The American Friends of Chartres (AFC), an association dedicated to the preservation and restoration of the famous French cathedral, has already funded the cleaning of five lancet stained glass windows in the building’s south doorway. Now they’re embarking on another ambitious project: the restoration of three 13th century stained glass windows. Taken down one by one, each panel will be under intense scrutiny to detect spots of wear and damage due to time or visitors. The restoration will begin at the end of the year.
The president of the AFC Dominique Lallement has also announced that the masterpieces will be displayed in the United States during an exhibition in 2016, though for now he cannot reveal the name nor the city of the happy recipient. “All that I can say is that it will be in a museum that houses a wonderful collection of medieval art,” he says. “The lancet windows measure more than 6 meters in height, which means that there will have to be a structure built similar to the cathedral to accommodate them.”
Americans adore Chartres. More than a million each year come to admire the cathedral’s historic gothic architecture, and this same architecture and history can be found in a number of American books, like The Da Vinci Code by Dan Brown and The Monuments Men by Robert Edsel. For the first time, the AFC has resorted to crowdfunding to finance this project, whose cost is estimated to be around $250,000. For Dominique Lallement, the participation-driven financing will allow for the for the forseeability of future restorations of the nave. He says, “It would be my dream come true!”