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More than a hundred invited guests applauded the the Rt Revd Graham James, Bishop of Norwich, when he formally opened the new Hungate Medieval Art centre earlier this month. The Centre, which focuses on medieval stained glass in East Anglia, is based in St Peter Hungate church in the historic Elm Hill area of Norwich, a few minutes walk from the cathedral.
An exhibition in the nave of the church includes images from more than 20 churches in and around Norwich. Excellent explanatory texts by Claire Daunton complement Mike Dixon’s superb photographs. Over 150 churches in Norfolk contain medieval glass and the Centre provides a series of trails compiled by CVMA author, David King, to help visitors discover these little known treasures. Apart from its programme of exhibitions, the Centre will also host practical demonstrations on making stained glass. Vidimus will publish regular features about the Centre and its work. For more information about the Centre, including details of opening hours and admission prices, see the Hungate Medieval Art Centre website.
Conservators from the York Glaziers Trust (YGT) are stepping up their work in the chapter house vestibule at York Minster, home to some of the oldest glass in the cathedral. The glass of Chapter House south 7 (CHsVII) has been removed for cleaning and conservation, and in the next few weeks the important window, Chapter House north 9 (CHnIX), will be reinstated after a long absence. The vestibule leads from the north transept of the church into the famous octagonal chapter house which was built in the 1280s. The vestibule was probably constructed immediately after the completion of the chapter house and its main windows were made between c.1290 and c.1300. [Fig 1]
Although past restorations have made it extremely difficult to reconstruct the original sequence of the scheme, CVMA Chairman, Sarah Brown told Vidimus that at least some of the windows reflect the political ambitions of the court of Edward I. In 1291 the English king had begun to pursue his claim to the overlordship of Scotland, and used York as the administrative headquarters of his Scottish campaigns. The neighbouring Bishop of Durham even commanded parts of his army. Thus while the north side glazing of the vestibule included windows depicting saints and apostles, two windows specifically commemorate Edward’s lineage and piety. One (CHnVIII) depicted kings and queens, now unidentifiable, but probably Edward I, his wife, Queen Eleanor (d. 1290) and their predecessors. The other (CHnIX) shows three saintly kings of England: Edward the Confessor (c.1003–1066), Oswald of Northumbria (c.604–642) and (probably) St Edmund (c.840–870), who was a particular favourite of Edward’s. Images of saintly kings were matched by saintly clerics in the southern windows of the vestibule. CHsV showed four deacon saints above four bishops or archbishops. CHsVI 6 depicted images of the resurrected Christ while CHsVII comprised representations of prophets.
The conservation of this glass posed particular problems as Helen Bower of the YGT explains: ‘Unlike some other glass in the Minster, these windows have never had protective glazing. This has resulted in pitting and corrosion of both surfaces of the surviving pot-metal glass. In some areas the glass had suffered even more, becoming paper thin and extremely delicate (sometimes less than 0.50 mm thick) coupled with multiple breaks and clumsy lead repairs. In some places holes had appeared where the glass had disintegrated or fallen away. Corrosion had also spread across both surfaces to such an extent that the glass appeared opaque’. [Fig.2]
Traditional methods for repairing breaks such as silicone sealants, epoxy resin or copper-backed foils were ruled out as either unsuitable or potentially risky to such fragile glass. Another problem was whether to keep or remove pieces of glass from past campaigns which detracted from the window’s legibility or were otherwise intrusive. The conservators also had to decide how best to re-lead and protect the glass. Cleaning the glass helped identify the scale of the breakages. After the panels had been examined under microscopes, cotton wool swabs dipped in de-ionised water were used to remove dust and other surface accretions. As traditional methods of repair were ruled out, conservators used techniques borrowed from vessel glass conservation where fragments are repaired in an upright position. [Fig.3]
New infills were painted to match the original material. All were signed and dated by the painter. Where there was no evidence of original paint, none was added. When repaired the glass was supported with backing plates (plating), cut to the shape of the medieval glass which were sealed around the edges with silicon to create an airtight, impermeable space. The conservators have succeeded in recovering some of the legibility of the design as well as securing its long-term future. [Figs. 4 and 5]
Vidimus is grateful to the York Glaziers Trust and to the Dean and Chapter of York for their help with this item. All photographs are © The Dean and Chapter of York and reproduced with their permission. For more images of stained glass from York Minster see the CVMA Picture Archive.
