Belsay Castle, Belsay, Northumberland. Scientific Analysis and Historic Interpretation of Decorated Window Glass by Henry Gyles of York

Author(s): David Dungworth, S Harrison

The chemical composition of window glass from Belsay has been investigated using a portable x-ray fluorescence (pXRF) spectrometer. The analysis was undertaken to better understand the nature of the glass and its decoration, and to evaluate the effectiveness of pXRF as a method for analysing window glass. The Belsay window is likely to have been produced at the end of the 17th century and fitted in the early 18th century, based on historical evidence. The window has recently undergone conservation treatment at the University of York which has ensured that the glass is free from surface dirt — the glass is in the best possible condition for chemical analysis using pXRF. The glass includes 25 very pale green panes of high-lime low-alkali (HLLA) glass, a single pane of kelp (sea weed)glass and two panes of modern (post-1830) glass. The glass compositions are entirely consistent with window glass from the end of the 17th century. The metals (Mn, Fe, Co, Ni, etc) responsible for a range of colours in the decorated glass were also identified.

Report Number:
Research Department Reports
Glass Post Medieval


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