Restoration is to restore something back to its original condition, whereas preservation is to preserve something in its current state to prolong its life. For us, preservation is the most important and satisfying, and we would always favour this over restoration. We love the history and patina in objects and want to retain this as part of their charm. Preserving the item so that it can still be incorporated in to a home is our goal.
We found six stunning cast iron stained glass windows in a poor and deteriorating state of repair. Each window had broken glass, loose putty and flaking paint.
Restoration would have involved removal of all of the glass, sandblasting, repair, reglazing and repainting. The result would have been amazing but prohibitively expensive and much of the character and history of the windows would be destroyed in the process.
We decided to preserve three of the windows by taking good glass from the others, retaining the old paint and sound putty where possible. Only the worst damages were replaced with small cracks and chips to the glass left.
The other three empty frames were sold to a company that makes mirrors from antique frames. The spare glass will be sold individually as decorative pieces or for use in other projects. Every piece will be saved.
Preservation is a painstaking process of only touching where needed, to prevent further deterioration and make the item usable. It is always time consuming and there is no rule book.
The result is a piece that is preserved for the future, full of character and with our work just another part of its history. We are just mere custodians of these beautiful pieces.