able to meet and mingle sharing their enjoyment of the evening.
Appetites appeased, the evening was rounded out with a further session of Christmas carols, led by Schola Cantorum but with audience members invited to join …
For one night only, the Abbey Museum will be hosting an evening of Medieval Christmas and Advent Gregorian Chant, presented by Schola Cantorum, Brisbane’s leading Gregorian Chant Choir. We’re very excited to be welcoming Schola Cantorum back after a brief absence.
From 6:30 pm until 9:00pm on the night of Saturday, 29th November, the sound of ancient chants will be heard drifting from the beautiful, stained glass windows of the Abbey Church. The chant recital will be followed by a light supper of medieval delicacies in the Abbey Hall.
The full menu for this supper is as follows:
Fruit mince pies, mushroom pastries, tuna pasties, plum tarts with cream, apple tarts, gingerbread, quiche, stuffed eggs, rum balls, gluten free date slice, small cakes, meatballs, and shortbread.
Dried apples, dried apricots, prunes, salted cashews, dates, celery, carrot sticks, grapes, and cheese.
Wine, apple juice, orange juice, apple and black …
I love stained glass windows… the colour, the details, the vibrancy of the stories are simply inspiring. The stained glass windows in the Abbey Museum collection are some of my favourite objects. That is why I was so excited to take a group of our staff and volunteers to the studio of leading conservators Gerry Cummins and Jill Stehn near Eumundi who are currently undertaking conservation of three of our windows which are usually housed in the Abbey Church.
What an amazing opportunity to see and hear not only how these ancient windows are conserved, but also the traditional method of manufacture, especially in the Middle Ages.
On welcoming us to their studio, which is like an Aladdin’s cave of coloured glass, paints, brushes and colouring pencils, Gerry talked about the difference between leadlight windows and stained glass. They are currently creating an amazing leadlight window to be installed in the large Baptistry in St Monica’s Cathedral in Cairns. Leadlight windows, I learnt, are made of pieces of coloured glass which are joined together with lead strips …
I recently explained to my husband, having spent a tidy sum on getting my hair done, that it costs more to stay beautiful as you get older. And I promptly reminded him that as the famous TV ad slogan stated ‘we’re worth it!’. Like a lot of us folk in museums near Brisbane, the collection of Medieval Stained Glass at the Abbey Museum isn’t getting any younger either!
The Abbey Church
You might recall the Medieval Stained Glass post we presented recently. It spoke about the Abbey church and the Gregorian Chanting highlight of our Abbey Medieval Festival. The essential charisma of the extraordinary beauty of the stained glass in the Abbey Church can also be experienced during the knighting ceremony prior to the Medieval festival. this magical ambiance with candlelight, chanting, costumes and spiritual peace combine to facilitate a unique transformation into life in medieval times. This unique experience takes place every year before Christmas.
However, on a practical level, …