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This month we are delighted to express our thanks for a generous donation of £250 ($350) to sponsor this issue, from a reader who wishes to remain anonymous. Vidimus is written by unpaid volunteers and we need the support of other readers to continue. If anyone, including companies, would like to sponsor an issue, please email the Editor at: editor [at] vidimus [dot] org for details.
A magnificent study of the Medieval Stained Glass of Lancashire will be published shortly. It will be an invaluable reference work on the stained glass of one of England’s most important counties in the Middle Ages and will provide an important new resource for anyone interested in understanding the style, technique, patronage and iconography of English medieval glass in its wider context.
Produced by the CVMA Great Britain Committee and written by CVMA author Dr Penny Hebgin-Barnes, the book describes every surviving panel of medieval glass in the county, from windows in churches, to public museums and private collections. Highlights of the volume include important fourteenth and fifteenth century glazing schemes at the former Augustinian Priory church at Cartmel; a major narrative sequence of c.1500 depicting the Legend of St Helen at Ashton-under-Lyne; a sixteenth-century Seven Sacraments window at Cartmel Fell; fine imported continental panels dating from the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries at St Peter’s church, Chorley, and above all, the superb, but hitherto virtually unknown, collection at the Walker Art Gallery in Liverpool. Published by the British Academy and printed by Oxford University Press, the book will have 615 pages, 36 colour plates and 944 b&w illustrations. More details will appear in Vidimus 27.
For a taste of the riches in the Walker Art Gallery see Vidimus 2, December 2006. To see nearly 900 images from Lancashire see the CVMA Picture Archive.
Name that roundel!
A Dutch reader has requested some help with identifying the scene depicted on this Netherlandish panel of c.1550. It has been provisionally attributed to a painter known as the Master of the Prodigal Son, who was active in Antwerp in the middle of the sixteenth century. The panel shows a woman and two men standing before an enthroned king. Three smaller scenes in the background continue the narrative of the painting: an exterior scene showing the king with two men; an interior scene with several women; a further exterior scene showing the king and two men. Please send your suggestions to: mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org.
Sale of roundels in London
All the lots illustrated in Vidimus 25 were sold at Christie’s London sale in January. The biggest surprise was Lot 383 – a composite panel incorporating various portrait heads which fetched £8,750 (including buyer’s premium), considerably above the estimated price.
The protective glazing masterclass: Current Projects – New Perspectives, will be held in York from 9–10 March. Organised by the University of York MA in Stained Glass Conservation and Heritage Management team in association with the Cathedrals Fabric Commission for England, the speakers will include CVMA Conservation Advisor, Keith Barley; Tobit Curteis; Dr David Martlew of the Society of Glass Technology; Dr Ivo Rauch; Buero Rauch and Leonie Seliger from the Cathedral Studios at Canterbury.
Projects at Wells, Canterbury and Lichfield Cathedrals, Norbury parish church (Derbyshire), St George’s Chapel (Windsor) and York Minster will be described. The latest research findings will also be discussed. For more information about this important event email the course administrator: mailto:email@example.com
The lower part of a medieval-style window made by Burlinson and Grylls in 1931–32 for the north aisle of St John the Baptist Church in Coventry has been smashed by thieves who broke into the building on 23 December 2008. The window was one of a pair depicting the arms of the royal patrons who donated the land on which the church was founded in 1342. The window also includes standing figures of saints associated with the medieval guilds that were once attached to the church. The most damaged light was the westernmost window which showed the arms of Queen Isabella (1292–1358), the ‘she-wolf’ widow of Edward II.
The collegiate church of St John’s occupied an important position in medieval Coventry as it was also the church of three prominent guilds: the Guild of St John the Baptist; the Guild of St Catherine; and the Guild of the Holy Trinity. Most, if not all, of its medieval glass was probably lost when it was stripped of its fittings during the English Reformation. It was subsequently abandoned for many years and in 1647 the parliamentarian army used it as a prison for royalist captives. The church was re-opened for worship during the eighteenth century.
Both windows were donated to the church in memory of Frederick Thomas Cluley who died in 1929. Apart from the distress caused to local parishioners who arrived on Christmas Day to find police carrying out forensic investigations into the break-in, the damage was particularly upsetting to older members of the congregation who remembered the glass surviving World War II bombing.
Father Paul Such, the rector of St John’s said, ‘Because of this thoughtless, selfish act, the church now faces a bill for several thousand pounds to repair the broken Queen Isabella window.’ Parishioners are now hoping to fit a protective grill to the window as part of the repair programme. If any reader wishes to make a donation to the cost of repairing the window, please call Margaret Oliver on 079 1052 2790, or email: mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org.
