Divine Beauty - The Restoration of the Burne-Jones Windows

As a Grade I listed historic building in constant daily use Birmingham Cathedral requires careful maintenance, care and repair. Over recent years the cathedral has undergone an extensive series of restoration and development. Projects have included repair to the exterior stonework, redecoration of interior paintwork, repairs to woodwork as well as significant improvements to access and interpretation. The next task on the schedule is the restoration of the cathedral’s most precious treasures, its windows.

Just like any other property, window glass becomes very dirty over time especially if located in the centre of a city where thousands of vehicles and people pass by ever day. However the windows at the cathedral are unlike any other glazing. The windows are wonderful, dazzling examples of some of the finest stained-glass work of pre-raphaelite artists Edward Burne-Jones and William Morris. The windows were installed in the building over a twelve year period when it was still a parish church and are visited by people from all over the world. Birmingham is the birthplace of Burne-Jones and he was baptised in St Philip’s in January 1834.

There is damage to the windows in a number of places and portions of glazing are now missing and cracked. We also need to consider carefully the best form of protection for the windows so that they can still be seen but are able to inspire visitors and enhance worship for future generations. The project Divine Beauty will see the restoration of the stained glass windows as well as the other unusual windows in the cathedral made Birmingham glass firm Hardman.

The project will also provide important opportunities for improvements to the interpretation of the windows with better signage and the chance to work collaboratively with partners across the city who also care for Burne-Jones’ work.

The Good Shepherd (1857-61), Edward Burne-Jones, Birmingham Museums Trust.

Of course this restoration work is of a specialist nature and therefore comes with significant costs and considerations.If you would like to find out more about the progress of the project, or get involved or donate to Divine Beauty please get in touch with jane.mcardle@birminghamcathedral.com , follow ♯divinebeauty or donate via our Just Giving Page here