An incomparable Liege stained-glass window returned to its place of honour

24th of September 2015

A listed building because of its artistic, archaeological and historic value, the Cathedral of Saint Paul of Liege is part of the exceptional building heritage of the Walloon Region. The cathedral has six 16th century stained-glass windows: five in the choir apse and one – that of Léon d’Oultres – in the south transept. The latter is considered to be one of the most beautiful in Belgium. It was offered in 1530 by Canon Léon d’Oultres, provost of the Collegiate of Saint Paul and represents the Coronation of the Virgin. One can also pick out Canon Léon d’Oultres, Saint Paul, the patron saint of the collegiate, and Saint Lambert, patron saint of the diocese. In the lower part of the window, the structure of the architectural frame is still in the Gothic style, whilst the decoration is in the renaissance style, a fashion that had arrived from Italy. Distaste for empty spaces, a taste for vivid colours and rich materials characterise this sumptuous work.

After its first restoration during the 19th century, the stained-glass window suffered serious damage during the First World War. It was left untouched and waited for 30 years for its former beauty to be restored. In January 2014, it was announced that Léon d’Oultres’s stained-glass window would be conserved and restored, thanks to the collaboration of several patrons. Following the re-installation of the restored work, the cathedral has once more become a marvellous setting for a veritable history of stained-glass windows from the 16th century to the present day, integrating the latest and resolutely modern creations of artists Kim En Joong and Gottfried Honegger.

This operation benefitted from support from an important private sponsor as well as funds managed by the King Baudouin Foundation, notably the Richard Forgeur Fund for the window tracery, the InBev-Baillet Latour Fund for the stained-glass itself and the David-Constant Fund for the publication of a booklet about the ensemble of stained-glass windows in the cathedral and the promotion the restoration of the stained-glass window of Léon d’Oultres.