- DIRECTOR, YORK GLAZIERS TRUST, combined with LECTURER IN HISTORY OF ART (Ref: A0887)
- Vidimus Needs Your Support!
- Reconstructing the Glazing of Kells Priory, Ireland
- The Birkin Haward Collection of Nineteenth-Century Norfolk Stained Glass
- East Harling Reminder
- The Lancastrian Esses ‘SS’ Collar
- Cleveland Museum of Art
- New Books from Paul Holberton
- Stained Glass Study Weekend in Canterbury
- Glass at Glencairn
- Cranach the Elder and Stained Glass
YORK GLAZIERS TRUST and UNIVERSITY OF YORK, DEPARTMENT OF HISTORY OF ART
DIRECTOR, YORK GLAZIERS TRUST, combined with LECTURER IN HISTORY OF ART (Ref: A0887)
Applications are invited for a new position combining a post as Director of York Glaziers Trust (YGT) with a post as Lecturer in History of Art at the University of York. The combination presents an exceptional opportunity to manage one of the leading conservation studios in Britain and to establish a Masters’ qualification in stained glass conservation at the University. Each element will call for approximately half of the holder’s time.
The successful candidate will have appropriate academic qualifications, a demonstrable aptitude for teaching and experience of management, relevant to the conservation of stained glass. Candidates with a background in other aspects of stained glass studies or other fields of conservation are encouraged to apply. It is recognized that few candidates will bring an equivalent depth of experience in both the academic and conservation environments.
Informal inquiries about the post may be made in the first instance by emailing ta507 [at] york [dot] ac [dot] uk” target=”_blank”>Dr Tim Ayers (Director, Stained Glass Research School, University of York), or sarahcrewebrown [at] aol [dot] com” target=”_blank”>Sarah Brown (Trustee, York Glaziers Trust).
Starting salary c. £40,000, negotiable. The post will be for an initial period of three years (until 30 September 2011), starting as soon as possible. Closing date for applications: Friday, 11 April 2008. For further particulars and details of how to apply, please see the University’s website, or write to HR Services, University of York, Heslington, York YO10 5DD, quoting the reference number A0887.
Both the University of York and York Glaziers Trust are committed to a policy of equal opportunity.
Vidimus Needs Your Support!
We reported in the last issue that reader numbers for Vidimus have climbed steadily, and that the readership now consists of a wide range of interested individuals, including academics, stained-glass artists, and lovers of the medium. Your feedback and email have been greatly welcomed.
Vidimus is actively seeking further financial support to secure the longer-term future of the publication, and the need for funds has become pressing. We would like to invite you to sponsor Vidimus: you can sponsor an issue from as little as £250 ($500). All donations will of course be detailed on the ‘Friends of Vidimus’ page.
Please contact us via the ‘About Us / Contact’ page for further information.
Reconstructing the Glazing of Kells Priory, Ireland
Archaeological excavations at Kells Priory (County Kilkenny) have revealed important evidence about the original glazing of what has been called ‘possibly the most extensive and visually impressive ruined medieval monastic complex in Ireland’ (Figs 1 and 2).
Founded around 1193 by Geoffrey FitzRobert, a household knight of William Marshall, Earl of Pembroke, the priory belonged to the Canons Regular of St Augustine, otherwise known as the Augustinians or Black Canons. Work on the priory church seems to have begun around 1200 and to have been completed by 1218. Enlargements and extensions occurred in later centuries.
Most of the glass recovered during the excavations dates from the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries, when the church was decorated with inlaid tiles, and the walls painted with a red pattern in imitation of rectangular blocks of ashlar masonry. All the findings have now been catalogued by Irish archaeologist, Jo Moran, and published in a major volume devoted to the excavations at Kells (see further our Books section).
152 fragments of early or mid-thirteenth-century glass were found on the site, nearly all of them from the priory church: 38 from the nave, 55 from the north aisle, 12 from the chancel and 10 from the Lady Chapel. The fragments included trefoil and quatrefoil headed stiff-leaf foliage patterns painted in bold lines against a cross-hatched background (Fig. 3). These patterns can be paralleled with early- and mid-thirteenth century grisaille from Salisbury and Lincoln cathedrals in England. At Salisbury, for example, a window dated 1220–58 saw a similar grisaille pattern set against bands and semicircles of coloured glass (yellow, blue and red); at Kells, thin bands or borders of red, blue and yellow glass, some curved, were among the discoveries. Again, semicircles of blue glass, some with foliate patterns painted on them, found in the nave, north aisle and Lady Chapel at Kells, bear strong similarities to the patterns at Salisbury.
