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After nearly twenty five years of conservation and repair at St Mary’s church, Fairford (Gloucestershire), the ‘beginning of the end’ is in sight. In October 2008, windows sVI and sVII were reinstated after an eighteen-month absence during which they underwent restoration in Keith Barley’s studios near York. ‘We currently have sVIII and nIX in our workshop’, Keith told our reporter. ‘When they are reinstated, we will remove the final pair, nVII and nVIII.’ [Fig. 1. Diagram of St Mary’s church: windows sVI and sVII; Fig. 2. Reinstating sVII: St Thomas]
‘We are working very closely with the Friends of Fairford Church, without whose efforts these windows would never have been restored. The role of the Friends in caring for these windows cannot be understated. Our current plan is to finish the conservation work by May 2010, by which time all the windows will have been fitted with isothermal protective glazing and the glass thoroughly cleaned and repaired.’ [Fig. 3. Keith Barley (right) takes a last look at sVII: St James]
The Fairford glazing was installed between 1500–1515 and is the most complete set of medieval glass in England. sVI and sVII each show four of the Twelve Apostles holding a text attributed to them from the Apostles’ Creed. All the inscriptions are in Latin. Angels and saints fill the tracery lights above. The remaining four Apostles are in window sVIII. East to west, the main lights in sVII depict: St Thomas; St James the Less; St Philip; and St Bartholomew. [Fig. 4. sVII reinstated; Fig. 5. Detail of the angel at base of the pedestal below St Bartholomew. He holds a scroll inscribed ‘bartholo’, as in ‘bartholo[meus]’]
The Apostles’ Creed is a summary of Christian belief. The medieval church believed erroneously that it had been compiled by the Apostles themselves with each of the twelve contributing a sentence or article.
An excellent introduction is S. Brown and L. MacDonald, Fairford Parish Church: A Medieval Church and its Stained Glass, 2007 (revised edition).
A new centre devoted to stained glass and other medieval arts from Norfolk will open in Norwich next year. The museum will be based at the (now redundant) parish church of St Peter Hungate, already renowned for its superb fifteenth-century roof and remains of original glazing. [Fig. 7. Fifteenth century angel musician; Fig. 8. St James and St Simon] Over £100,000 has been raised towards the costs of running the centre, including a much-appreciated grant of £50,000 from the Heritage Lottery Fund. The museum will include permanent displays of medieval glass and other arts, together with changing exhibitions and practical demonstrations by craftsmen. One of the principal aims of the centre will be to encourage visitors to explore the rich collections of stained glass and other medieval art in Norfolk’s parish churches. A dozen ‘visitor trails’ with supporting literature are being produced that will highlight stained glass, painted rood screens, wall-paintings, funeral brasses, and sculpture.
In October 2008, the Chairman of the Museum’s Trust, Canon Jeremy Haselock from Norwich Cathedral [Fig. 6], spoke to Vidimus about the centre. ‘The church is famous for its links with the Paston family. Until about ten years ago it housed a museum devoted to medieval ecclesiastical art. Now, thanks to the efforts of Anthony Barnes, Kate Weaver and CVMA (GB) committee member Professor Paul Binski, it is reopening as part of a wider campaign to encourage interest in the wonders of medieval Norfolk.
‘We want to whet peoples’ appetites for these treasures and help them to discover the county’s rich artistic heritage. The Norwich Historic Churches Trust, which cares for St Peter’s, has been enormously supportive of our plans. We could not have succeeded without their help. Apart from Paul Binski and Jeremy Haselock, the trustees of the museum are Carole Rawcliffe, Professor of Medieval History at the University of East Anglia; Sophie Cabot; Ian Lonsdale, from the Norfolk Churches Trust; Don Homfray; and Francis Trappes-Lomax. We are also very grateful to CVMA (GB) author David King for sharing his unrivalled knowledge of Norfolk stained glass with the museum. Builders will start work on refurbishing the building in November when we will also be advertising for our first curator, someone with plenty of passion. There is a real buzz about the project in the city. Everyone is very excited.’
Please send donations (cheques made out to Hungate Medieval Art) to Francis Trappes-Lomax, 13 Canns Lane, Hethersett, Norwich NR9 3JE. To see more than 3,000 images of stained glass from Norfolk visit the CVMA Picture Archive.