As part of a major Heritage Lottery Fund grant towards the conservation of the famous Great East window at York Minster (1405–1408), the nearby thirteenth-century former Bedern Chapel has been converted into a special conservation studio where members of the public will be able to see experts from the York Glaziers Trust working on the glass.
From 13 February, tours of the Bedern Chapel studio will take place at 14.00 on Wednesdays and Fridays, departing from the Group Desk in the Minster. Tours may be booked in advance for other times on these days by calling Howard Mosley (Visitors Department) on 01904 557216. Numbers are limited to fifteen people for each tour.
Tours last for approximately one hour and cost £5 per person. All the proceeds from the sale of tickets will go towards the York Minster Fund.
Over thirty designs for sixteenth-century Swiss windows were offered for sale at Sotheby’s Old Master Drawings sale in New York last month. Part of a now-dispersed collection formed by the Swiss banker, Dr Hugo von Ziegler (1890–1966), the lots included pen and ink drawings by some of the most accomplished artists of the period: Daniel Lindtmayer (1552–1606/7), Christoph Murer (1558–1614), and various members of the Lang family from the canton and city of Schaffhausen in northern Switzerland. Some of the designs have not previously been published.
The designs were all created for small-scale individual painted panels of a type which were produced in great quantities by Swiss glass-painters between 1500–1700, primarily for the domestic market but also for patrons in South Germany and neighbouring Alsace. [Fig.1] The panels were installed everywhere, from churches and monasteries to town halls and private homes. In 1542, for example, the Bürgermeister of Stein-am-Rhein expressed the ‘earnest wish that…distinguished individuals would each claim a window in which to install an honorific shield’ in the newly built town hall.  The panels were usually set into the upper lights of large windows otherwise consisting of small diamond-shaped quarries or bulls-eye-shaped panels of clear glass, such as the arrangement at Rheinfelden Town Hall where they may still be seen in situ today. Many of the panels feature the arms and names of the donors (private and corporate) and were made to commemorate new buildings, or alliances between cities and other civic bodies. Panels honouring the status and independence of cities or cantons were also popular. Examples of such panels may be seen in many museums where their evolution may be traced from the use of traditional stained glass techniques to exquisite uses of flashing and abrading, and finally to the adoption of vitreous enamel pigments before the gradual demise of the craft.
Most designs comprise an architectural framework or archway enclosing a heraldic shield surmounted by a helmet with mantling or, in the case of an ecclesiastical donor, by a mitre with pastoral staff. The name and titles of the donor were generally inscribed in a cartouche below with the date. In the most ornate examples, the shield was often upheld by heraldic supporters such as lions, or by an angel, or the patron saint or saints of the donor. Sometimes the supporter was a man-at-arms, usually shown as either a musketeer or a halberdier. [Figs. 2 and 3] Where ‘donor portraits’ appear, male Swiss nationals are depicted wearing a dagger. Within this framework, smaller figures or scenes were sometimes introduced. A design by Daniel Lindtmayer (lot 6), for example, showed the arms of Hapsberg (Habsburg) below a battle scene featuring the army of the Hapsberg rulers of Austria fighting the Ottoman Turks. [Fig. 4] Stories from classical mythology could also be depicted, as in a design by Daniel Lang (1543–1602) (lot 10) which showed Ovid’s tragic love tale of Pyramus and Thisbe. [Fig. 5]
Many of the drawings throw interesting light on how the designs were used. Rather than reproducing the vivid colours that would be seen in the final glass panel, desired effects were often indicated via written notes in the drawing itself, as in a design by Heironymous Lang (1520–1582) where the red and white colour notes are still visible across the flag held by the banner bearer (lot 23). [Fig. 6]
Although it remains uncertain exactly how the drawings were transferred from paper to glass, some form of tracing seems likely. Evidence from the drawings themselves lends weight to this conclusion. Some of the decorative borders are only shown on one side of the drawing, with a vertical crease mark still extant revealing how it was folded in half so that the border could be traced on the other side. A typical example is lot 28, attributed to Hieronymous Lang, which shows the standing figure of the donor with a coat of arms surmounted by a cleaver, possibly suggesting that he was a butcher. As can be seen, only one side of the border design is fully drawn. [Fig. 7]
Good examples of ‘finished’ stained glass panels by these artists may be seen in the Museum zu Allerheiligen in Schauffhausen. [Figs. 8–11] In many cases, however, attributing specific drawings/designs to particular artists is problematic. The most successful compositions were frequently repeated, copied, and adapted over several generations. Added to this, many sixteenth-century Swiss glass painters tended to collect designs by other artists and then write their own names on the copied versions.
