York Minster’s Great East Window has been described as the English equivalent of the Sistine Chapel and now visitors will be able to see the medieval stained glass at up close in a new metallic ‘Orb’.
People will be able to walk inside the 10 metre wide and three metre tall orb which has been installed in the East of the Minster’s Quire, directly below the Great East Window from next weekend.
The Orb has five newly conserved panels taken from the window, four of which will remain on display permanently and the fifth will change each month during the sphere’s three year exhibition.
The Acting Dean of York, Canon Glyn 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 panels are the creation of British artist John Thornton. Movement and colour cascade across the domed roof of The Orb as its metallic exterior is beautifully illuminated by the moving projections of the stained glass. “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,” added Canon Webster.
The East End of the Minster beyond the Quire has been closed off to allow The Orb to be installed.
It will open on October 27 to the public and there will be a special evening events from October 31 to November 2 as part of the Illuminating York Festival.