The process of re-leading a stained glass window is one that takes place every 100-150 years, as lead is a substance that oxidises and thus loses mass and becomes frail. There are always issues with the conservation of stained glass, the significance of the lead work within a panel is one of them and in a few cases the window must stay in its original condition with the lead work intact.
In the majority of cases though, stained glass and lead light glazing requires regular re-leading to maintain the function for which it was designed, it is a work of art that is also required to keep out the wind and rain.
The Collection of photographs above displays the re-leading of a panel from the O'Connor window in Salisbury Cathedral, c1855, starting with the rubbing taken over the original window before the old lead work was removed. This rubbing is used as a guide for re-leading the original glass, making sure that the panel is made the correct size and with the correct lead work detail. This process takes about three days on a panel of this size (120cm x 80cm).
View the process of re-leading an ancient stained glass panel from rubbing to completed panel using the image changer above.