Restoration and conservation of vandalized Tiffany window
Imagine being the care taker of one of Boston’s most beautiful churches, decorated entirely by the Tiffany Studio’s; Windows, chandelier, wallpaper....Now, imagine for a moment walking into the church one morning and find this...One of the Tiffany windows severely damaged by vandals. On the morning of November 10, 2011 this is exactly what Brian Reardon, Church administrator was welcomed with. I received a call around 10:00 that morning from Brian, and I could tell from his voice that something was wrong. “Roberto, one of our windows was smashed with a fire extinguisher” My first thought was, how could anyone do this? And why? But, someone did. Needless to say, I loaded some plywood, ladders etc., and along with one of my most trusted worker, Matthew Fallon, went to the church to assess the damage and remove what was left of the window. It was truly a sad site. “Here is what we were able to pick up from the floor. Don’t know if you’ll be able to use any of it” said Brian, handing me a box half full of shards of colored opalescent and drapery glass. The entire window was removed, the opening covered and back to the studio we go. Once in the studio we began going through the box of glass and separated the shards by color and texture in trying to get a sense of what went where, so that we could start figuring out what glass was needed. The panels were documented, dismantled and all glass cleaned. Any cracked glass that could be saved was repaired with Hxtal epoxy and reintroduced into the window. Our challenge was trying to find a good replacement for the drapery glass which had been destroyed. After much searching, including the Neustadt Collection of Tiffany glass, a glass blower was successful in custom making a drapery glass which was a good match. We also spent an enormous amount of time finding the correct glass to be used as exterior plates (layers) that matched the original. The window was completed and reinstalled on November 28, 2012, looking as good as old.
Dorcas after vandalism
Dorcas after restoration
Severely damaged section of Dorcas
Broken pieces of Tiffany glass retrieved from the site
Assessing damaged window in the studio
Piecing together the puzzle...
Dorcas on the far right reinstalled after conservation
Damaged memorial inscription