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Vidimus is extremely grateful to Forest Lawn Memorial Parks Association and the Museum Curator, Alison Bruesehoff, for their generous assistance with this on-line exhibition, which coincides with a news display at Forest Lawn of some of its stained-glass holdings. All images are reproduced here with the kind permission of the copyright holder, The Forest Lawn Memorial Parks Association.
The Collection Formed by the founder and director of the Memorial Park, Dr Hubert Eaton (1881–1966), the Forest Lawn Museum houses many spectacular glass pieces. Without exception, the medieval glass in this exhibition had previously belonged to the William Randolph Hearst and was acquired by Dr Eaton in 1954 from items left over from the main Hearst sale at Gimbel Brothers department store in New York in 1941. Hearst (1863–1951), on whose life the Orson Welles film ‘Citizen Kane’ is modelled, amassed an enormous collection of medieval glass and objects during the first half of the twentieth century. He is known to have owned over four hundred panels, and many have since found in their way into collections like The Burrell Collection in Glasgow, Scotland, as well as to private homes, churches and museums in North America.
Having bought the panels, Eaton decided to create a spectacular chapel, with the glass filling three sides of a large rectangular building. Among the glass to be installed was a three-light window from the Carmelite church in Boppard-am-Rhein, Germany, executed by the same glass-painter as that who painted panels that can now be seen in the Boppard Room at the Cloisters Museum, New York. Sadly, whilst Eaton’s panels were stacked on frames waiting to be fitted, the entire building was destroyed by fire in 1957. Most of the glass was damaged, and in some cases completely incinerated. Arson has long been suspected. Among the surviving pieces was one of the windows in this on-line exhibition, which was almost certainly executed from drawings by Albrecht Dürer.
A guide to the collection is in preparation. For further information, see Madeline H. Caviness and Michael W. Cothren (eds), Stained Glass before 1700 in American Collections: Midwestern and Western States, Corpus Vitrearum Checklist III/Studies in the History of Art 28, Washington: National Gallery of Art, 1989, especially the introduction by Jane Hayward and Madeline H. Caviness (pp. 16–22) and catalogue entries 46–64, by the same authors. See also Madeline H. Caviness: ‘Learning from Forest Lawn’, Speculum, lxix/4 (October 1994), pp. 963–92.
On Boppard-am-Rhein, see William Wells, ‘Some notes on the stained glass in the Burrell collection in the Glasgow Art Gallery’, Journal of the British Society of Master Glass Painters, 12 (1959), pp. 277–79; idem, Stained and Painted Glass, Burrell Collection: Figures and Ornamental Subjects, Glasgow, 1965, pp. 66–67; idem, ‘Stained glass from Boppard-on-Rhein in the Burrell Collection’, Scottish Art Review, 10 (1966), pp. 22–25; Jane Hayward, ‘Stained-Glass Windows from the Carmelite Church at Boppard-am-Rhein: A Reconstruction of the Glazing Program of the North Nave’, Metropolitan Museum Journal, 2 (1969), pp. 75–114; and Madeline H. Caviness (ed.), Stained Glass before 1700 in American Collections: New England and New York, Corpus Vitrearum Checklist I/Studies in the History of Art 15, Washington, 1985 (catalogue entry by Jane Hayward, pp. 118–20).
Exhibit I. Section of border fragment with white stems and foliage leaves. Probably from the abbey church of Saint-Yved?, France, c.1200. See further Madeline H. Caviness, Sumptuous Arts at the Royal Abbeys in Reims and Braine, 1990, catalogue entry B/b/1, p. 388.
Exhibit II. Standing king, possibly Charlemagne, King of the Franks, who was crowned emperor by Pope Leo III in 800 A.D. From Champagne or Aisne?, France, c.1210–1235.
Exhibit III. Two scenes from the childhood of the Virgin: St Anne leading Mary by the hand, and St Anne addressing the Virgin, possibly leading her in prayer. Perhaps from the abbey church of Notre-Dame-de-l’Epine, Evron (Mayenne), France, c.1315–1320.
Exhibit IV. An angel holding an unidentified coat of arms. Middle Rhine, Germany, c.1440–1450.
Exhibit V. A pair of lancets with female saints standing under canopies: St Johanna of Valois (left) and St Catherine (right), both identified by inscriptions. Perhaps from the Ile-de-France, France, c.1550. St Johanna (1464–1505) was the daughter of King Louis XI of France. In 1501, she founded a contemplative order of nuns, the Sisters of the Annunciation.
Exhibit VI. Three scenes under canopies from the Passion of Christ (from left to right): Christ before Pilate, the Crowning with Thorns, and the Resurrection. Upper Rhineland, Germany, c.1440–1460.
Exhibit VII. Lancets with St Mary Magdalene and a kneeling knight accompanied by a coat of arms. Below the figure of Mary Magdalene is a small panel from the Passion of Our Lord, showing Christ before Pilate, to whom water for the washing of his hands has been brought. North-east France, c.1525–1535.
Exhibit VIII. Three scenes from the martyrdom of St Lawrence. Perhaps from the abbey of Louvigné-de-Bois, Brittany, France, c.1550–75. The upper panel shows the roasting of St Lawrence on a gridiron. In the centre, the Emperor Decius orders the Prefect Valarian to torture St Lawrence; to the left is a kneeling figure of the female donor of the panel. The lower panel shows the followers of the martyred saint with a kneeling male donor.
Exhibit IX. St Andrew, Pope Sixtus II, and tracery lights. This glass is thought to have been made after drawings by Albrecht Dürer and painted by the Hirschvogel workshop in Nuremburg c.1502–1506 for Sixtus Tucher (1459–1507), Provost of the church of Saint Lawrence in Nuremburg 1496–1504. Tucher retired to Grasersgasse and installed the panels in his Garden Chapel; his house was unfortunately destroyed shortly after 1834. Other panels from the same chapel survive in Nuremburg, Germany, and at St Mary and St Nicholas Church, Wilton, Wiltshire. St Andrew is depicted with his cross saltire, and Pope Sixtus II with his tiara, staff and alms bag. The tracery lights above show the head of Christ surrounded by an owl and floral motifs. St Andrew, the patron saint of Scotland, carries the saltire cross as the symbol of his martyrdom. Pope Sixtus II was elected 31 August 257 and martyred at Rome, 6 August 258, during the persecutions of the Emperor Valerian. This panel and the glazing of the Tucher chapel in general are discussed at length in B. Butts and Lee Hendrix, Painting on Light: Drawings and Stained Glass in the Age of Dürer and Holbein, California, 2000, pp. 110–16.
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