For the history of the vestibule windows:
S.Brown, Stained Glass at York Minster, York: Scala Publishing, 1999. Especially ‘The Chapter House and its Vestibule’, pp 22–31
S. Brown, York Minster: An Architectural History c1220–1500 English Heritage, 2003. Especially Appendix 3, pp 292–293
For the conservation of CHnIX:
H. Bower, ‘An Introduction to the Conservation of Window CHnIX, Chapter House Vestibule, York Minster’, in ICON News, July 2007, pp 42–45.
H. Bower, ‘The Conservation of Window CHnIX Continued’ in ICON News, May 2008, pp 40–44.
Penny Hebgin-Barnes’ comprehensive CVMA catalogue of the medieval stained glass of Lancashire will be published next month. It is the first study of the glass in this important county and contains exciting new discoveries. Readers of Vidimus will be able to buy copies of this major work with a 40% discount. This special price will only be available for a limited period.
The book will have 615 pages, 36 colour plates and 944 b&w illustrations. If you are interested in learning more about the exclusive discounted price to Vidimus readers, please send an email to: editor [at] vidimus [dot] org.
An impressive website devoted to the mid-14th century typological ‘Bible’ windows in the rebuilt former Dominican church of St Paul’s at Brandenburg an der Havel (near Berlin) is now available. [Figs. 1 and 2] It uses Flash Zoomifier technology to allow close-ups of every panel.
The website was created following a ceremony held earlier this year which celebrated both the reconstruction of the church (now a regional museum), which was badly damaged in World War II, and the return of the glass which had been removed for safekeeping in 1942. [Figs 2, 3, and 4]
The church was founded by the margrave Otto V of Brandeburg in 1286 and the stained glass was made c.1330–40 when the church was completed. Before its return to the church, the glass was conserved by Ilona Berkei. Thanks to Geoffrey Lane, we are delighted to publish an English guide to the website. We have also added the site to the Vidimus links page. We’d recommend bookmarking this page so that you can refer to the website guidelines while you browse the site. Congratulations to those responsible for an excellent website.
The home page introduces the window as a whole, three towering lancets filled with panels – twelve to each light, making thirty-six in all. The text on the right of the screen explains that this is the principal (i.e. east) window (Scheitelfenster) – No. I in standard CVMA numbering. There are links from here to a floor plan of the church and historic photographs of the interior and exteirior of the church. From the old photographs it is evident that the arrangement of the panels has been changed in the new installation. Originally the (very early) Old and New Testament panels were at the bottom, and the (later) ornamental panels with half-figures of prophets were at the top.
Following the wartime removal of the glass in 1942, and the severe damage subsequently inflicted on the church, it was decided in 1975 to install the 36 panels in the much larger east window of St Katherine’s Church, Brandenburg, where they remained until 2006. The glass was installed with the ornamental panels above and below, framing the pictorial scenes, and this arrangement was preserved when the glass was returned to St Paul’s church.
The web-image of the window has a number of levels. The lights are numbered and the panels lettered from left to right and from the bottom up. Selecting a panel calls up an enlarged image, with accompanying text. Details within each panel can be selected to call up higher resolution images. The accompanying commentaries include further options – selecting ‘Auflicht Rückseite’ results in the display of a specially-lit back view, while ‘Erhaltungsschema’ calls up an image of a conservation diagram. In a few cases there is yet another option, a back-view lit from within – ‘Durchlicht Rückseite’. In case you run into problems navigating the site, you can always return to square one by selecting ‘Navigation’ on the top bar and then selecting ‘Startseite’ (start-page). Further options are available here, such as ‘Gruppen’, which allow the viewer to compare groups of panels in any of the above modes.
