The idea of preserving the fragile and precious heritage of stained glass windows is an ancient concept. During the 12th century, at the Saint-Denis abbey, Father Suger established a post responsible for the preservation and repair of the abbey’s stained glass. Now, in the 21st century, awareness of the frailty and value of these gigantic glass puzzles has never been greater. With the passage of time, exposure of the materials to the elements and atmosphere has caused damage to the glass, lead and paint. Human interventions such as restoration, accidents or construction around the glass have, century after century, left their trace on the works; a piece of glass that is replaced, moved or polished is slightly altered. In the end, the stained glass we see today has not survived the passage of time in its original state. Darkened or faded, marked by numerous restorations, distorted or cracked by their structural role, the glass windows are, at best, difficult to decipher and, at worst almost destroyed.
The workshop, created in 1992 by graduate Isabelle Baudoin, specializes in the conservation and restoration of stained glass. Working for public institutions, the organization restores stained glass in monuments and museums; it also undertakes studies to evaluate the state of specific works and then plans a tailored restoration program. Antique dealers, collectors, private owners and individuals or simply lovers of stained glass, also put their trust in the workshop to refurbish their pieces.
The restoration of monumental works of art typically cannot be undertaken single-handedly. Thus, since 1992 a large number of collaborative activities have enabled a wide variety of projects to be undertaken. The support of the French “Laboratoire de Recherche des Monuments Historiques” has been invaluable, some acute problems require scientific analysis and collaborative research to define the necessary treatment protocols. Finally, Isabelle Baudoin regularly takes on interns and contributes – through various events and publications – to the dissemination of knowledge in this field. She also participates in courses such as the Masters degree in restoration and conservation of cultural goods at the University of Paris I. The general public are largely unaware of the huge heritage of stained glass heritage – even more so of the professionals and their work dedicated to its study and preservation. This website offers a gateway to demystify this world. Thank you to all those who, directly or indirectly, contribute to its existence.