Thirteenth-Century Wall Painting of Salisbury Cathedral: Art, Liturgy and Reform
Thirteenth-Century Wall Painting of Salisbury Cathedral: Art, Liturgy and Reform by Matthew M. Reeve. A recently published, well-reviewed book on the important wall-paintings in the ceilings and vaults of Salisbury Cathedral. Hardback; 17 colour illustrations; 42 b/w illustrations; 232 pages. 24.4 x 17.2 cm. ISBN: 9781843833314. Price: 90 USD or 45 GBP, available from Boydell and Brewer.
Winchester Cathedral Stained Glass
Winchester Cathedral Stained Glass by Mary Calle. The medieval glass of Winchester Cathedral is often overlooked by visitors. Scholarly audiences are also poorly served, as the last published accounts of the glass appeared nearly eighty years ago.
Now Mary Calle and the Friends of the Cathedral have provided an excellent, pocket-size, introductory guide to the cathedral’s rich collection of stained glass. Dividing the window glazing into three separate periods (medieval and Tudor; destruction and revival (1538 to the end of the eighteenth century); and finally modern (1850 onwards)), the author conducts the reader around the cathedral, explaining and identifying its early glass and, wherever possible, the patrons who commissioned the schemes and the artists they employed.
Traces of work by Thomas Glazier of Oxford for Bishop William Wykeham (d.1404) are identified in the Great West Window [Fig. 5], while figures in the nave dating to c.1402–25 are likened to comparative work in nearby Winchester College [Fig. 3]. Glass made by Thomas’s son, John Glazier, in the presbytery clerestory of around 1450, includes feathered seraphs in the tracery lights and figures of prophets standing in niches under elaborate canopies. Later pre-Reformation glass commissioned by Bishop Fox between 1505 and 1528 is also described. Visitors are encouraged to look at some remarkable glass in the famous Guardian Angels Chapel [Fig. 4]. This includes panels of thirteenth-century grisaille glass from Salisbury Cathedral and six small fifteenth-century heads found in a summerhouse in Shrewsbury. It is possible that these were sold as ‘left-overs’ by Betton and Evans, a Shrewsbury-based firm that restored the chapel glass from Winchester College in the early nineteenth century.
The book is also packed with information about Victorian glass in the cathedral, which includes work by Clayton & Bell, Charles Eamer Kempe, and William Morris & Co. The work of twentieth-century artists such as Christopher Whall and Hugh Easton is also described, as is the contribution of Alfred Fisher of Chapel Studios.
The book finishes with a description of how a stained glass window is made, a diagrammatic guide to the glazing, and a useful bibliography. With full colour photographs on almost every page and costing only £5 plus postage, this is a well-written, value for money publication that fills a major gap in recent literature about the cathedral.
To buy a copy, write to The Friends of Winchester Cathedral, 2 The Close, Winchester SO23 7ER, or email them.
Lumières, formes et couleurs. Mélanges en hommage à Yvette Vanden Bemden
Lumières, formes et couleurs. Mélanges en hommage à Yvette Vanden Bemden, edited by Claire de Ruyt, Isabelle Lecocq, Michel Lefftz and Mathieu Piavaux. Presses Universitaires de Namur, Namur 2008. 408 pages, illustrations in black and white, 22 plates in colour, price € 47.77.
This handsome volume is a tribute to Yvette Vanden Bemden, a distinguished scholar and international authority in the field of Flemish Renaissance stained glass, who has served the cause of the Corpus Vitrearum for forty years. The book was published on the occasion of her retirement, celebrating her twenty-five years as Professor of Art History at the University of Namur. It includes three essays on Yvette’s professional and academic achievements, an impressive bibliography of her work, and thirty-three papers on a variety of subjects.