The bottom row of panels (1a–1c) introduces the first three pairs of hooded prophets – Jeremiah and Solomon, Daniel and Elijah, and Joel and Isaiah; while the second (2a–2c) presents the first three Biblical scenes, Aaron’s Rod, the Birth of Christ, and Moses and the Burning Bush. ‘Aaron’s Rod’ is the first of six purely 19th century replacement panels, all dated to 1868/70; but the other two are substantially medieval, and merit detailed commentaries:
2b: The representation follows the Gospels of Matthew and Luke. In an unusual departure from medieval pictorial tradition Mary’s body is turned away from her child. Also striking is the youth-like Jesus who turns towards the ox and ass. The panel is substantially medieval, but iconographic details such as Joseph’s gesture of prayer, exceptional in medieval tradition, suggest that the composition has been altered in the course of repair-work.
2c: The panel (still substantially medieval) shows Moses in accordance with the Old Testament story (Exodus III 1–6) as a young man with fashionable hair-style, in comparison with the other two Moses scenes (7a and 7c) showing him as an older, bearded man. In contrast to earlier or contemporary glass-paintings, the Brandenburg panels dispense with rustic details and reduce the scene to the two protagonists. Not even the snake into which Moses’ staff is transformed finds its way into the Brandenburg medallion. This simply shows Moses removing his shoes. The burning bush before him, with the nimbed bust of God the Father in its midst, bears lime, oak and maple (or perhaps vine) leaves.
The next row (3a–c) depicts Moses discovered by Pharaoh’s daughter, the Baptism of Christ, and Noah’s Ark – the outer pair medieval, the centre panel a 19th century replacement. Row four shows the Israelites gathering Manna (19th century), the Last Supper and Abraham and Melchisedek (medieval). In row five a medieval Scourging of Christ is flanked by two 19th century panels, the Mocking of Elisha and The Drunkenness of Noah. The next row (6a–c) depicts Elijah and the widow of Zarephath and Christ carrying the Cross (both medieval), and The Spies with the Grapes (i.e. Joshua and Caleb, Numbers 13–14), (19th century). Row seven is entirely medieval, comprising the Crucifixion flanked by Moses and the Serpent, and Moses Receiving the Law.
In row eight the Resurrection is bracketed by typological scenes of Samson with the Gates of Gaza, and Jonah and the Whale. Row nine brings us a medieval Ascension, but without its Old Testament counterparts – instead it is supported by two more of the decorative panels with paired prophets: Abraham and Obadiah in light one, Nahum and an unidentified figure (‘Sabiku?’) in light three. From this point all the panels are of this type, and have no individual commentary. The tenth row features Melchizedek and Enoch, Haggai and Isaiah, Ezekiel and Samuel; row 11 Jeremiah and Elijah, Jeremiah and David, Habakkuk and Sabuka (?); and finally, in row 12, Zephaniah (? – misidentified as Jeremiah) and Amos occupy the apex of the central light. The outer lights, being shorter, display similar decorative elements but no figures. Although the site does not contain any detailed discussion of stylistic matters or the iconography of the window, these matters will be covered in depth in the eagerly awaited CVMA (Potsdam) volume on the medieval stained glass of the Brandenburg region. The book is scheduled for publication later this year: Ute Bednarz, Eva Fitz, Frank Martin, Markus Mock, Götz Pfeiffer, Martina Voigt (mit einer kunsthistorischen Einleitung von Peter Knuvener) Die Mittelalterlichen Glasmalereien in Berlin und Brandenburg Corpus Vitrearum Medii Aevi Deutschland Bd. XXII.
