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Some of the most important medieval glass in South Yorkshire has been badly severely damaged by vandals. The glass in window sIV at St Peter’s church, Conisbrough, included two panels of late fifteenth-century glass, one including a head of the Virgin Mary and the other the head of St Blaise, a martyred fourth century bishop of Sebaste (modern Sivas in Armenia), who was the patron saint of wool-combers and the wool trade. The latter was knocked out of its lead during a frenzy of destruction which saw several other windows smashed, chairs overturned, and a display board trashed.
CVMA author and Sheffield diocesan stained-glass advisor, Brian Sprakes, spoke to Vidimus about the damage: ‘The Conisbrough image of St Blaise is the only surviving representation of this saint in the West Riding of Yorkshire. He had a strong appeal to local hill farmers. His face seems to have been targeted by the vandals. Five panels in the lower row of a Victorian east window scheme depicting scenes from the life of Christ were broken with metal candlesticks and crosses. In some cases the holes are as large as footballs. Fortunately all of the larger fragments from the panel have been recovered and are now in safe hands – some were found two and three feet from the window in the grass around the church. Despite the severity of the damage, I am hopeful that the glass can be restored. Conservators from J. W. Burton’s workshop in York have already been to the church.’
It is a small consolation that the medieval glass at Conisbrough was published before it was vandalized. A full description appears in Brian Sprakes’ volume The Medieval Stained Glass of South Yorkshire, CVMA (GB) Summary Catalogue 7, Oxford, 2003, pp. 22–25.
Vidimus is grateful to local parishioner, Trevor Dudhill, and to Joseph Burton of J. W. Burton Stained Glass Ltd for their help with this item.
A panel thought to be the earliest known work of the York glass-painter Henry Gyles (1645–1709) has been conserved by Keith Barley Studios. The panel depicts the coat of arms of the York Merchant Taylors company and bears an inscription showing that it was ‘The guift of Simon Buckton Marchant Taylor, Ano Dni, 1662’ (Fig. 1).
Gyles would have been seventeen when he painted the panel. Although his father, Edmund, and his grandfather, Nicholas, were both glaziers, Henry was the first member of his family to have also been a glass-painter. He inscribed the reverse of the panel with the words ‘henry giles of yorke glas painter’ (Fig. 2) and added the words ‘Anno Domini’. Unfortunately the piece of glass on which he would have painted the date is missing, almost certainly replaced during an earlier restoration.
The panel was executed in silver stain and enamels, and has been restored on at last three previous occasions, on the earliest of these possibly by Gyles himself. The second restoration is commemorated in a panel associated with the coat of arms and reading ‘This coat of arms was restored at the cost of Christopher Annakin Master A.D. 1862’. In the current campaign, a third panel has been created reading ‘By the generosity of a member these panels were conserved in 2008’; this panel was designed by Helen Whittaker (Fig. 3).
All three panels have now been joined together to create a single light (Fig. 4) and returned to the Merchant Taylors Hall in York, a remarkable survival of a medieval guildhall. It was built in the fourteenth century by the Fraternity of St John the Baptist (an organization connected to the Taylors Guild) and reclad in brick in the seventeenth century.
The conservators working on the project were Keith Barley, Sabine Wiedemann, Helen Whittaker, Daniel Thomas, and Derek Manton. Vidimus is grateful to Keith Barley for his help with this item. All photographs are reproduced with the permission of the copyright holders, Keith Barley Studios.
Dr Trevor Brighton has attributed at least fifty-eight glass paintings to Henry Gyles. Many are discussed in the literature listed below.
J. T. Brighton, ‘The heraldic window in the Frescheville chapel of Staveley church’, Journal of the Derbyshire Archaeological and Natural History Society, lxxx (1960), pp. 98–104
J. T. Brighton, ‘The painted glass in Gray’s Court, York’, Yorkshire Archaeological Journal, xli (1963–6), pp. 709–25 (pt 1) and xlii (1967–70), pp. 61–62 (pt 2)
J. T. Brighton, ‘Cartoons for York glass—Henry Gyles’, Preview, City of York Art Gallery Quarterly, xxi (1968), pp. 772–75
J. T. Brighton, ‘The lost east window by Gyles of York’, University College Record, v/5 (1970), pp. 350–60
J. T. Brighton, ‘17th century painted glass in Witherslack church’, Transactions of the Cumberland and Westmorland Antiquarian and Archaeological Society, new ser., lxxii (1972), pp. 90–96
J. T. Brighton, ‘The lost Guildhall window, York’, York History, iii (1976), pp. 109–17
J. T. Brighton, ‘Henry Gyles, virtuoso and glass painter of York, 1645–1709’, York Historian, iv (1984), pp. 1–62
J. A. Knowles, ‘Glasspainters of York: the Gyles family’, Notes & Queries, 12th ser., ix (1921), pp. 312–15
J. A. Knowles, ‘Henry Gyles, glasspainter of York’, Walpole Society, xi (1922–33), pp. 47–72
See also the index in J. A. Knowles, Essays in the History of the York School of Glass Painting, London, 1936.