Written by Yvette’s colleagues and friends, over half of the essays concern, not surprisingly, stained glass or related matters by renowned Corpus Vitrearum specialists from Austria, Belgium, France, Great Britain, Italy, the Netherlands, Portugal, Switzerland and the United States. [Fig. 6. Book cover]
The earliest glass featured in the book belongs to Chartres Cathedral, made in 1210–1220 (bay 18). It depicts the life of Thomas Becket, and was installed just a few decades after his murder in Canterbury in 1170. Of the thirteenth-century Becket windows at Sens, Coutances, Angers and Chartres, the latter is the most detailed and best preserved. However, the most recent restoration campaign has revealed that the lowermost section, comprising four scenes from the life of the saint, while similar in composition and pattern to other parts of the window is, fact, of a later date. [Fig. 7. The Chartres window glass. © Centre André Chastel (UMR 8150); photograph by Céline Gumiel] Claudine Lautier attributes these panels to the same workshop that glazed the nave of the abbey church of Saint-Pierre in Chartres between 1305 and 1315. A surviving glazing contract from 1317 provides evidence of regular maintenance of the cathedral’s windows from an early date, although the most important restorations, equal to those in the nineteenth century, would only take place in the fifteenth century. As the panels depict scenes occurring later in the life of Thomas Becket than those shown higher in the window, Claudine Lautier suggests that by the fourteenth century the subject of the original glass in the lowest register was already lost and forgotten.
Another fascinating essay is by Marina de Nunzio, which discusses the long-established attribution of a Crucifixion panel made shortly after 1345 for the church of St Augustine in Perugia by the artist Giovanni di Bonino from Arezzo. The panel is now in the Galleria Nazionale of Umbria in the same city. Questions of attribution play a role in various other contributions. Brigitte Kurmann-Schwarz traces the activity of Basel glass-painters around 1450 in cities belonging to the diocese of Basel, while Caterina Pirina discusses a glass-painter, Jean Bourdichon from Lyon, whose work she recognizes in the Renaissance windows of the collegiate church of Aosta in Italy. Pedro Redol explores the phenomenon of painter and glass-painter in the same person, such as Francisco Henriques who possibly contributed to the creation of windows for the monastery of Batalha in Portugal around 1514. A workshop in late-medieval Norwich, which was led after 1485 by William Heyward, glazier, could have even worked in a larger number of media. On the basis of combined evidence from documents and a number of artefacts, David King suggests that this workshop produced not only glass, but brasses, wall-paintings and painted woodwork too. [Fig. 8. Glass painting of St Mary Magdalene, attributed to the William Heywood workshop, East Harling Church, Norfolk; Fig. 9. Rood screen painting of St Cecilia attributed to the William Heywood workshop, North Elmham Church, Norfolk, c.1470–1490]
Contributions on Netherlandish glass abound, including Myriam Serck-Dewaide’s essay, to my knowledge the first overview of the depiction of stained glass windows in Flemish retables of the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries. The backgrounds of the sculptured scenes often evoke church interiors with plain, leaded quarry windows, as well as figurative ones. The windows are sometimes polychromed with a bluish tint for the sky, as if seen through the glass. The Passion retable in the church of St Martin of the ancient priory of Ambierle in France (Loire), commissioned in 1466 from Brussels, includes a superb example of a historiated window. The representation of the kneeling donor couple on either side of St Peter recalls the portrayals of the donors on the painted wings of the retable. By comparison, the retables of the great German sculptor Tilman Riemenschneider (c.1460–1531) are either open towards the back, the scenes being illuminated by the windows of the church proper, or the carved windows are glazed with miniature Butzenscheiben.
Among Flemish churches in the province of Antwerp with ‘real’ Renaissance stained glass, the Sint-Catharinakerk in Hoogstraten takes pride of place, on account of the number of its windows preserved and the homogeneity of their execution. The church and its glazing date back to the second quarter of the sixteenth century, due to the patronage of the first Count of Hoogstraten, Antonis van Lalaing (1480–1540), and his close family, whose seignory was in 1518 elevated to the rank of a county. While the profound restorations of J. B. Capronnier, undertaken around the middle of the nineteenth century, to two of the six windows in the clerestory of the choir are well known, other work has been attributed to Matthys Claes, the son of the initial glass-painter Claes Matthyssen. The latter assumption was based on the date 1571 in the two easternmost windows of the northern clerestory. Thanks to the examination by Aletta Rambaut of these two windows and the neighbouring glass from 1528, which took place just before they were reinstalled in 2003 after their latest conservation, we now know better. The dates 1571 are written either on entirely restored panes or have been partly scratched out and modified. Since both windows contain large quantities of painted glass of similar style and execution as the original windows of the clerestory made between 1528–1533, their omission from the 1968 Corpus Vitrearum study (Belgium, volume II, being the only Corpus volume to date treating windows from the first half of the sixteenth century that were not researched and written by Yvette Vanden Bemden), should be addressed in the future.
