Bid to bring Victorian glass art back to Castell Coch

A bid has been launched to buy two Victorian stained glass panels that were once part of the chapel at the fairytale Castell Coch near Cardiff.

Eighteen similar panels designed by architect William Burges are on display at Castell Coch and Cardiff Castle.

The whereabouts of the remaining two was a mystery until they failed to sell at an auction last year.

Welsh heritage organisation Cadw is trying to bring the panels back to their Welsh home.

Rick Turner, Cadw's Inspector of Ancient Monuments, described the panels as the "highest quality Victorian stained glass".

They show a variety of Welsh and British saints and key biblical figures.

"They were designed by William Burges whose work attracts enormous attention," Mr Turner added.

Burges was responsible for rebuilding Cardiff Castle which was owned by the Bute family.

He was also responsible for the reconstruction of the medieval ruins of Castell Coch, the fairytale castle at Tongwynlais.

As part of this, Burges designed a timber-framed chapel springing out of the roof of the Well Tower which was fitted with the stained glass panels.

But the chapel had been demolished by 1891 and the 20 panels were recorded as being stored on site in 1901.

Ten of those panels are on now display in a gallery at Cardiff Castle while eight more are displayed in a model of the chapel in the attic room of the Well Tower.

The missing two panels turned up at an auction in Salisbury last year with a guide price of between£150,000 and £200,000, but failed to sell.

"The auction was the first time anyone was aware of where these panels had been since 1901," said Mr Turner.

Image caption Architect William Burges designed the Victorian castle near Cardiff

"They are owned by a private seller but they didn't sell at the auction so since that date we've been negotiating with the owner over a private sale."

Mr Turner added: "When the 3rd Marquess of Bute died I think the collection of stained glass panels may have been split between members of the family.

"I think that as the family went off in different directions some of the panels went into private homes.

Cadw is now applying for a grant from the National Heritage Memorial Fund to try to bring the collection back together.

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