The von Zielger collection was inventoried by one of the greatest scholars of Swiss stained glass, Friedrich Thöne (Friedrich Thöne, Zeichnungssammlung Dr. Hugo von Ziegler, Schaffhausen, 1968) but the catalogue was never published. The Sotheby’s catalogue entries are based on this important work. The collection itself was divided among family members after von Zielger’s death. Some of the designs in the sale will be discussed in the forthcoming CVMA volume for Schaffhausen (Rolf Hasler, Die Schaffhauser Glasmalerei des 16. bis 18. Jahrhunderts, Corpus Vitrearum Schweiz, Reihe Neuzeit, Bd. 5). Another important collection of nearly 800 such drawings: the Wyss ‘Scheibenriss’ collection, was acquired by the Swiss government for 5,000 Swiss Francs in the nineteenth century. These designs are now held by the Bernese Historical Museum. (Hasler, 1996/97)
Vidimus is particularly grateful to Dr Rolf Hasler of the Vitrocentre, Romont, Switzerland for his help with this item. Thanks are also extended to Stephanie Weinberger of the Museum zu Allerheilgen, Schaffhausen, and to Lauren Pirrung of Sotheby’s. We are also grateful to Sotheby’s for permission to reproduce their copyright images Figs. 2; 4; 5; 6; 7; and 8, and to the Museum zu Allerheilgen, Schaffhausen for permission to reproduce Figs. 8–11.
1. Cited in V. C. Raguin and H. J. Zakin, Stained Glass before 1700 in the Midwest States, Corpus Vitrearum USA, Part VIII, Volume I, Harvey Miller Publishers, 2001, p. 146.
Old Master Drawings, New York, 28 January, 2009. Sotheby’s catalogue, soft back, 223 pages, price $40 at the Galley, plus p&p, Sale Number, No. 8515, pp. 10–73. A limited number of copies may be available from Sotheby’s on +1 888 752 0002.
Texts in English about Swiss glass are rare. They include: Maurice Drake, A History of English Glass-Painting with some remarks upon the Swiss Glass Miniatures of the Sixteenth and Seventeenth Centuries, especially Chapter VII, London, 1912, pp. 127–154; and Bernard Rackham. Victoria & Albert Museum, Department of Ceramics, A Guide to the Collection of Stained Glass, especially Chapter VII, ‘Swiss Glass-Paintings’, London, 1936, pp. 88–98.
For Swiss panels and stained glass designs (particularly of Schaffhausen origin) the following books are recommended:
Where to see good collections:
Outside Switzerland, most museums have some examples. The CVMA Picture Archive also includes examples from the Victoria & Albert Museum. One of the best collections in England can be seen in St Michael’s church, Wragby, West Yorkshire, which houses a collection of several hundred panels bought by Charles Winn of Nostell Priory in the 1820s for the church. [Fig. 3] Interesting panels can also be seen in the parish churches of Patrixsbourne and Temple Ewell in Kent.
Applications are being sought for The Worshipful Company of Glaziers forty-week Award for Excellence, and the ten-week Ashton Hill Award.
These awards are designed to raise skill standards in the craft and to offer unique and valuable opportunities for graduates working within stained glass studios, students in Further Education or individuals who have undertaken long-term training in a studio to develop their skills towards a practical career in stained glass.
Recipients will be placed in high-quality working studios where they will gain work experience on architectural projects under the supervision, guidance and tuition of experienced designers, top-level craftsmen and conservators. Placements with European studios are usually included. Funding of up to £250 a week will be provided to assist with subsistence, rent and travel costs for the duration of the award.
Since 1995 the Company has made 27 work placement awards. At least 20 of the recipients are currently working in glass today. The closing date for applications is 3 April. For details of how to apply, see the Worshipful Company of Glaziers website .
Comments from recent award winners speak for themselves:
‘I spent the ten weeks of my Ashton Hill award placement at Barley Studio near York. Barley Studio is a commercial stained glass studio involved both in conservation and in producing new work. I was involved in a wide variety of projects and activities during my placement, including cleaning, edge bonding, restoration painting, framing, photography and fitting. I experienced work both in the studio and on site, and learned a great deal from Keith Barley and Helen Whittaker while developing my skills and confidence in stained glass work. The placement was a perfect preparation for my current studies towards an MA in Stained Glass Conservation and Heritage Management at the University of York.’ Alison Gilchrist (Ashton Hill Award 2008–9)
‘I felt that participating in the Ashton Hill programme benefited me in many ways. I was able to learn about glass conservation, an area that was completely new to me and proved to be a very interesting and complex field to work in. While on my placement at Chapel Studio I assisted with a variety of different projects and was able to learn lots of new skills and also improve my basic cutting, painting and glazing skills. The people I worked with were passionate about their work and were happy to explain their methods and show me new techniques. I felt that going on this placement gave me much more confidence in my abilities, increased my passion for stained glass and helped clarify the direction I want my artistic career to take in the future.’ Emma Lindsay (Ashton Hill Award 2008–9)
‘My forty week placement was a unique opportunity for me to work in established studios across Britain and Europe and develop my knowledge of stained glass practice. My first placement, at Holy Well Glass has been both exciting and rewarding. Assisting a team of conservators in the studio and on site I have gained invaluable practical knowledge and I have been introduced to the techniques of stained glass conservation. I look forward to visiting other studios in the UK and in Germany to widen my knowledge of stained glass and modern glass design and production. I already feel confident in the path I have chosen, each day brings new experiences and new insight.’ Michelle Dawson (Award for Excellence 2008–9).