Thirteenth-/Fourteenth-Century Figural or Narrative Windows
In addition to the grisaille glass, a small number of other fragments found in the nave and north aisle retain traces of painted drapery folds, suggesting that figural glass had also been installed in the late thirteenth or early fourteenth century. Scarcity of detail has made it impossible to identify anything about the figures, but the size of the fragments suggests that they may have come from medallion windows. Six fragments of a painted crocket from an architectural canopy and part of an inscription in Lombardic script (‘S(AN)C(TU)S PET[RUS?]’) were among other tantalizing discoveries (Fig. 4).
These findings are an important contribution towards an understanding of medieval glazing schemes in Irish churches. As reported in Vidimus no. 3 (see our Archive), not a single panel of pre-Reformation glass remaining in situ in the whole of Ireland. The work of archaeologists at Kells and other sites, such as St Saviour’s Priory, Limerick, are therefore among the most important links to a spectacular past.
See the Books section of the current issue of Vidimus for details of the Kells report. The CVMA Picture Archive has a whole range of images of glass at Lincoln Cathedral and Salisbury Cathedral.
Vidimus is extremely grateful to Conleth Manning of the National Monuments section of the government of Ireland’s Department of the Environment, Heritage and Local Government, for his help with his item. Special thanks are also extended to archaeological illustrator Daniel Tietzsch-Tyler for permission to reproduce his stunning his reconstructions of the Kells site. Visit his website for further examples of his work.
The Birkin Haward Collection of Nineteenth-Century Norfolk Stained Glass
For forty years, Birkin Haward OBE, FRIBA (1912–2002) was a thriving architect whose practice in his native Ipswich carried out more than two thousand commissions. Yet his posthumous reputation may well rest equally on his activities as a painter, antiquarian and photographer (Fig. 1). The range of his interests was perhaps foreshadowed in his training: he was articled to Munro Cautley, architect and distinguished Suffolk antiquarian, but on graduating in 1934 worked with the arch-modernist Eric Mendelsohn (1887–1953) on celebrated projects such as the Bexhill Pavilion (Fig. 2). A long-term amateur interest in the medieval stained glass of France honed his photographic skills, and before his retirement in 1982, he had turned his attention to surveying the nineteenth-century stained glass of East Anglia. Motivated by an enthusiasm matched by prodigious energy he was able to publish his Nineteenth Century Norfolk Stained Glass in 1984 and a companion volume on Suffolk in 1989, both replete with his fine photographs and demonstrating his painstaking and original research. No less remarkable were the publications that followed, in which he brought to bear his practical knowledge of architecture (using meticulous measured drawings) and detailed historical research to analyse the medieval churches of East Anglia. His Suffolk Medieval Church Arcades 1150-1550 was published in 1993, and a photographic survey Suffolk Medieval Church Roof Carvings in 1999; he continued to work until shortly before his death, at which time the draft of the (still unpublished) Suffolk and Norfolk Church Roofs was complete.
Birkin’s books on the stained glass of Norfolk and Suffolk were among the earliest specialist publications to be illustrated with a combination of conventional plates (the majority monochrome) and colour micro-fiche. The micro-fiche made an unprecedented number of colour images available to the reader, but few of us could ever view them in perfect conditions. His collection of fine photographs of stained glass was deposited in 1999 with the National Monuments Record (now part of English Heritage), where their vulnerable 35mm slide format has made them relatively inaccessible to all but the most determined archive-user. In 2006, with the kind permission of Birkin’s son, and with funding from English Heritage, the CVMA digitized the collection, and it is now available in the CVMA’s Picture Archive. Over 2000 images covering 260 locations, the majority in Norfolk, with a far smaller number in Suffolk, can now be consulted with relative ease.
Information concerning the design and manufacture of medieval stained-glass windows is rarely available. Since this information is available more often for nineteenth-century glass, the CVMA Search Form was adapted to allow this information to be searched to a limited degree. The CVMA team is grateful to Neil Moat for his editorial assistance in checking and updating the records, incorporating the results of more recent scholarship in the field, and providing attributions for unidentified designers and makers. Where the distinction between design and manufacture is ambiguous, the CVMA team has striven to err on the side of caution, in order to avoid imbuing Haward’s well-informed but often provisional judgements with a greater objectivity than can be justified.
The stained glass of county of Norfolk is now fairly comprehensively represented on the CVMA website, where Birkin Haward’s collection complements images of medieval stained glass. Important objectives have been to advance an interest in nineteenth- and twentieth-century stained glass, and to demonstrate the value of a thorough visual record of the stained glass of a whole county. Norfolk is a county with a rich mix of stained glass by artists and makers with a national reputation, together with local makers whose work is confined to the county. Those researchers seeking comparative materials to confirm or suggest attributions for glass in their own study-areas will find the collection of particular value (Figs 6–7).
