International tender for stained glass restoration

A decision has been taken to call for international tender to conserve the stained glasses which decorate the ceilings of the Mysore Palace durbar hall, kalyana mantap and other rooms. Officials have also been adviced to consult Alfred Fischer of England, an expert, in this regard.

At a meeting held on Monday, one Manikantha of Kerala presented samples under expression of interest tender to the Palace Board. However, the Palace Board members and the expert committee named by it, rejected his samples.

The decision to call for international tender was taken at a meeting held under the presidentship of Commissioner for Archaeology Department P.S. Vastrad. Committee member and Historian Dr. A.V.Narasimhamurthy, conservationist Ravi R. Gundurao, Department of Archaeology, Museums and Heritage Deputy Director Dr. J.V. Gayathri and PWD Superintending Engineer Suresh Babu inspected the places where the ceiling was leaking at the Palace. Gundurao also gave a written report containing suggestions in this regard.

The work should be taken up with special care. Such glasses can be seen only in England and Scotland where there are artistes specialising in restoring stained glasses. The glasses in the Palace have been brought from these countries. We, however, need the artistes and the technology for conservation which is limited in India. The samples that have been given to us are also not of good quality, the team opined.

It may be recalled that the roof of the durbar hall, where the king sits on the golden thrown, had started to leak and the glass had cracked due to rain. The team had given a report on the issue on Sept. 27, 2012.

“The stained glass decorating the Palace roof have cracked. The channels made for rain water flow on the roof fill up and hence water enter through the glass causing the leak. A self-tender had been called to take up the works.

The expert committee was given power to decide on this issue and take action. Based on their report, discussions will be held with the Commissioner and decision will be taken,” said Palace Board Dy. Director T.S. Subramanya.

Suggestions by Ravi Gundurao:

1. Research must be carried out on the stained glass. A detaied study on its composition style and other details must be done by experts and a report must be prepared.

2. Conditional mapping must be done, inventory and status report must be prepared.

3. International stained glass experts from the English Heritage or Alfred Fischer must be contacted for suggestions.

4. A report with the above points including the mode of restoration, its range, cost estimates must be prepared.

5. Expert restorers must be called and work should be taken through a special procedure.

6. International experts must be called to supervise the work.

7. The entire work must be undertaken under the guidance of experienced conservation architects.