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A possibly unique example of the ‘Sunday Christ’ or ‘Warning to Sabbath Breakers’ in stained glass is one of the many unexpected treasures revealed in this month’s special feature on the Pre-Dissolution stained glass of Cornwall. The panel can be seen at the Royal Cornwall Museum in Truro where it is on loan from the parish church of St Neot.
The panel shows the haloed Christ as a standing figure wearing a loin cloth, surrounded by a variety of tools and other objects, including a dice and a playing card. [Fig. 1]
Although the panel lacks any inscription, similar examples found in other art of the period make it clear that the image was intended as a warning or rebuke to Christians not to work (or participate in inappropriate pursuits such as gambling) on the Sabbath, thus injuring Christ and incurring damnation for the sinner. Its similarity to images of Christ as the Man of Sorrows was probably intentional: as the Man of Sorrows Christ is often shown with Instruments of the Passion, such as hammers, and pincers. In the ‘Warning to Sabbath Breakers’, instruments of inappropriate labour/sport repeat these injuries. Apart from its depiction at St Neot, three medieval wall paintings of the subject survive in Cornwall, at Breage, Poundstock and St Just-in-Penwith, while another, now lost, was at Lanivet. [Fig. 2]
Prior to the discovery of this panel no other examples of this subject in stained glass had been known either in the UK or elsewhere in Europe where this image appears as a wall painting.
Although a drawing of the panel was made by the Victorian architect John Pike Hedgeland during his restoration of the church, it was not reproduced in his published account of the St Neot glass: ‘A description, accompanied by sixteen coloured plates, of the splendid decorations recently made to the church of St Neot, in Cornwall, at the sole expense of the Reverend Richard Gerveys Grylls by John Pike Hedgeland, published in 1830, and printed for J.P. Hedgeland (London)‘. [Fig. 3]
By 1885 or earlier the panel was removed from the church and stored in the local vicarage until its rediscovery in 2000.
A full description of this interesting panel and its history will appear in a later issue.
Vidimus is particularly grateful to Sarah Lloyd of the Royal Cornwall Museum and to Angela Broom of the Courtney Library in Truro for their help with this item.
Last month we lost our friend, the CVMA author Kerry Ayre [Fig. 1], who died of cancer at a tragically early age. Born in 1963 in north London, Kerry (née Folkard) excelled at her local school (Latymer, Edmonton) before going to the University of York to study english and history. Like many other members of the British CVMA, it was at York that Kerry’s interest in stained glass was awakened. As part of her undergraduate studies she was taught medieval art history by the pioneering stained glass scholar Dr Peter Newton. His course was, in Kerry’s own words, ‘a revelation’. In 1985, keen to learn more, and encouraged by Peter, she enrolled to do an MA by dissertation. Her subject was – at Peter’s suggestion – the English medieval stained glass roundel.
Peter’s own illness and untimely death meant that Kerry’s MA, awarded in 1987, was supervised by another leading stained glass historian and CVMA author – David O’Connor. David continued to provide much support as Kerry worked in the following years to turn her thesis into a book. It was published as a CVMA (GB) summary catalogue in 2002. [Fig. 2] Since then Kerry had continued her work for the CVMA, compiling a summary catalogue of the medieval stained glass in Essex.
Initially, Kerry fitted her research and writing around full-time employment – as CVMA Archivist at the National Monuments Record 1986–1988 and then as curator of a private art collection. Later, she combined it with motherhood and, more recently, with work at her children’s school. In 1988 Kerry married Julian Ayre, whom she had met at university. The couple settled near friends in Colchester where they could enjoy the Essex countryside while remaining close enough to London to enjoy its theatres and art galleries. Kerry – an inspirational mother – adored her sons James and Alex, and loved the company of her family and friends.
To her CVMA colleagues she was a generous spirit; vivacious, warm, self-deprecating, funny and a wonderful raconteur. We miss her very much.
* K. Ayre, ‘English Figurative Stained Glass Roundels Produced Before 1530′, Journal of the British Society of Master Glass Painters, xix (1), 1989–90, pp.1–17
* K. Ayre, Medieval English Figurative Roundels, CVMA (GB), Summary Catalogue 6, Oxford, 2002
* K. Folkard, A Preliminary Catalogue of English Figurative Stained Glass Roundels Produced Before 1530, MA Dissertation, University of York, 1987
Fierce bidding between dealers and private collectors saw four stained glass windows, formerly in Compton Verney Chapel, Warwickshire, sell well above their estimated price at a Sotheby’s (London) auction earlier this month.
