Prunted Beaker Restoration

Watch as our conservator, Stephen Koob, restores a 13th/14th-century prunted beaker for our newest exhibition, Medieval Glass for Popes, Princes, and Peasants. Prunts are blobs of glass applied to a glass object as decoration. These prunts may also have a practical application, affording someone a firm grasp on the beaker, in the absence of a handle.

This piece is on loan from the Museum zu Allerheiligen, Schaffhausen, in Switzerland. It is part of a group of objects excavated in the 1920’s and had previously been restored, but was in need of a better, more stable, and more presentable restoration.

With painstaking care and precision Koob disassembled the beaker (48 pieces in total, 5% missing), cleaned the fragments and began the process of reassembly. He filled the areas of missing pieces with synthetic resin (epoxy).

All of the conservation work the Museum undertakes is reversible: the adhesives that hold the glass pieces together and the epoxy fills can be removed if the beakers need to be retreated in the future. Sometimes, more pieces are found in excavations, or the epoxy yellows.

The total restoration time was 20 hours over a period of 2 ½ months and we followed the process along the way in this video. This is part one of a two-part series. Part two will follow Koob as he uses tinted resin to fill the losses for this piece.