The remaining contributions dealing with Netherlandish glass focus on roundels or unipartite panels from the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries, recognizing Yvette’s pioneering role in studying this medium. These panels, all dispersed, are in public or private collections. With one exception, the Joseph series originating from the Hospital in Lier (Antwerp province, now in the Musées royaux d’Art et d’Histoire in Brussels), these essays deal with unpublished or not widely known glass. Isabelle Lecocq and Catheline Périer-d’Ieteren each focus on fifteenth-century examples from the story of Tobit and the series of Seven Sacraments, in a Belgian private collection and the Museo Civico Mediovale (Bologna) respectively. They also discuss related drawings and other roundels that may have belonged to the same series, as does Kees Berserik when highlighting among others two unipartite panels from his own precious collection. The Sleeping Tobit [Fig. 10. The Sleeping Tobit © K. Berserik] betrays the influence of Hugo van der Goes, while an allegorical scene The Way to Salvation is clearly the work of the Gouda glass-painter Dirck Crabeth from c.1560. The activity of the younger brother of Dirck, Wouter Crabeth, is the subject of my own essay. It is a first attempt to assemble a small œuvre of unipartite panels by this lesser-known glass-painter, which are now, sadly enough, all in Great Britain. They were sold from the Netherlands in the nineteenth century, or even later, and are integrated in the windows of the churches of Cholmondeley (Cheshire), Malpas (Cheshire), Shrewsbury (Shropshire), and West Wycombe (Buckinghamshire). Best preserved is the glass panel The Victories of Joshua in the conquest of Canaan, alas without its original arched top, in a private collection in Suffolk [Fig. 11. The Victories of Joshua in the conquest of Canaan, private collection, England].
Essays on nineteenth- and twentieth-century Belgian glass-painters (Henri Dobbelaere and Jean Wyss) reflect Yvette’s wide-ranging interest in stained glass. Dobbelaere’s designs for windows in the church of St Aegidius in Raach (Lower Austria) have been rediscovered by Elisabeth Oberhaidacher. Slightly later ornamental windows of a completely different character by the French Félix Gaudin in Caudry (North France) form the subject of the essay of Jean-François Luneau. His colleague, Françoise Gatouillat, contemplates the fortunes of the highly important French draughtsman and pioneer of stained glass, Henry Gerente (1814–1849). Despite his short career as a glass-painter and designer in the last five years of his life, he is omnipresent in the literature on stained glass on account of the important restorations he executed alongside with Viollet-le-Duc. The works initiated by Henry, such as the restoration of Sainte-Chapelle in Paris, were completed by his younger brother Alfred, who continued the workshop at Ile Saint-Louis. The brothers are also well known in Great Britain for their work at Ely Cathedral, Filby, Ashwell, Scarborough, Bury St Edmunds, Newark, Preston, and elsewhere.
The contributions by distinguished Belgian authors, art historians and restorers, about (monumental) painting, sculpture, metalwork, books and ornament from the Middle Ages to the present day testify to Yvette’s breadth of interests. She taught not only art history from the medieval to modern periods, but also contemporary art. As a result, Pierre-Jean Foulon discusses late twentieth-century artists’ books in Bartleby & Co. editions, while Carl van de Velde considers the three modelli by the famous Flemish painter Jacob Jordaens, made in preparation for his painting The Triumph of Prince Frederik Hendrik of Orange for the Huis ten Bosch Palace in The Hague. An overview of the conservation and restoration of the treasures of Mosan art from the collegiate church of Notre-Dame in Huy at the atelier of KIK/IRPA in Brussels (by Gilberte Dewanckel) extends the chronology of the book to the twelfth century. Most contributions in this informative compilation are written in French, with a few in English and Dutch. There are, alas, no summaries in other languages.
Dr Zsuzsanna van Ruyven-Zeman