Several months ago we were contacted by a lady in Kendal who had in her possession a large window (made up of three separate panels) that had been very badly damaged after a tree blew over in a storm and landed on the garden shed in which it was being stored. The window had been purchased many years earlier by her late husband from an antiques dealer in Kendal who himself had had the window in storage for some considerable time. With little other information about it, she initially contacted us in regards to providing an insurance valuation along with a repair and restoration quotation.
Having brought the sorry looking item in for us to inspect we were quickly able to attribute the work to the studios of Abbott and Co. of Lancaster thanks to a clear makers mark that had fortunately survived. We were also reasonably confident that the work was late 20th Century (somewhere between 1970 to 1990) and that it had been executed in glass produced by renowned (but sadly no longer trading) Sunderland manufacturer Hartley Wood & Co.
When it comes to a contest between a tree and a stained glass window there was only ever going to be one winner. The damaged caused was extensive and included over 50 shattered pieces of glass and considerable structural damage to the lead-work matrix.
Having provided an insurance valuation (which was duly paid out on), the next question was; what to do with it now? While clearly of artistic and historical value, in its partially ruined state it was of next to no value to anyone. Repair and restoration costs running into the thousands would be prohibitive to most and the owner had nowhere to place such a sizable window even if she could pay for its repair. We proceeded to make enquiries with a number of institutions including Lancaster City Museum and Ely Stained Glass Museum to see if they might be interested but all to no avail.
With the window having been in our temporary possession for several months and no immediate solution to the problem of what to do with it, we were beginning to consider defeat. It looked unlikely that we would be able to find someone with the means not only to pay for it to be repaired and restored but also to display it. This was until one of our long-standing private clients called in to look a separate project we were working on for her. On seeing the Abbott window she immediately fell in love with it and wanted to know all about it. To cut a long story short, we had found the window a new home and it was duly purchased from its original owner for a nominal fee.
The piece is currently undergoing full repair and restoration prior to being installed in its new home within a large back-lit wall mounted display frame.
Our image shows just a small section of one of the three panels having undergone repair and restoration.