After more than a decade of distinguished service for the CVMA (GB), Dr Tim Ayers has stood down as Project Director in order to become Vice-President for the international committee of the CVMA. During his tenure, Tim not only energized the CVMA’s publishing programme, ensuring a steady flow of excellent publications (including his own superb monograph on Wells Cathedral), but he masterminded the creation of the CVMA (GB) website and its outstanding picture archive.
The new Project Director is Anna Eavis, a member of the CVMA (GB) committee for several years and Head of NMR Services at the National Monuments Record, the public archive of English Heritage. Anna is researching the stained glass of New College, Oxford for the CVMA.
Joseph Spooner remains the CVMA (GB) Project Editor and Heather Gilderdale Scott the Secretary to the CVMA (GB) committee.
As a result of the above changes, Anna Eavis succeeds Tim Ayers as Editor of Vidimus. After two years’ sterling editorial and production work on Vidimus, we are very sorry to lose Joseph Spooner, but we welcome Hazel Gardiner as our new production editor. The new Vidimus editorial team comprises:
* Consultant Editor: Anna Eavis
* Production Editor: Hazel Gardiner
* News and Features: Roger Rosewell.
Now that the stained glass of the Great East Window of York Minster has been removed from public view for up to ten years, the Dean and Chapter have unveiled an ingenious solution to the visual ‘black hole’ that remains. Using digital printing techniques, a detailed replica of John Thornton’s masterpiece has been created and hung in front of the now boarded-up window space. Steve Farley, of specialist digital printers EPS (Leeds), told us how his firm made this life-sized ‘new’ window:
‘The Minster provided us with hundreds of high-quality digital images, which we amalgamated into a 320 gigabyte file. In fact, the file was so large, that we needed to buy water-cooled Apple Mac computers to process the project. Using our own software and a Hewitt-Packard 10000s digital printing machine, we then printed the image in 2.5 metre wide strips onto epiflex. This is a woven material with a highly luminescent plastic coating. Each strip was then fabric-welded until we had replicated the entire window, 27 metres high by 14 metres wide. None of the seams are visible. From start to finish the job took almost a year to the day and the final product weighed almost a quarter of a ton. In late October 2008, a team of specialist steeple jacks hung the ‘window’ in the Minster. The job was a once-in-a lifetime challenge and we are delighted to have been involved.’
[Figs. 9 and 10. Hanging the new ‘window’! © NDP Leeds. For further information about the restoration of the Great East Window, see Vidimus 19. ]
Autumn 2008 Conservation Masterclass. York Minster’s Great East Window: Creation, Context and Conservation
25–26 November 2008, Bedern Hall and the King’s Manor, York.
This two-day event will explore the context in which John Thornton’s Great East Window of York Minster was conceived and created, and the circumstances in which it is soon to be conserved as part of the ambitious York Minster Revealed programme.
The conference will be held in the historic Bedern Hall close to the minster, and the King’s Manor, once the home of the medieval abbot of St Mary’s Abbey and now home to the University’s new MA in Stained Glass Conservation and Heritage Management.
Registration Fee: £80 per person (includes lunch and refreshments on day one, and refreshments but not lunch on day two)
For further information and a registration form, contact Pam Ward, the Postgraduate Administrator, by emailing her, or by writing to her at the Centre for Conservation, The University of York, The King’s Manor, York YO1 7EP no later than Wednesday 19 November 2008. Telephone: 01904 433997.