Sarah Brown and Martin Harrison
East Harling Reminder
CVMA author David King will be speaking on the fascinating fifteenth-century glass of East Harling Church (Norfolk), at a special lecture of the British Society of Master Glass Painters (BSMGP) on the 14 March, at the Artworkers Guild Hall, London.
The East Harling glass was commissioned by the wealthy thrice-married heiress Anne Harling and has been tied to her ultimately fruitless efforts to conceive a child and the political support that she and her second husband, Sir Robert Wingfield gave to the Yorkist monarch, Edward IV. Circumstantial evidence also points to a link between the glass and the contemporary N-Town cycle of religious plays. (These plays are associated on linguistic grounds with East Anglia and named after the words ‘.N. town’ in the banns (opening proclamation), presumably standing for ‘nomen’, thus allowing the producers to insert the name of the town where they were touring into the script.) It is possible some of the plays may have been performed at East Harling, during a royal visit in 1469, and that the cast included the glaziers who made the windows.
David King is the author of The Medieval Glass of St Peter Mancroft, Norwich (CVMA (GB) V, London, 2006). For further information and booking details about what promises to be a fascinating lecture, email the lectures [at] bsmgp [dot] org [dot] uk” target=”_blank”>BSMGP. To see other windows from East Harling Church, visit the Picture Archive on the CVMA website.
The Lancastrian Esses ‘SS’ Collar
A new book by the historian Ian Mortimer, The Fears of Henry IV, cites an inscription from a now-lost window at Eltham Palace (in south-east London) to provide a convincing explanation for late-medieval livery collar consisting of a chain of interlinked metal esses (letter ‘s’). Such chains can often be seen in glass, on funeral effigies, and in panel paintings of the period. An example can be seen worn around the neck of William de Bracey at the foot of window nV in the north aisle of Great Malvern Priory (Worcs., Fig. 1), and on the alabaster monument to Lord Bardolf (1383–1441) at Dennington (Suffolk, Fig. 2).
According to Mortimer, the collar was a badge of the house of Lancaster. Before he deposed Richard II and had himself crowned as Henry IV in 1399, Henry Bolingbroke, Duke of Lancaster, was known as ‘the one who wears the S’. Although the origins of the collar may date from the 1370s, examples were distributed to Henry’s supporters as early as 1387–88.
The meaning of the esses has provoked considerable debate. Suggestions have included soverayne (sovereign), souveignez (remember), or a combination of saintete (sanctity), sagesse (wisdom), sapience (learning), and seigneurie (lordship). Only two of these possibilities are supported by any evidence. The ‘sovereign’ interpretation is rejected by Mortimer, as the evidence provided in support of the explanation post-dates Henry’s seizure of the throne. To have worn such a motto earlier, i.e., during Richard II’s reign, would have been treasonable.
Rather than ‘sovereign’, Mortimer suggests that the esses of the collar are closely linked to a phrase often found in Henry’s household accounts, ‘souveyne vous de moi’, which can be translated as ‘remember me’, or read as the name of the forget-me-not-flower (botanical name: Myosotis). These household accounts include mention of a belt made for Henry by his goldsmith ‘in the form of a trail of souveigne vous de moy hanging copiously with gilded silver leaves and fronds’, and a payment to others ‘for mending a collar of the Lord in the form of flowers of souveyne vous de moi …’ and ‘for a collar of esses and flowers of souveyne vous de moys’. The frequent – and exclusive – mentions of this flower image within Henry’s accounts, suggests that it may have been used as a rebus (a picture representing a word or phrase) standing for the motto ‘remember me’. Descriptions of the glazing of the Great Chamber Henry commissioned at Eltham Palace (Fig. 3) after he became king state that one window contained the inscription ‘soueignex vous du moy’.
The esses of the collar almost certainly represent an exhortation to remember someone – but whom? Without specific evidence, speculation is unavoidable. One suggestion is that it may relate to a request by Henry’s mother Blanche of Lancaster, that her children and husband remember her, a promise honoured by her husband John of Gaunt when he chose to be buried by her side rather than next to his other wives. Another possibility is that they were the final words spoken to John by his father Edward III or his brother, Edward, the Black Prince (1330–76). Following the overthrow of Henry VI in 1461 and the coronation of the victorious Duke of York as Edward IV (b. 1442, ruled 1461–70 and 1471–83) examples of the Yorkist badge of a sun and rose, or of a rose en soleil (a rose within a sunburst) can often be found in stained glass windows.