Plans for a new Stained Glass Centre in the redundant church of St Martin-cum-Gregory, Micklegate, York, will be highlighted during a special open day at the church on Saturday 13 September, 10.30 – 4.30pm. The centre’s Secretary, Sue Taylor, told Vidimus: ‘Visitors will be able to see what is proposed for the centre, as well as watching demonstrations of stained glass painting and techniques. The event will also provide an opportunity to see the wonderful glass in the church, which includes fourteenth-century windows (one with an image of St Martin sharing his cloak with a beggar) and eighteenth century panels by the York artist William Peckitt’.
For further information about the centre visit its website.
Vandals have shattered part of a stained-glass window by the artist Marc Chagall (1887–1985) at the cathedral of Saint-Etienne in Metz (France). The window was designed by Chagall in 1963 and depicts Adam and Eve.
The window was damaged when intruders broke into the church leaving a 24 by 16 inch (60 by 40cm) hole in the lower part of the third light. Conservators are confident that they can repair the window from the broken shards of glass. If the vandals are caught they face a stiff penalty: a new law in France allows for prison terms of up to seven years and fines of £75,000 for damaging cultural treasures.
A splendid exhibition of over 100 prints and drawings by the German artist Albert Dürer (1471–1528) is on show at the Museum of Biblical Art in New York until 21 September. ‘ALBRECHT DÜRER. Art in Transition: Masterpieces from the Graphic Collection of the Hessian State Museum, Darmstadt’ includes famous works such as St Jerome in His Study (1514), Adam and Eve (1504), and Christ Bearing the Cross from the Large Passion Series (1498–99), to name but just a few. The show also includes images from the Small Passion Series and The Life of the Virgin series. Prints from the eight woodblocks depicting The Great Triumphal Chariot, which Dürer created for Emperor Maximilian in 1522, are also featured in a show that is already attracting record numbers of visitors to the museum.
For information about opening times etc., visit the museum’s website.
After closing at MOBiA, the exhibition will travel to the Mobile Museum of Art, Mobile, Alabama (10 October 2008 – 5 January 2009), and then on to the Museum of Fine Arts, St Petersburg, Florida (17 January – April 2009). The exhibition is accompanied by a fully illustrated catalogue written by Dr. Mechthild Haas, Director of the Graphics Department at the Hessisches Landesmuseum; see the Books page of this issue for more details.
Vidimus is extremely grateful to Debbie Bujosa for her help with this item. All pictures are reproduced with the permission of the copyright holders, the Hessisches Landesmuseum, Darmstadt, Germany.
Report from Drs Kees Berserik of the Dutch CVMA.
The exhibition ‘Légendes Dorées: Rondels des anciens Pays-Bas du XVe au XVIIe siècle’ currently showing at the Vitromusée (the Musée Suisse du Vitrail et des Arts du Verre) in Romont is an absolute must for anyone interested in stained-glass roundels from the Low Countries and Germany. The exhibition includes sixty-two roundels and three larger panels from private collections in Germany, The Netherlands and Switzerland, as well as four roundels from the collection of the Romont museum itself.
The roundels are shown in lightboxes and are grouped more or less by iconography. They are placed in front of large slides showing modern landscapes of Flanders, which in some cases makes a quite interesting contrast. Apart from this exhibition, parts of the permanent collection of the museum can be seen, including an impressive number of glass-paintings executed entirely with back-painting dating from the late sixteenth to the early twentieth centuries from the former collection of Ruth and Frieder Ryser.
The exhibition will last until 2 November 2008. Visitors to the exhibition receive a free guide, and a well-illustrated catalogue of the roundels from the German private collection is also available. Opening times: every day (except Monday), 10.00-13.00 and 14.00-18.00. For further details, visit the museum’s website.