DAY ONE: CONTEXT
Tuesday 25 November, Bedern Hall, York
* 10.00 Coffee and registration
* 10.30 Welcome and introduction: Sarah Brown, University of York
* 10.45 English Glass-Painting c.1380: Anna Eavis, Corpus Vitrearum
* 11.45 Master Bertram’s Apocalypse altarpiece in the V&A: Nicola Costaras, Victoria & Albert Museum
* 12.30 Discussion
* 12.45 Lunch (buffet provided)
* 14.00 The East Window in the Choir of York Minster: Professor Christopher Norton, Centre for Medieval Studies, University of York
* 14.45 The Old Testament Cycle in the East Window – Why is it there?: Professor Nigel Morgan, University of Cambridge
* 15.30 Tea
* 1600 Discussion and close by 16.30
DAY TWO: CONSERVATION
Wednesday, 26 November, The King’s Manor
* 09.45 An Introduction to the East Front Project: Andrew Arrol, Surveyor to the Fabric, York Minster
* 10.30 The archaeology of the East Front and a strategy for stone conservation: Alex Holton, University of York & Lee Godfrey, Masons’ Yard, York Minster
* 11.15 Coffee
* 11.45 The conservation of the glass: Sarah Brown, York Glaziers Trust
* 12.30 Lunch (delegates to make own arrangements)
* 14.00 Site visits: stone, glass
* 16.15 Tea and discussion
* 16.45 Close
An important exhibition of stained glass from a private German collection will be on show at the Knauf-Museum, Iphofen, from 2 March to 12 May 2009. More details about this exciting exhibition will be available soon. [Fig. 11. Exhibition poster]
Events will be taking place before the end of the year at the church of St Mary the Virgin, in Selling (Kent) [Fig. 12], to celebrate the 700th anniversary of its famous glass. Dated by the architectural historian Sir Nicholas Pevsner to c.1190, the church has a remarkably complete east window scheme dating from the early fourteenth century, important not just for its quality, but also for the story of its astonishing survival and discovery. [Fig. 13]
In the early 1840s, the architect R. C. Hussey (1806–87) was commissioned to carry out a thorough restoration of the church, with some assistance from the glass-painter Thomas Willement (1786–1871).
Hussey planned to rebuild the east wall but in 1843, while demolishing the lower courses, a box was found hidden in the masonry. When it was opened a large quantity of medieval glass was discovered. It was quickly realised that this must be the glazing from the original east window, which had been hidden at some time in the sixteenth or seventeenth century to keep it safe from the depredations of the reformers. Charles Winston (1814–1864), the pioneer in the revival of medieval-style glass-making, visited the church and produced some meticulous paintings of the panels which can be seen on the CVMA website.
Over the next two years – on the vicarage table! – the window was cleaned and pieced together. Then it was sent up to London, probably for re-leading. Finally in 1856, the window was re-installed.
The window is largely grisaille, with quarries in the outer two of the five lights, and stylized leaf-work in the three central lights. But each light also contains a shield below the figure of a saint. From left to right these figures are St John the Evangelist, St Mary Magdalene, the Virgin Mary with the infant Christ, St Margaret of Antioch, and St John the Baptist. The coloured glass is red, green, yellow, gold and opaque white. The arrangement is one of the earliest band windows in England [Fig. 20. Detail of grisaille panel]. Of particular interest are the five shields, bearing the following coats of arms. From left to right these are as follows.
1. CLARE – The window was probably donated by the family of Sir Gilbert de Clare, Earl of Gloucester and Hereford and a triple crusader. He lived in Rhode Court, Selling, while commanding the English fleet at Faversham. The same coat of arms appears in the windows at Tewkesbury Abbey, on a shield born by Gilbert de Clare, and is also included in the coat of arms of Clare College, Cambridge, founded by his daughter. Sir Gilbert was killed in 1313 at the Battle of Bannockburn. [Fig. 14. St John the Evangelist: Arms of Clare below]
2. CASTILE and LEON – King Edward I was married to Eleanor of Castile until her death in 1290. [Fig. 15. St Mary Magdalene: Arms of Castille and Leon below.]
3. PLANTAGENET – the coat of arms of Edward I. [Fig. 16. The Virgin and Child; arms of Edward I below.]
4. FRANCE – the ancient coat of arms of France, semée-de-lis or. After Eleanor’s death Edward married Margaret of France. [Fig. 17. St Margaret of Antioch: arms of France below; Fig 19. Detail of St Margaret: the dragon.]
5. WARENNE – Gilbert’s de Clare’s first wife was Alice, Countess of Warenne. He divorced her in 1285. His second wife, whom he married in 1295, was Joan of Acre, daughter of King Edward. The king’s granddaughter, Joan of Bar, a niece of Joan of Acre, in turn married into the Warenne family in 1306. In dating the window these coats of arms are of great significance, and have given rise to various theories, of which the following is the most likely. The window was obviously installed some time after Edward’s marriage to Margaret of France in 1297. Assuming that the family did not want to commemorate the divorced Alice of Warenne, it must date from 1306 or shortly after. This is the date of Joan of Bar’s marriage to John of Warenne, and also the year that saw the deaths of both the king and Joan of Acre. So it would seem that, allowing time to construct the window, a date of around 1307–1308 is quite probable. [Fig. 18. St John the Baptist: arms of Warenne below.]