See further the Books section of the current issue. For other windows from Great Malvern Priory, see the CVMA Picture Archive.
R. A. Brown, H. M. Colvin and A. J. Taylor, History of the King’s Works: The Middle Ages, 2 vols, London, 1963, II, p. 935.
Cleveland Museum of Art
Readers interested in armour made between 1500 and 1650 will be thrilled by a new exhibition at the Cleveland Museum of Art, Ohio (USA), where more than 200 helmets, harnesses and weaponry from the Landeszeughaus (regional armoury) in Graz, the capital of the Austrian state of Styria, will be on display until the 1 June.
Although no stained glass is being shown, similarities between some of the exhibits and images that appear in glass provide fascinating lines of study. For example, a jousting helmet, otherwise known as a helm, made c.1500 can be compared to heraldic displays in stained glass.
For information about opening hours and ticket prices to see Arms and Armour from Imperial Austria, visit the museum’s website, which includes highlights from the exhibition. For details of the exhibition catalogue, see the Books section of the current issue.
New Books from Paul Holberton
Two books recently issued by specialist art publisher, Paul Holberton, include interesting features about stained glass.
André Beauneveu – “No Equal in any Land” is the catalogue of a recent exhibition in Bruges (Belgium) devoted to the life of one of the greatest European artists of the fourteenth century. Born in Valenciennes c.1335, André Beauneveu worked for the courts of France and Flanders as a sculptor and a designer of royal tombs. The last years of his life were spent in Bourges, where he produced sculptures, manuscript illuminations, and stained glass designs for Jean, Duc de Berry. The catalogue includes a beautifully illustrated chapter on the glazing of the duke’s now demolished Saint Chapelle in the city (Fig. 1). The scheme was described by a Florentine diplomat as possessing ‘luminous colours … so strong that the sun can not go through them’. Twelve windows from this chapel were transferred to Bourges Cathedral in 1757, although only five survived the Revolution. Repaired and rearranged, they show twenty standing figures, of whom thirteen appear to be Apostles or evangelists, four seem to be prophets, two may be Church fathers, and one a Sibyl (female prophet). According to Dr Susie Nash of London’s Courtauld Institute of Art, the faces of these figures ‘ bear close comparison’ to those of twenty-four large miniatures showing prophets and Apostles sitting on thrones painted by Beauneveu for a Psalter (Book of Psalms) for the Duke in the 1390s.
The second Paul Holberton book of interest is Art of the Middle Ages, the catalogue of a major exhibition held in New York last year by the London based art dealer, Sam Fogg. Apart from manuscripts, sculpture and metalwork, the catalogue illustrates a panel showing Joseph’s Dream, ascribed to the Abbey of St Denis, Paris, c.1140–45; a French panel from Picardy(?) showing St George fighting the dragon, c.1420–30; a panel, possibly from Tournai, attributed to the Flemish artist, Arnoult de Nimègue (Arnold of Nijmegen), c.1500 (Fig. 2); a set of five roundels from Southern Germany, c.1510–20 from designs by Hans Schäufelein (c.1482 – 1539/40); and a donor panel from Cologne, c.1535.
See the Books section of the current issue for further details.
Stained Glass Study Weekend in Canterbury
The Stained Glass Museum is organising a study weekend in Canterbury, Friday 18 – Sunday 20 April. Friday will be spent visiting various locations in east Kent, including Bishopsbourne, Patrixbourne, Nackington, Wickhambreaux, Salmestone Grange, Ramsgate and Upper Hardres (Fig. 1), where a variety of glass from different periods will be seen.
Saturday will be dedicated to a tour of Cantebury Cathedral (Fig. 2), while Sunday will be given over to a visit to the Cathedral Stained Glass Studio. For further details of the weekend including costs and how to book, visit the museum’s website.
To see more images from the churches mentioned visit the CVMA Picture Archive.
Glass at Glencairn
A five-day intensive course devoted to medieval stained-glass techniques will be held at the Glencairn Museum, Bryn Athyn, Pennsylvania (USA), from 14 to 18 April. This will be followed by a ‘Sunday Glass Sunday’ on April 20, which will include demonstrations of glass blowing and a tour of the museum’s magnificent collection of medieval glass. For further details visit the museum’s website.
The Glencairn collection was formed in the 1920s by Raymond Pitcairn. In 1982, parts of the collection were exhibited at the Metropolitan Museum in New York. Used copies of the catalogue for this exhibition – Radiance and Reflection by Jane Hayward and Walter Cahn – are available from internet booksellers.