Vidimus is particularly grateful to Dr Frank Martin of the CVMA (Potsdam) and to Katrin Witt and Thomas Lenz, for their help with this article.
This month’s puzzle comes from the church of St Ethelbert, Thurton, in Norfolk. The roundel was installed in 1826 when Lady Beauchamp Proctor of nearby Langley Hall commissioned the Norfolk stained glass artist and glazier, Samuel Yarrington (1781–1846) to arrange a collection of panels in the church. These included continental pieces imported by the Norwich-based dealer, J.C.Hampp (d.1825), as well as 15th century English glass, reputedly from Langley Abbey.
The Thurton glass was not included in William Cole’s CVMA volume on Netherlandish and North European roundels in Britain.
Our panel shows a young man burning in a pyre in front of a pagan altar. An armoured man watches the scene. In the upper right corner a man presents a cloth/garment to a knight with a plumed helmet. The knight holds a long club.
Dutch CVMA author, Dr Kees Berserik dates the panel to around c.1520–1530 and suggests that it is the product of a workshop known to art historians as the Pseudo-Ortkens group, which may have been based in the Brussels-Louvain area. It shares similarities with a panel exhibited at the ‘Golden Legend’ exhibition at the Vitro-Musee, Romont, Switzerland, in 2008, see: Vidimus 22.
Roundels of this period depicted a range of subjects, including stories from the Old and New Testaments, the lives of saints, and tales from ancient history and classical literature, such as Homer’s Odyssey.
The solution to this month’s puzzle is contributed by Dr Rembrandt Duits of the Warburg Institute in London. His explanation can be found at the foot of the Books section.
Last month’s puzzle has attracted further comment:
In Vidimus 27 (March 2009) Dr Paul Taylor of the Warburg Institute suggested that this scene might show an episode from the Life of St Barbara. Dr Erwin Pokorny of the Department of Art History at the University of Vienna, has suggested a different interpretation, telling us:
‘In my view, this roundel is more likely to be a depiction of the story of Daniel’s judgment concerning Susanna and the Elders. I think Daniel is the judge, on account of his young age; he is described as a ‘youth’ in the story. Left to right, the three figures in the foreground could be: Susanna [with her back to the viewer], the executioner with his sword, the standing figure in the long robe, one of her two accusers. The figure visible through the window being led away by guards wears a similar long robe and is probably one of the condemned Elders’.
[The story of Susanna and the Elders is told in the Catholic Bible, Book of Daniel, Chapter 13. According to this account Susanna was bathing, when two elders who lusted after her tried to blackmail her. Unless she agreed ‘to lie’ with them, they threatened to tell her husband that they seen her committing adultery. When she refused their advances, they were as good as their word and testified against her. Just as she was about to be condemned to death, the trial was interrupted by Daniel who cross-examined her accusers individually asking them under which tree in the garden they saw her committing adultery. When one said a mastick tree and the other a holm oak, their lies were exposed. Susannah was acquitted and her accusers put to death. Although often reproduced in late medieval art, the story was regarded as apocryphal by Protestants and appears in the English King James’s Bible under Apocrypha.– Ed].
Vidimus is very grateful to Dr Pokorny for this contribution.
If any reader has any other suggestions as to the subject depicted in the painting, please write to: news [at] vidimus [dot] org.
A fascinating exhibition of over 100 painted glass panels from a famous private collection are on show at the Knauf-Museum in Iphofen, (Bavaria) until 2 August 2009. On loan from Dr Klaus Tiedemann, the exhibition includes 73 roundels, as well as other small panels of painted glass made between 1500 and the mid-18th century, intended for close study and collectively known as Kabinettscheiben. The exhibition features examples of late Gothic paintings, 16th-century Netherlandish roundels, five enamel painted Swiss panels and a charming collection of 17th-18th century ‘rural’ panels made for the secular/domestic market. A particular strength of the collection is a number of panels illustrating episodes from Jesus’ parable of the Prodigal Son, as told in the New Testament Gospel of St Luke, chapter 15:11–32. The exhibition also includes other items from Dr Tiedemann’s collection, including books with wood-cut illustrations, arms and armour, and Dutch wall tiles painted with scenes of the Prodigal Son.