Consigned by Barbera Piasecka Johnson, one of America’s richest women, the windows were among five stained glass lots from her collection of mainly old master paintings offered for sale at the auction.
The Compton Verney windows were sold in two lots, each consisting of two windows containing a single standing figure. Lot 29 depicted St Anthony Abbot and St Mathurin(us) while Lot 30 showed St Christopher and St Margaret of Antioch. [Figs. 1 and 2] The pre-sale estimates for both lots were between £5000–7000. In the event, inclusive of buyer’s premium, lot 29 was sold for £27,500 while lot 30 soared to £42,050.
The figures in both lots were probably made in Germany or Flanders in the early part of the 16th century. They were removed from Compton Verney in July 1931 when the contents of the house and chapel were sold by a previous owner. The plain glass background settings could be 18th century. Apart from the Compton Verney panels, two of three other lots were also sold. Lot 21 was a 16th century Flemish panel depicting the Baptism of Christ measuring 137cm by 62cm (54″ by 24¼”). It had previously been sold at Christies (New York) in 1981. Against a pre-sale estimate of £4–6,000 it fetched £11,875, including the buyer’s premium. With lot 22 (A Resurrection scene) unsold, the last of this group was lot 23, described as German, possibly Rhenish, and dated to the first quarter of the 16th century. Depicting the Crucifixion, it measured 155cm by 65cm (61″ by 25½”), and had previously belonged to two American collectors, Alfred Beadleston of Rumson before 1938 and latterly to George A Douglass whose sale of medieval art took place at Sotheby’s New York in 1996. The panel was described briefly in the CVMA (USA) Checklist II of Stained Glass before 1700 in American Collections: New England and New York, p. 27. It sold for £9,375 against a pre-sale estimate of £5 –7000. This panel has later insertions.[Figs. 3 and 4].
Vidmus is grateful to Mary Engleheart of Sotheby’s for her help with this item.
We are delighted to report that Susan Mathews, the curator of the Stained Glass Museum in Ely Cathedral, has been made a Member of the Order of the British Empire [MBE] by the Queen. The birthday honours list cited Susan’s outstanding contribution to the visual arts during twenty years of service to the Museum. [Fig. 1]
Susan joined the Museum as curator in 1990 and oversaw its move in 1998–1999 to the South Triforium in Ely Cathedral.
The Vidimus team sends its thanks and best wishes to Susan.
In the wider heritage community, honours were also awarded to Professor Ian Ralston, for services to archaeology in Scotland; Professor Warwick James Rodwell, for services to ecclesiastical archaeology; and Fiona MacCarthy, author of, amongst other works, William Morris: a Life for our Time.
The Hungate Medieval Art Centre in Norwich has published ten ‘Stained Glass Trails’ for visitors to the county. Most ‘trails’ consist of four or five churches grouped together geographically. Each trail is described in an attractively produced ten-page booklet which includes a double-page spread map and informative entries about the glass by CVMA author, David King. Copies are free with admission to the Centre. The full set of ten guides can be bought separately from the Centre, price £5 including post and packaging.
The ten trails are:
* Stody, Bale, Field Dalling, Cley
* East Barsham, Great Walsingham, Wighton, Warham, South Creake
* Banningham, Colby, Erpingham, Sustead
* North Tuddenham, Elsing, Weston Longville, Ringland
* Ketteringham, Mulbarton, Saxlingham Nethergate, Shelton
* Kimberley, Hingham, Ashill, Great Cressingham
* Mileham, South Acre, Harpley, West Rudham
* East Harling, Attleborough
* Outwell, Downham Market, Wiggenhall St Mary Magdalen, Wiggenhall St Mary the Virgin
* Stratton Strawless, Cawston, Salle
Launching the publication of the trails, Centre Manager, Dale Copley, told Vidimus: ‘We hope the trails will encourage more people to visit these churches and discover their superb stained glass. The booklets include brief introductions to the church themselves as well as information about how visitors can access the church. We are extremely grateful to David King for his help and to Mike Dixon for his excellent photographs.’