Cranach the Elder and Stained Glass
The opening of the first major exhibition in Britain devoted to the German painter Lucas Cranach the Elder (1472–1553, Fig. 1) will provide an unprecedented opportunity for visitors to see seventy of this artist’s finest works. But while the event itself is not to be missed, the mystery of ‘what’s missing’ from the show will also fascinate anyone interested in stained glass. Despite producing large numbers of panel paintings (including devotional images and secular portraits), wall-paintings, and prints for books and textiles during his lifetime, Cranach never seems to have made designs for stained glass, unlike his contemporaries such as Albrecht Dürer (1471–1528) and Hans Baldung Grien (c.1484–1545). Why not?
Before exploring some answers to this intriguing problem, a few words about Cranach himself. Born in Kronach (Franconia) around 1472, Cranach was appointed court painter to the powerful Elector of Saxony, Frederick III (Fig. 2), in 1505, a position he held for the rest of his life, even under Frederick’s successors, John the Steadfast and Frederick the Magnanimous. Frederick’s court was based at the Saxon capital of Wittenberg, where Cranach also formed his famous friendship with the protestant reformer Martin Luther (1483–1546). Although it is unclear when their friendship began, by 1520 it was sufficiently entrenched for Luther to be godfather to Cranach’s newly born daughter, Anna. Five years later, when Luther decided to marry, it was Cranach who conveyed his marriage proposal to the former nun, Katharina von Bora. During the next two decades, Cranach created dozens of portraits of Luther. As such he has been called ‘the artist of the Reformation’.
To try and find some answers to the puzzles surrounding Cranach and stained glass, Vidimus spoke to Dr Hartmut Scholz of the German CVMA (Freiburg). ‘Did Cranach ever produce designs for stained glass? This is a fascinating yet very difficult question to answer,’ he explained. ‘None of the experts on Cranach’s life and output seem to have thought about the question in any depth. To make matters worse, very little late-medieval glass survives in Saxony, making it impossible to compare and contrast in situ windows with other work by Cranach and his circle.
‘Suggestions that he may have objected to painting traditional catholic imagery can be dismissed out of hand. Cranach produced exquisite altar paintings [Fig. 4] and Luther was not an iconoclast.
‘Two possible answers carry real weight. The first borrows heavily from the experience of stained-glass production in Cologne in the first three decades of the sixteenth century. Art historians have long believed that panel painters and glass-painters in the city must have shared designs and artistic ideas. Similarities between glass paintings and the work of panel painters such as Bartholomew Bruyn have been identified. Yet despite everything they seem to have had in common, not a single design for a stained-glass window has been found linking the different artists.
‘Perhaps a similar arrangement existed in Saxony with glass painters and members of Cranach’s workshop influencing one another without the latter producing formal designs for stained glass in the same way as Dürer and Baldung did. Maybe we are judging Cranach by the wrong standards. Certainly some of Cranach’s known work would have been very transferable to glass. For example, two early sixteenth-century panels showing the Adoration of the Magi and the Creation of Eve, formerly in St Mary’s Church, Pirna (near Dresden), and now in the Town Museum, are suggestive of Cranach’s style [Fig 5 and 6]. Perhaps the CVMA volume on Saxonia will uncover better examples.
‘An alternative possibility is that traditions of glass painting were weak in Saxony during the period of Cranach’s ascendancy, with correspondingly fewer opportunities for him to make designs. Certainly we know that important donors in the region imported windows, especially from Nuremberg (and probably Augsburg) for their churches. Examples of such imported glass are recorded at Zwickau (now lost) and at Eisleben (Sachsen-Anhalt), St Anne’s Church, where they can still be seen today [Figs 7 and 8]. The latter windows were executed by the Veit Hirsvogel workshop in Nuremberg for Earl Albrecht VII of Mansfeld and other noblemen of the region who gave them to the church in 1514.
‘If Saxony lacked a strong glass-painting workshop base in the early sixteenth century, it may explain why Cranach was not as productive as artists in Nuremburg where the craft thrived. Such differences between regions may have also been a factor in drawing artists like Hans Kulmbach (1485–1522) to Dürer’s circle. Maybe they felt that Nuremburg provided greater opportunities than other cities for them to work with stained glass.’
The Cranach exhibition at the Royal Academy, London, will be on view from 12 March to 8 June. For details of opening times and admission fees visit the academy’s website. To see the Städel Museum’s Cranach pages, visit the museum’s website.
Vidimus is extremely grateful to Dr Scholz for his pioneering work on this fascinating question. If any reader has other views or information about Cranach and stained glass, please write to us at Vidimus.