For details of opening times see the Knauf Museum website. A new book about Dr Tiedemann’s collection has just been published and is available at the exhibition. A full review will appear in our next issue.
There are still places available at the forthcoming International Forum for the Conservation and Restoration of Stained Glass Windows to be held in New York from 1–3 June 2009.
Organised by the International Committee of the Corpus Vitrearum for the Conservation of Stained Glass, this important event will be the first of its kind to be held in the United States.
The first Forum was held in Erfurt (Germany) in 1993, and thereafter in Liège (1996), Romont (1999), Troyes (2001) and Namur (2006).
Forum meetings provide an open venue for the presentation of current themes in stained glass conservation. All are welcome.
The Metropolitan Museum of Art is an ideal venue for the Forum, since it houses one of the greatest collections of stained glass in the world, encompassing a wide range of European panels, as well as a stunning collection of American stained glass. Together with stained glass in other museums and churches throughout New York city, the venue will provide a perfect setting for participants to discover the important contribution of the United States to the collecting, patronage and creation of stained glass.
The theme of the Forum is ‘The Art of Collaboration: Stained Glass Conservation in the Twenty-First Century’. Papers will present current topics in stained glass conservation, with an emphasis on the collaborative process. Topics include the transfer of technology across disciplines; national boundaries in the manufacture of stained glass; interdisciplinary approaches to the art historical and technical study of stained glass; discussions of the impact of the client on conservation decisions.
A public symposium sponsored by the Education Department of the Metropolitan Museum on Sunday 31 May will precede the Forum proceedings. The provisional speakers are:
‘Duyckinck to Tiffany: New York Stained Glass 1650–1920’ Alice Cooney Frelinghuysen
’Moguls and Museums: A History of Collecting Stained Glass in America’ Timothy B. Husband
’From Plumber to Glazier: The Story of Stained-Glass Restoration’ Sebastian Strobl
’Handle With Care: Approaches, Perils, and Best Practice in Stained-Glass Conservation Today’ Ivo Rauch
The three-day Forum will comprise two days of presentations and poster sessions. Evening receptions will be held at The Cloisters and in the newly-renovated Engelhard Courtyard, which will allow participants to view some of the Museum’s extensive holdings of European and American stained glass. The third day of the conference will be spent viewing stained glass in situ in five Manhattan churches in the company of local experts.
For more details of the Forum, including the full programme and registration fees, see the Forum website.
The story behind the artists and craftsmen who created copies of medieval stained glass for Bryn Athyn Cathedral and Glencairn Museum in Bryn Athyn (Pennsylvania) USA is the focus of a new exhibition: ‘Painting with Light: The Revival of Medieval Glassmaking in Bryn Athyn’ which will run at the museum until 25 July. Visitors to the exhibition will be able to compare a 13th-century stained glass window from Soissons Cathedral with a copy made at Bryn Athyn by teams of pre-World War II craftsmen. Other examples of their work will also be displayed.
Glassmaking tools and benches used by the craftsmen, which were stored for more than 50 years in an old barn in Bryn Athyn, are among other interesting exhibits. The work was commissioned by Raymond Pitcairn (1885–1966) who oversaw the construction of Bryn Athyn Cathedral and assembled one of the finest collections of medieval stained glass in America. For details of the exhibition, see the Glencairn Museum website.
For more information about the Pitcairn collection see: J. Hayward and W. Cahn, Radiance and Reflection: Medieval Art from the Raymond Pitcairn Collection, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, 1982. Inexpensive copies of this exhibition catalogue can usually be found at ABE books.
This month we are creating a new section in our links pages for websites of the Corpus Vitrearum.
