These information sheets, and “trail maps” around the building should all be completed in the next couple of months. Work on the Windows of the Lady Chapel has now been completed. One tiny fragment of missing glass has been replaced in the Corporal Acts of Mercy window, on photographic evidence—obviously a recent loss, while all the missing pieces of text have been replaced in the unique “Pricke of Conscience Window”, without removing any historic glass.
This means that there are some subtle inconsistencies in spelling within the window due to previous repair work of unknown dates. Fortunately Henry Johnson recorded all the surviving text in 1670, meaning that we could largely rely on his records for the missing pieces. One of the ironies is that while “The Pricke of Conscience” was immensely popular, and over 97 hand written copies are known, none of them is the same as the window which replaces each verse of text with a rhyming couplet.
Other work to the window has included replacing the weathered “backing sheet” of red behind the devil. Red was often too dark in medieval times to be used as a single sheet, so was frequently laminated with clear glass to lighten its effect. In the case of the devil, this thin red sheet had weathered away, so that a new piece could be added behind without disturbing original material, but showing what the artist had intended.
The whole view of the window is vastly improved by the removal of many of the added “mending” leads put in when pieces of glass have been broken. Now that the window is not exposed to the wind and rain, some of these are simply no longer required. This has vastly improved the overall visual effect.
Just as stunning are the results from the Lady Chapel East Window - the original East Window from behind The High Altar. The modern blue glass around the central crucifixion scene has been painted to match the fragments of surviving 1330’s glass. (this is called diaper work, since it was thought to look like folds in cloth - where the Americans get there word “diapers” from, originally strips of folded cloth). The effect of this is to make the cross stand out better, as originally intended. There would originally have been no cross on the Altar, since it was visible in the window behind. (Note Adam’s skull at the foot of the cross—hence Golgotha, the place of the skull.)
In the scene below, the bright blue cushion has gone. For Fr Shaw’s book of 1908 “An Old York Church: All Hallows in North Street” Mable Leaf meticulously painted each window in “photographic” detail. The blue has been toned down, and painted with the folds of Our Lady’s dress as recorded in 1908—one wonders when this piece of glass was replaced—a vast improvement on the light balance of the window.