An early sixteenth-century panel showing Christ in the house of Simon the leper was sold by London auctioneers, Sotheby’s, in July. It was bought for £11,875 by the Leuven City Museum. The panel measures 23¼ by 17¾ in. (59 by 45cm).
Made around 1520–30 in Leuven (southern Netherlands), possibly for a Carthusian abbey cloister, the panel is thought to have come from the same series as twelve others now in The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York. The story of Christ’s visit to Simon’s house is told in Matthew XXVI, 6 and Mark XIV, 3.
Madeline H. Caviness (ed.), Stained Glass before 1700 in American Collections: New England and New York States, Studies in the History of Art, XV, Washington, 1985, pp. 144–47.
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The Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York has acquired an important sixteenth-century design for a stained-glass window by the Netherlandish artist Lucas van Leyden (c.1494–1533). The drawing shows the Archangel Gabriel announcing the birth of Christ and is thought to be a pendant to a drawing by the same artist depicting the Virgin looking up from her book, now in the Kupferstichkabinett, Berlin. Executed in pen and brown ink with traces of squaring in black chalk, the drawing is monogrammed by the artist and was probably made in the 1520s.
Lucas van Leyden was one of the greatest artists of the Northern Netherlands in the first half of the sixteenth century. Although a prolific print maker, his drawings are extremely rare, with only twenty-eight, including the one just acquired by the Metropolitan, accepted as authentic by scholars. The drawing will be among the exhibits shown during a forthcoming exhibition at the museum to commemorate the retirement of its distinguished director, Philippe de Montebelle (24 October 2008 – 1 February 2009). For details of the exhibition, which will be held in the museum’s Tisch Galleries, visit the museum’s website.
Detailed images of the Charlemagne Window at Chartres Cathedral (Figs 1, 2) can now be seen on the website of the Centre André Chastel, where a dedicated team under the directorship of CVMA International Vice-President Claudine Lautier (Fig. 3) publishes a steady stream of beautifully illustrated scholarly catalogues on French medieval stained glass.
For further information about the Centre André Chastel and a list of its recent publications, visit the centre’s website.
Participants attending July’s immaculately organised colloquium in Zurich were treated to a range and richness of material far greater than might have been expected from the conference theme. Held in Karl Moser’s impressive university building, a programme of consistently good lectures interpreted the ‘single panel’ broadly, in terms of both the glass itself and approaches to its display, study and interpretation.
Beginning with the extraordinary discovery of a ninth-century head of Christ at San Vincenzo al Volturno, speakers covered much ground, from La Vierge de la Belle-Verrière at Chartres to a seventeenth-century Jesuit scheme in the Collège de la Compagnie de Jésus in Rome. Joost Caen and Cornelis Berserik’s authoritative presentation on the production of Flemish unipartite panels was ably complemented by Zsuzsanna van Ruyven-Zeman’s discussion of their original settings. The portable character of roundels and armorials ensured an ‘after-life’ in the hands of the grand tourists of the eighteenth century and the dealers, collectors and museums following in their wake. Discussion of attitudes to the re-presentation of glass panels included Aletta Rambaut’s excellent account of displays past and present at the Ghent City Museum (due to re-open Autumn 2009), David O’Connor’s reconstruction of an early nineteenth-century private scheme (Longleat House), and Madeline Caviness’s exposition on the meaning, now and in the past, of Kabinettscheiben.
The thoughtfully conceived visits programme, which embraced the work of Chagall, Augusto Giacometti and Clement Heaton, as well as the stunning fifteenth-century choir glazing at Bern Cathedral, also included an opportunity – rare for the British contingent at least – to see glazed cloisters. Wettingen, a Cistercian house, retains thirteenth-century glass, as well as an extensive later scheme, while Muri impresses with the sheer quality of its sixteenth-century panels and the choreography of their arrangement, determined by the type and status of each patron. It was an honour to see the spectacular – and conserved – glazing at Königsfelden in the company of Dr Brigitte Kurmann-Schwarz, whose monograph was launched during the Colloquium visit. It was instructive too to compare a mausoleum of the fourteenth century with one of the sixteenth, the Diesbach chapel at the Château de Pérolles embodying a very different approach to dynastic commemoration from the Habsburg’s double-house foundation.