CVMA International – www.corpusvitrearum.org
CVMA Great Britain – www.cvma.ac.uk
CVMA Germany: Freiburg – http://www.cvma-freiburg.de. – information on the organisation and activities of CVMA Freiburg, including a limited picture gallery (some information in English)
CVMA Germany: Potsdam – http://www.bbaw.de/vh/cvma – information on publications by and contacts at CVMA Potsdam (a page in English is in preparation)
CVMA Germany: Esslingen – http://home.bawue.de/~wmwerner/essling – an informative site, authored by CVMA Freiburg, on the extensive 13th and 14th-century stained glass of Esslingen, Germany (includes information in English).
CVMA Italy – http://server.icvbc.cnr.it/bivi/ – a searchable database of Italian stained glass.
Until 24 May: The exhibition Medieval and Renaissance Treasures from the Victoria and Albert Museum, at The Millennium Gallery in Sheffield, includes panels of stained glass. For more details see Vidimus 15 and the Millennium Gallery website.
Until 24 May: German and Central European Manuscript Illumination, at the Getty Center, Los Angeles. Some of the exhibited works may have influenced glass painters. For details of opening hours, and to download an illustrated checklist of the exhibits, see the Getty Center website.
12 June: Grand Designs: An exciting new exhibition of 19th and 20th century stained glass designs and sketches on display at the Stained Glass Museum Ely, open daily. The exhibits include designs by Ervin Bossanyi, J.T. Lyon and Heaton, Butler and Bayne. Entry to the Exhibition is free.
Until 25 July: ‘Painting with Light’ exhibition at the Glencairn Museum (USA)
29 March–2 August: Glass and Light, an important exhibition of stained glass from a private German collection at the Knauf-Museum, Iphofen, Germany. For more information see the Glass and Light exhibition website.
18 April: There will be a one-day stained glass workshop at the Glencairn Museum, Bryn Athyn, Pennsylvania, where J. Kenneth Leap will demonstrate 12th-century techniques. This will be followed by an intensive five-day workshop. For details of both events visit: the Glencairn Museum website.
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 visit: http://www.deerhurstfriends.co.uk/lectures_and_events.htm
1–3 June: Forum for the Conservation and Restoration of Stained Glass Windows, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York. For more information about this important event, see the Forum website.
19 June: Andrew Rudebeck will speak about the 15th-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 by ticket only). For booking details see the BSMGP website.
14 July: Emma Jane Wells (University of York) will speak about ‘Stained Glass in York Minster: Perceptions and Representations of Space’ at the Leeds International Medieval Congress 2009. For further details see the Leeds IMC website.
15 July: Rosie Mills of the Victoria and Albert Museum, London, will speak about ‘Stained Glass Narrative Strategies in the Elaborate Tracery Forms of English Gothic Windows’ at the Leeds International Medieval Congress 2009. For further details see the Leeds IMC 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: The 2009 annual conference of the Society of Glass Technology will be held at Lancaster University. The ‘History and Heritage’ sessions will take place on 18 September. Speakers will include Keith Barley on protective glazing schemes; CVMA Chairman, Sarah Brown, on the new MA. Conservation of Stained Glass at York University programme ; and conservator Ruth Cooke describing a case study of the conservation of a 15th century stained glass window from the Savile Chapel, Thornhill St Michael and All Angels, Yorkshire. For more information and updates see the Society of Glass Technology website.
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 7.00pm at The Art Workers Guild, Queen Square, London WC1 (Admission by ticket only). For booking details see the see the BSMGP website.
9 November: Glyn Davies of the Victoria and Albert Museum will speak about the stained glass in the new Medieval and Renaissance Galleries at the V&A at a special Worshipful Company of Glaziers Lecture, The Glaziers Hall, 9 Montague Close, London Bridge, London SE1 9DD. Admission is £5. For more information contact: info [at] worshipfulglaziers [dot] com
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