Opus Sectile

 

Copyright © 1996-2012  Geoffrey Wallace Stained Glass

 

Opus Sectile became moderately popular in Australia in the early 20th century with the first examples being imported from England. In a few cases it was used to cover whole walls of churches or chapels, depicting biblical scenes on a rich background of mosaic glass tiles.  More usually though, it was used for feature niches in altars, chapel walls or for depicting the ‘stations of the cross’.

Opus Sectile is a marriage of mosaic and traditional stained glass.  It is composed of glass tiles that have been painted with traditional glass paint and enamels and then set into masonry as for mosaic.  The designs often feature gold backed clear glass, as in mosaic, and sometimes incorporate highlights of mother of pearl shell.

Opus Sectile is quite durable unless mistreated or exposed to long periods of dampness.  This featured ‘stations’ panel was obviously dropped when the ‘stations were relocated at some time in the past.  This caused cracking of the concrete base panel as well as breakage and loss of glass.

The missing shards of glass were replicated using fired vitreous enamels and glass paint while the cracked concrete base was stabilised by injecting epoxy masonry adhesive.