The proceedings culminated, with generous hospitality and fantastic coffee, at the inspirational Vitromusée in Romont. Here, in addition to the permanent collections, a stunning exhibition of roundels (‘Légendes Dorées: Rondels des anciens Pays-Bas du XVe au XVIIe siècle’) can be seen until 2 November 2008.
The 2008 annual conference of the Society of Glass Technology will take place from Wednesday 10 until Friday 12 September at the University of Cambridge. In a change to the programme, Claire Daunton from the University of East Anglia (Fig. 1) will replace Rosie Mills from the Stained Glass Museum, Ely, as one of the keynote speakers in the ‘Historic Glass’ section of the conference. Claire will speak about her ongoing research into the patrons of stained glass in medieval Norfolk, and will give an update about the Hungate Medieval Art Project, which hopes to use the redundant church of St Peter Hungate in Norwich as an exhibition centre for medieval art in Norfolk, with a particular focus on stained glass. One of the works intended for this project is a fourteenth-century panel of the Evangelist St Matthew now in Norwich Cathedral (Fig. 2).
The session will also hear from Belgian conservator Hilde Wouters about the conservation of 15,000 plain and painted shards of window glass excavated at Dunes Abbey, one of the most important Cistercian monasteries in medieval Flanders (Fig. 3). On Thursday 11 September, delegates will visit King’s College Chapel to see the famous early sixteenth century glass.
For further details about the society and its work, including last-minute booking information about the conference, visit the society’s website.
Following conservation at Claude and Fabrice Courageux’s workshop in Crevecoeur-le-Grand (Picardy), an important panel from the outstandingly beautiful Tree of Jesse Window in Saint-Etienne, Beauvais (Fig. 1), has been reinstated in the church (Figs 2, 3). The window was made around 1525 by Engrand Le Prince, one of four members of a family workshop based in Beauvais, and shows the genealogical tree of Christ’s earthly and spiritual ancestors, including kings Solomon (Fig. 4) and David.
Engrand (d. 1530) has been called ‘perhaps the greatest glass painter who lived’ by French CVMA author Françoise Perrot. Little is known about his personal life, though the middle prophet in the right-hand light of the window may be a self-portrait of the artist; his sleeve bears the inscription ‘ENGR’ (Fig. 5). Perrot’s assessment has been echoed by Sarah Brown, CVMA (GB) Chairman, who has described the recently restored panel showing a king emerging from a flower as, ‘a technical tour de force in the use of abraded ruby glass and yellow stain’. Windows made by other members of the Le Prince family can also be seen in the same church. A window chronicling the legend of St Claudius (Claude) is signed by Jean and Nicholas Le Prince (Fig. 6). A window depicting the Virgin of Loretto and dated 1530 is signed by Pierre le Prince.
Apart from his work at Saint-Etienne, Engrand le Prince is known to have made windows for Beauvais Cathedral (Fig. 7), Saint-Martin in Montmorency, and Saint-Vincent in Rouen (now in the Musée de Rouen). French CVMA author Michel Hérold has added the St Claudius Window in Saint-Gervais-Saint-Protais at Gisors (dated 1526) to this list.
All the photographs were taken by Roger Rosewell.
J. Lafond, ‘L’Arbre de Jesse d’Engrand Le Prince à Saint-Etienne de Beauvais’, Cahiers de la Ceramique, du Verre et des Arts du Feu, xxx (1963), pp. 117–27
J. Lafond, ‘Les vitraux’, in Victor Leblond, L’Église Saint-Etienne de Beauvais, Petites Monographies des Grands Edifices de la France, Paris, 1929, pp. 65–115
For a discussion of Engrand le Prince’s life and a full list of references to the French literature, see the useful endnotes in Michael Cothren, ‘Why did Louis de Roncherolles commission a stained-glass window for Beauvais in 1522?’, Art Bulletin, lxxxiii (March 2001), pp. 7–31.
The new Stained Glass Research School in the History of Art Department at the University of York hosted a well-attended study day on nineteenth-century stained glass on Saturday 21 June. Jasmine Allen reports.
The first lecturer was Dr Jim Cheshire, the author of Stained Glass and the Victorian Gothic Revival (see the Books page of the current issue), who spoke about ‘Stained Glass, Patronage and Parochial Politics’ in the nineteenth century. By immersing stained glass in the wide contexts of contemporary visual culture, comparisons were made between the creative identities of Victorian artists, glaziers and writers. Dr Cheshire balanced this wide-ranging interdisciplinary approach with specific case studies such as the glazing of the parish church of Skelton-cum-Newby (North Yorkshire, Fig. 1) and the much larger scheme at Lincoln Cathedral.
