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Modern look through medieval window

Medieval window panels which have been described as the stained glass equivalent of the Sistine Chapel are going on display in a state-of-the-art 21st-century setting.

From next week, the public will be able to see restored glass from York Minster’s Great East Window on display in a contemporary metallic Orb inside the historic building.

The Orb is a 32ft wide and 10ft high dome that has been installed in the Minster’s Quire, directly below the Great East Window, and which will feature moving projections of stained glass on its exterior.

Visitors will be able to walk inside to see displays of five of the newly-conserved panels. Four of the panels will be permanently on display and one will change each month during the Orb’s planned three-year stay.

Acting Dean of York Canon Glyn Webster said: “It is too easy for us to take for granted the amazing architecture and painting of the Great East Window. It is almost impossible to imagine the effect this astonishing wall of glass must have had when it was first unveiled to the medieval public.”

The restoration of the glass has been undertaken by the York Glaziers Trust. It was originally painted between 1405 and 1408 by John Thornton of Coventry.

Canon Webster said: “The positioning of five panels within The Orb represents a fascinating juxtaposition of old and new. Visitors will be able to step into a contemporary metallic structure and see the detail of the painting of the medieval glass.”

The renovation of the Great East Window is part of a £20 million restoration project and should be finished in the summer of 2016.

The window has 108 major panels, and 311 in total, many showing graphic scenes of the end of the world from the Book of Revelation.

The Orb opens to the public on Saturday October 27.

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