Band windows are windows in which horizontal bands of full-colour glass alternate with horizontal bands of grisaille.
* R. Marks, Stained Glass in England during the Middle Ages, Toronto, 1993
* A. Neame, A Brief Guide to the Church of St Mary the Virgin, Selling, Kent, Selling PCC, 1998.
October 2008 commemorated the 25th anniversary of the opening of the Burrell Collection in Glasgow, Scotland. The museum holds the second largest collection of stained glass in Europe, with over 700 panels of often outstanding quality. [Fig 21. Visitors admire a stained glass display in the south gallery of the museum. © Culture and Sport Glasgow (Museums)] Plans for a new display of the glass are well advanced and the new arrangement is expected to be unveiled in 2009. However, for museum manager Muriel King, the future of this internationally important showcase collection now depends on more investment in the building itself. ‘Looking ahead to the next 25 years, maintaining the building and preserving the collection are the vision of the future.’ [Fig 22. Two of the museum’s finest panels: left to right: St Cecilia and the angels; Germany (Rhineland) fifteenth century; female donors and their patron saint, Germany (Rhineland) sixteenth century. © Culture and Sport Glasgow (Museums)].
Although the museum is often voted one of the best modern buildings of the past fifty years, the use of large panes of glass in the walls and roof has caused difficulties. From the outset, fluctuating humidity levels and leaks have posed ongoing problems for the museum’s dedicated staff. Bailie Liz Cameron, chairwoman of Culture and Sport Glasgow, an independent company set up by the City Council in 2007 to manage museums and other activities on its behalf, has promised to look at plans to keep the Burrell Collection and the building maintained, but fears about the availability of public funding if the current recession proves long lasting is causing concern. For further information, see the Burrell Collection website.
One of the world’s leading scholars of stained glass has retired after twenty-five years as Professor of Fine Arts at Namur University in Belgium. During her distinguished career, Yvette Vanden Bemden served as International Secretary to the Corpus Vitrearum for nine years and wrote numerous articles and books about stained glass. However, in an interview with Vidimus, she explained that she was not retiring from the Corpus Vitrearum, or at least, not yet! ‘I have been involved with the CVMA for forty years, and I still have more to contribute’, she told us. ‘I have just written an article for the Journal of the British Society of Master Glass Painters about the sixteenth-century windows from the Abbey of Herkenrode, now in the Lady Chapel of Lichfield Cathedral (Staffordshire) and I am working on a catalogue of glass in Hainaut province.’
Professor Vanden Bemden’s retirement was a particularly memorable event. In what must have been one of the best-kept secrets in Europe she was presented with a book of essays in her honour written by nearly forty colleagues across the globe and which came as a total surprise to her. A full-length review of the book by Dr Zsuzsanna van Ruyven-Zeman can be found in this month’s books section. The editorial board of Vidimus also sends its thanks and best wishes to Yvette.
4 November 2008 CVMA (GB) author David King will speak about ‘Personalities, Politics and Plays in East Harling Church, Norfolk’, at a lecture evening organized by the Stained Glass Museum. The event will take place at 7.30pm, in The Long Gallery, Sue Ryder Care, The Old Palace, Palace Green, Ely. Tickets are £6 at the door or £5 in advance. To book, email the museum.
Until 23 November 2008 The beautiful Légendes dorées exhibition of North European roundels at the VitroMusée in Romont, Switzerland.
3 December 2008 CVMA (GB) Project Director Anna Eavis will speak about ‘A Gothick recusant chapel and its medieval glazing’ as part of the British Archaeological Association’s Annual Lecture series. The lecture will be held at 5.00pm at the Society of Antiquaries, Burlington House, London. Non-members of the BAA are welcome to attend the lecture, but asked to make themselves known to the Honorary Director on arrival and to sign the visitors’ book.
Until 4 January 2009 High Museum of Art, Atlanta, USA, ‘Medieval and Renaissance Treasures from the Victoria and Albert Museum’, including four panels of stained glass. For further details, seeVidimus 15.) and the museum’s website.
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