The Great East Window in York Minster is the largest single area of medieval stained glass in the world, and its refurbishment has finally been completed. York Minster, or the Cathedral and Metropolitical Church of Saint Peter in York, is one of the largest gothic cathedrals in Northern Europe, so it is only fitting that it should have a spectacular expanse of beautifully crafted stained glass.
The restoration of the Great East Window took more than 92,000 hours of work; simply cementing the final piece of this magnificent, ecclesiastical jigsaw into place took around two hours. The window, which was created in the 15th century, is about the size of a tennis court.
York Minster is an incredible building and attracts many thousands of visitors each year; however, its ancient masonry is in danger of erosion from acid rain. The Telegraph featured an article on the methods used to protect it from the elements, which include coating the walls in olive oil.
The Great East Window was commissioned in 1405 to tell the story of Christianity from Genesis through to Christ’s Second Coming. Restoring the window started in 2005 and cost £11.5m. Scaffolding was erected so that stonemasons could examine the state of the glass and the surrounding masonry. The conservation project started after it was discovered that centuries of weather had eroded the Minster’s masonry to the extent that the window had started bowing. As a final touch, the restored window will receive glazing to protect it from the elements, with all the other windows in the cathedral also receiving this protective glazing.
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The Great East Window is regarded as a masterpiece of stained glass art and one of the greatest medieval artistic achievements. Its restoration has now preserved the window for many generations to come, allowing untold numbers of people to enjoy its beauty and craftsmanship. There is more restoration work to complete, with a devoted team dedicated to preserving the cathedral and its priceless windows for all to enjoy.