To order a full set of the Hungate Stained Glass Trails, please contact: info [at] hungate [dot] org [dot] uk.
To read more about some of the churches mentioned in these trails, see the catalogue entries on the medieval stained glass of Norfolk on the CVMA website.
Important glass from the East window tracery lights at All Saints church, Boughton Aluph, near Ashford in Kent, has been conserved by Jonathan and Ruth Cooke’s studio.
Although described as ‘outwardly more quaint than beautiful’ the church has a remarkably spacious interior and three fine windows with significant remnants of early glass. [Figs.1 and 2]
The tracery in the main five-light east window contains mid-14th century figures while the tracery of a window in the north aisle (nVII) includes shields identified as belonging to colleagues of Sir Thomas de Aldon who owned the manor of Boughton 1329–61. [Figs. 3, 4 and 5]
The conservation process involved cleaning the glass and removing unsightly lead lines before reinstating the panels within a new protective glazing system.
* C. R. Councer. ‘The Medieval Painted Glass of Boughton Aluph’ Journal of the BSMGP, ix (3), 1945, pp. 80–86
Fragments of pre-1700 painted window glass have been discovered by archaeologists from the West Yorkshire Archaeology Service, ASWYAS, working at a development site in Ripon, Yorkshire, owned by Home Housing.
The glass was recovered during the excavation of a medieval lime-kiln found on the site.
The glass had been used as ‘backfill’ in the kiln along with other materials such as small rocks, pottery and bones, both animal and human.
According to principal archaeologist, Ian Roberts, ‘The kiln seems to have been abandoned in the mid 16th-century. It is too soon to identify the glass exactly. It is impossible to say where the glass came from’. [Fig. 1]
Dr David Rivers, of the Ripon Community Archaeology Project, has suggested that the kiln could have been used to provide quicklime during the rebuilding of the central tower of Ripon Cathedral which took place in the late 15th century following its collapse in 1454, as well as expansion works relating to the nave and side aisles which were completed in the 1500s.
Vidimus is grateful to Home Housing for permitting us to reproduce this image. Thanks are also extended to Ian Roberts, Paul Gwilliam and ASWYAS for their help with this item.
The last two windows needing conservation at St Mary’s church, Fairford (Gloucestershire), have been removed by Keith Barley and his team.
When these windows are returned next year it will complete a twenty-five year programme of repair and restoration to protect all of the church’s twenty-eight windows.
The Fairford glazing was installed in a single planned campaign between 1500 and 1515, and is the most complete scheme of medieval glass in any English parish church.
The two windows that were removed came from the north aisle and depict Old Testament prophets holding scrolls inscribed with their ‘creed’. They face Apostles holding similar scrolls in the south aisle.
Window 18 (nVIII) depicts Obadiah, Daniel, Malachi and Micah. It has suffered areas of paint loss. [Figs 1, 2 and 3]
Whereas this window will be fully restored, the adjacent window 19 (nVII) is in much better condition and will only be cleaned, providing an interesting point of comparison with the other windows in the church.
Both windows will be installed in protective glazing schemes when they are returned to the church next year.
An excellent introduction to the windows at Fairford church is S. Brown and L. MacDonald, Fairford Parish Church: A Medieval Church and its Stained Glass, 2007 (revised edition).
Five months after the collapse of the world famous Cologne Archives Office, teams of conservators are still working tirelessly to sort out which of the city’s historical records have been recovered intact, partially intact or possibly lost forever. These include the records of the Zunft der Schilderer, Maler, Bildschnitzer und Wappensticker, the famous medieval guild which included the city’s glass painters and glaziers, as well as panel painters and sculptors.
Last month Vidimus spoke to Dr Ulrich Fischer, the Deputy Director of the Archives Office, about the disaster. He began by explaining that copies of most of the earliest records, including those of the Guild, had been stored on microfilm prior to the building’s collapse and were housed at a separate – and safe – location in the city’s suburbs where researchers could still access them.
‘The main building collapsed at around 1.58 pm on 3 March. The janitor heard strange groaning noises and discovered huge cracks in the walls. As a result of his warnings the building was immediately evacuated. Thanks to his quick thinking none of our staff or visiting researchers were injured. Sadly two people who were sleeping in a nearby apartment block were killed when adjoining buildings also collapsed.