Until 3 March: 40cm2, an exhibition of current work by members of the British Society of Master Glass Painters at the Stained Glass Museum, Ely. For more information see the museum website.
Until 24 May: Medieval and Renaissance Treasures from the Victoria and Albert Museum, includes panels of stained glass, at the Millennium Gallery in Sheffield. For more details see Vidimus 15 and the gallery website.
On 23 February
, Michael Swift, the stained glass adviser to the Diocese of Truro, will speak on the stained glass of Cornwall at a special Worshipful Company of Glaziers Lecture, The Glaziers Hall, 9 Montague Close, London Bridge, London SE1 9DD. The lecture begins at 6.45pm and the admission charge is £5. For more information contact: mailto:email@example.com
On 6 March, Roy Albut will speak about ‘ A J Davies of the Bromsgrove Guild’ at The British Society of Master Glass Painters Spring Lecture at The Art Workers Guild, Queen Square, London WC1. The lecture begins at 6.30 for 7.00pm (Admission by ticket only). For booking details see the BSMPG website.
On 21 March, Risham Majeed will speak about ‘Cultivating Taste: Collecting Medieval Art at the Cloisters’, at the Cloisters Museum and Gardens, New York. The talks will take place at 12.00pm and 2.00pm. The lectures are free with museum admission. For details of other talks in the same programme see the Metropolitan Museum website.
29 March–2 August: Glass and Light: an important exhibition of stained glass from a private German collection at the Knauf-Museum, Iphofen, Germany.
On 18 April there will be a one-day stained glass workshop at the Glencairn Museum, Bryn Athyn, Pennsylvania, where J. Kenneth Leap will demonstrate twelfth-century techniques. This will be followed by an intensive five-day workshop. For details of both events see the Glencairn Museum website.
On 25 April CVMA Secretary, Heather Gilderdale-Scott will be giving the postponed Deerhurst 2008 lecture at Deerhurst Church, Near Tewkesbury, in Gloucestershire. Heather will be speaking on, ‘Deerhurst, St Werstan and monastic mythmaking’. For more information see the Friends of Deerhurst website.
1–3 June: Forum for the Conservation and Restoration of Stained-Glass Windows, Metropolitan Museum, New York.
On 19 June, Andrew Rudebeck will speak about the fifteenth-century century glass painter, John Thornton in ‘On the trail of John Thornton’, at The British Society of Master Glass Painters Summer Lecture; 6.30 for 7.00pm at The Art Workers Guild, Queen Square, London WC1. Admission is by ticket only. For booking details see the BSMPG website.
17–19 July: The Annual Meeting of the American Glass Guild will be held the Hyatt Hotel in downtown Buffalo, New York. For more information about the AGG and the conference see the American Glass Guild website.
16–18 September: This year’s annual conference of The Society of Glass Technology will be held at Lancaster University. For more information and updates see the The Society of Glass Technology website.
17–20 September: A four day visit to see twentieth- century stained glass in Paris is being organised by the British Society of Master Glass Painters. For more details see the the BSMPG website. The closing date for bookings is 27 March.
On 16 October, the Icelandic stained glass artist, Leifur Breidfjord, will speak about his vision and work at The British Society of Master Glass Painters Winter Lecture; 6.30 for 7 pm at The Art Workers Guild, Queen Square, London WC1 (Admission by ticket only). For booking details see the the BSMPG website.
On 9 November, Glyn Davies of the Victoria and Albert Museum will speak about the stained glass in the museum’s new Mediaeval and Renaissance Galleries at a special Worshipful Company of Glaziers Lecture, The Glaziers Hall, 9 Montague Close, London Bridge, London SE1 9DD. Admission, £5. For more information contact: info [at] worshipfulglaziers [dot] com.
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URL to article: http://vidimus.org/issues/issue-26/news/
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