What to do with all that beautiful stained glass?
January 7, 2008 11:10 AM   Subscribe

I have recently acquired an old church and it has three huge 17’ x 24’ stained glass windows. These windows were installed in 1911 and are very beautiful but I am not interested in keeping them for various reasons. I am looking for suggestions as to where to start to find a gallery or collector that may be interested in buying them also I would like to find who the original artist was that designed them. Any advice and guidance is appreciated.
posted by scooters.toad to Media & Arts (13 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Talk to your local historical society to find newspapers and other records from the time they were installed -- this would almost certainly name the artist.
posted by LobsterMitten at 11:21 AM on January 7, 2008

You might try calling an architectural salvage place. They might know which local collectors or galleries tend to search for stained glass.
posted by occhiblu at 11:26 AM on January 7, 2008

Do you have any pictures of the windows? I'm kind of a stained-glass window nerd. I might be able to help.
posted by Baby_Balrog at 11:29 AM on January 7, 2008

fandango_matt has a point- please research how removing these windows will affect the value of the building.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 11:30 AM on January 7, 2008 [1 favorite]

I agree with fandango_matt that you will probably get more value when you sell the building if you keep and store the windows.
posted by zsazsa at 12:07 PM on January 7, 2008

Response by poster: Thanks to all for your replies!

fandango_matt: Thank you, you have a very good point and we have taken that into careful consideration. The building is being converted to our primary residence and we have no interest in resale. We would rather know that the windows are being cared for and enjoyed then let them remain on the property risking them being damaged. Several regular panes of glass have already been broken by kids playing ball in the back yard and it would make us sad if these were to be broken. In addition the money from their sale will be put back into funding the project of the conversion and property improvements.

Baby_Balrog: I will gladly email you pictures when I get the opportunity. Would you like them mailed to dannison at gmail or would you like them sent to a different email?

Thanks again and wish all the best.
posted by scooters.toad at 12:16 PM on January 7, 2008

17' x 24' is huge to store, huge even to keep intact when you dismantle. I agree in a sense with those saying 'keep 'em', but I can see this may not be practical. I would take the best photos you can and submit to one or more auction houses for a free opinion and appraisal. Such a thing is unusual and very hard to value no doubt, but an auction, which can spread news around the world, may provide a better price than the architectural salvage guy, even if the initial estimate is low. A local auction may also have an idea as to the artist. Can you post some pictures?
posted by londongeezer at 12:17 PM on January 7, 2008

I'd also check around with other churches nearby, depending on the shape and quality of the panes they could be used to upgrade some of their existing fenistrations.

(p.s. oops, you typed balrog's email out plain text...I flagged it so a mod could change it to a spamcollector-proof version, no biggie its an easy mistake)
posted by samsara at 1:16 PM on January 7, 2008

Thanks samsara!

Scooter - that email will work just fine.

Also, if they're from 1911 - depending on the size of the individual panes and whether they're paneled or braced it may be possible to remove them without severely damaging them... we had a restoration done on our 1914 and 1927 Louis Comfort Tiffanies after a fire but we had to leave them up to do some of the work. The guys came in with scaffolding to do repair and cleaning work rather than removing them from their frames. However I do know that panes which were cracked were taken out and repaired. It's extremely tricky and costly stuff, though.
posted by Baby_Balrog at 1:39 PM on January 7, 2008

Chicago has a Stained Glass Museum. Maybe try calling them for advice/guidance? (I don't know where you are, but I don't think it matters.)
posted by nax at 5:23 PM on January 7, 2008

If a museum is interested in them, you might be able to just lend them the windows. Then if you ever sell the house, you could include the windows in the sale. If the new owners wanted the windows back, they could get them back from the museum and have them reinstalled.
posted by samw at 5:40 PM on January 7, 2008

I don't know where you are located, but maybe contact this guy in Wichita, Kansas. It is a retail store, but he does a lot of restoration work and may know of collectors who would be interested.
posted by illek at 7:52 PM on January 7, 2008

Click on the "About Our Store" button and it tells a little about his restoration, etc.
posted by illek at 7:54 PM on January 7, 2008

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