When the building collapsed some of the records fell into the street while others literally sank into a vast underground hole which appeared below the Archives Office.
In the immediate aftermath of the collapse paper conservators from all over Germany – and further afield – arrived in Cologne to help us recover as much as could. We are extremely grateful for their support. Unfortunately around 15–20% of the archives are still trapped below ground water level and we cannot be sure what proportion has survived. A temporary building has been erected over the site while engineers and other experts work out what kind of special equipment will be needed to salvage these documents.
It is too early to assess the state of the saved material. When the building collapsed the contents of many boxes were scattered all over the site. It might take decades to examine the surviving documents and to collate them properly.
Although we cannot say for sure what has survived, I am hopeful that most of the early documents have already been recovered from the site.’
Last month’s International Forum for the Conservation and Restoration of Stained Glass Windows in New York was a tremendous success writes CVMA Conservation advisor Keith Barley.
Despite the economic recession, the conference was extremely well-attended and provided unrivalled opportunities for conservators from across the globe not just to discuss problems, but to find solutions.
Four themes stood out. The first was a general point: the absolute importance of everyone involved in the conservation of stained glass – modern as well as medieval – to collaborate with other experts such as art historians, scientists and architects before rushing to make decisions.
The other three areas were more specific: the need to retain and respect original leadings; the importance of installing protective glazing schemes and finally the need to pay particular attention to the use of epoxy resin adhesives for bonding glass. Already some of these applications are showing signs of colour changing, usually a ‘yellowing’ which can appear unsightly. Unless protected from UV light this problem could get worse. Some research may also have to be undertaken into whether these ‘tight bonds’ put the adjacent glass under any additional stress when they expand and contract.
There were also particular highlights. Mine are probably different to others, but I found Professor Ian Freestone’s presentation on the research he is undertaking into the chemical composition of glass as a way of identifying sources of production and helping to explain why some glass deteriorates at a faster rate than others, particularly fascinating.
Fig. 1. St Faith, Church of the Transfiguration, New York. © Keith Barley.
Fig. 1. St Faith, Church of the Transfiguration, New York. © Keith Barley.
Other highlights included contributions about new technology and the use of laser scanning to rediscover apparently lost paint in glass. Another useful discussion focused on post-1960 Dalle de Verre glass embedded into concrete and the problems that this is causing conservators
Fortunately all the papers will be published by BREPOLS as soon as they have been edited.
One last point needs to be said – again and again! The event was superbly organised from beginning to end. Everything worked on time and very well. The Metropolitan Museum in New York was extremely generous in their support for the event, and the conference organisers, Lisa Pilosi and her colleagues, did a wonderful job.
Apart from the conference itself, we also enjoyed tours of the Cloisters museum and site visits to a number of important New York churches, including St Patrick’s Cathedral and the Church of the Transfiguration. It was for all a most rewarding event and one that will remain in my memory and that of other delegates. [Fig. 1]
The next International Forum will be held in Lisbon in 2012.
The University of York will be holding a three-day masterclass in glass-painting from 30 September – 2 October 2009. The masterclass will be conducted by Jonathan Cooke, one of the UK’s leading glass painters.
The event will be held in the custom-designed stained glass workshop in the University’s historic King’s Manor building in the centre of York.
* Receive assistance and instruction in carrying out and completing a restoration project of their own (painting and firing only), using appropriate materials, or
* Have a more open-ended opportunity to explore and experiment with a range of techniques and recipes, working with traditional glass-painting materials in a variety of ways.
There will also be an evening opportunity to examine at close quarters panels from the world-famous great east window of York Minster (John Thornton, 1405–08), one of Europe’s greatest masterpieces of medieval glass-painting.
The course costs £300. Applications must be submitted before Wednesday, 23 September. For more information contact Pam Ward, the course administrator, on 01904 433997 or by email (pab11@ york.ac.uk).
On 10 September CVMA author David King (author of The Medieval Stained Glass of St Peter Mancroft, Norwich) will give a lecture at the Hungate Medieval Art Centre on the nineteenth-century trade in medieval stained glass from the continent to England, a trade which was centred on Norwich.
The lecture will begin at 7.30 pm, admission is free. As spaces are limited it is advisable to book tickets in advance on: 01603 623254.