At Skelton, the ‘Christ as Consoler’ windows (Fig. 1) were commissioned by Lord Ripon (1827–1909) and made by Saunders & Co to designs by the ‘Gothic’ architect William Burges (1827–1881). The cartoons were drawn by one of Burges’ closest collaborators, the artist Frederick Weekes (1833–1920), and the work was carried out between 1871 and 1876. For Lincoln, Dr Cheshire also discussed the unity and eclecticism of stained glass made for the cathedral in the 1850s and 1860s. Two windows were highlighted. A window in the south nave aisle of 1847 made by William Wailes (1808–1881) showing scenes from the stories of Jacob, Abraham and Noah, and another in the south-east transept dating from 1854 depicting the story of St Paul made by George Caleb Hedgeland (1825–1898). The Wailes window (Fig. 2) was commissioned in memory of Prebendary Sir Charles Anderson, Bart.; the Hedgeland window commemorates Bishop John Kaye (Fig. 3).
Following this consideration of the socio-cultural aspects of Victorian stained glass, the next speaker, Dr Sally Rush from the University of Glasgow, raised further questions about the relationship between nineteenth-century stained glass and fine-art traditions. Her combined historical and visual exploration of sixteenth-century fresco painting, tapestry designs, and mid-nineteenth-century stained glass provided a valuable insight into the glass painter’s treatment of narrative history painting. Great art was disseminated through reproductions in print media, graphic studios and glaziers’ pattern books in the nineteenth century. Dr Rush spoke of the influence of public museums, government schools of design, and select committees of taste on fresco and glazing schemes. In particular, she explored notable Scottish commissions that were given to artists from the Munich school, such as those at Glasgow Cathedral (replaced shortly after installation) and the Parliament Hall in Edinburgh. We discovered that the compositions of both fresco paintings and stained-glass windows were dependant upon ‘simplicity, magnitude, and distinctness’.
Next, CVMA author David O’Connor drew our attention to the little-known ornamental glass by the London decorative glazier, Francis Tenant Odell, in Alfred Waterhouse’s Manchester Town Hall (Figs 4, 5). The glazing in this renowned Gothic revival building shows the Victorians’ diverse use of glass in domestic and civic buildings. None of the glass is painted; instead, pieces of coloured glass are leaded together forming patterns that decorate the windows with abstract forms. The combined use of bulls’ eyes from pieces of crown glass, etching, and carefully-selected pale tinted glass has produced a harmonious effect.
Once we had been reminded that Victorian ornamental glass is worthy of serious attention, Peter Cormack gave some critical perspectives on stained glass and William Morris. In particular, he explored Morris’s ‘modern’ treatment of glass material and his commitment to contemporary nineteenth-century artists and their designs (Fig. 6). We entered into detailed analysis of the types of glass and techniques used by Morris & Co. Even those familiar with stained glass associated with Morris benefited from Peter’s immense knowledge and personal thoughts on how this firm both gained and departed from mid-Victorian glazing traditions to become pioneers of a movement unprecedented in the history of stained glass.
A lively discussion followed, in which speakers and attendees debated the many varied and interdisciplinary approaches to the study of nineteenth-century stained glass. The successful day brought together notable speakers, medieval and Victorian historians, researchers, stained-glass conservationists, and members of stained glass bodies from around the UK. It also raised awareness of the proposed opening of a Stained Glass Centre in the redundant Grade I listed church of St Martin-cum-Gregory, Micklegate, York.
19–21 September. Conference devoted to medieval art and architecture at Bristol Cathedral, organized by Bristol University’s Medieval Centre. The conference will be held at Clifton Hill House and will feature CVMA (GB) Chairman, Sarah Brown, lecturing on the medieval glass of Bristol Cathedral. See Vidimus no. 20 (July/August 2008) for further details.
25 October. ICON conference ‘Stained glass conservation Techniques: Part & Present’. See Vidimus no. 19 (June 2008).
Until November 2. Wonderful exhibition of Flemish roundels at the Vitromusée, Romont, Switzerland (‘Légendes Dorées: Rondels des anciens Pays-Bas du XVe au XVIIe siècle’). See Vidimus no. 20 (July/August 2008) for further details.
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