CVMA author Dr Penny Hebgin-Barnes will give an illustrated talk on Cheshire Stained Glass from the 14th to the 17th centuries to the Cheshire Heraldry Society at 2.30pm on Sat 26 September at the Townley Steet Schoolroom, Townley St, Macclesfield. For futher details see the Cheshire Heraldry Society website.
To see more stained glass from Cheshire visit the CVMA Picture Archive.
Canterbury cathedral’s famous stained glass will be one of the topics for discussion at an important symposium focusing on conservation issues at the cathedral on Thursday, 15 October 2009. An optional tour of the cathedral’s stained glass studio will be available on the 16 October.
Sessions at the main event – ‘New Techniques for Old Problems’ – will feature the independent conservator Tobit Curteis speaking on environmental factors in the cathedral, and Leonie Seliger, the head of the cathedral’s stained glass studio, discussing, ‘The Great Eye of Canterbury: The Twelfth Century South Oculus Window’.
A full list of the speakers at the symposium together with information about bookings and accommodation can be found on the Cathedral website.
The South oculus window is one of the greatest treasures of the cathedral. [Fig. 1] Because of its great height from the cathedral floor (18m (60′)) it is exposed to everything the weather can throw at it. Leonie will describe the ancient glass and its surviving external metal supports, and explain why the conservation project requires a collaborative effort between the Cathedral Chapter, architects, conservators and art historians.
This month’s puzzle shows a bearded man thrusting a sword into the chest of a fallen figure. Blood spurts from the wound. The event is watched by a young man who sits at a banqueting table laid with a cloth and spread with bowls and what appear to be bread rolls or cakes. A gold cup with a knobbed top can also be seen. To the right of the young man more gold items are displayed on the top shelf of a buffet. A cloth or tapestry decorated with floral motifs hangs behind him. He appears to sitting below a tester. In the upper left the painter has used a common narrative technique by depicting a secondary incident from the same story as a minor scene within the panel. A man and a woman sit on a bed. The man has his arm around her. [Fig. 1]
The panel currently belongs to a private collector in Flanders. It was probably painted in the Southern Low countries during the first quarter of the 16th century. To date it has not been assigned to any known workshop.
Roundels of this period depict 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 Paul Taylor of the Warburg Institute in London. His explanation can be found at the foot of the Books section.
If any reader has any comments or queries about this or other panels in the series, please write to: news [at] vidimus [dot] org/
Until 21 July: ‘Charles the Bold, the Splendour of Burgundy’ at the Groeninge Museum, Bruge. This is a magnificent exhibition focusing on the art and culture of the court of Charles the Bold (1433 –1477). For more details see the Groeninge Museum website. For a review of the exhibition catalogue, see Vidimus 30,Books section.
Until 25 July: ‘Painting with Light’ exhibition at the Glencairn Museum (USA) for more information see the Glencairn Museum website.
Until 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.
19 June: Andrew Rudebeck will speak about the 15th-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 July: Peter Cormack will give the Stained Glass Museum Annual Lecture at 5.30pm at the church of St Ethelberga, Bishopsgate, London. His subject will be, ‘A Continued Protest against Medievalism’: the Stained Glass of Henry Holiday 1839–1927. For more information see the Stained Glass Museum 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.
19 July: The conservator Diane Rousseau will be speaking on ‘Ancient Glass from Hampton Court, Herefordshire: An Approach to Conservation’
21 July: Lectures of interest to Vidimus readers at the annual conference of the British Archaeological Association in Canterbury include Jane Geddes of Aberdeen University speaking on ‘The Space Frame: Buckminster Fuller and medieval ferramenta on the South Oculus, Canterbury Cathedral’ and CVMA Secretary Heather Gilderdale talking about ‘The Royal Window (c.1485) at Canterbury Cathedral: Dynastic Expression and rivalry in Late Medieval England’.
31 August – 6 December: ‘The Dawn of the Gothic age: Magdeburg Cathedral and the Late Staufer Period’, at the Kulturhistorisches Museum, Magdeburg. The exhibition will include examples of stained glass. For more information see the museum 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 programme at York University; and conservator Ruth Cooke describing a case study of the conservation of a 15th-century stained glass window from the Savile Chapel, St Michael and All Angels, Thornhill (Yorkshire). For more information and updates see the Society of Glass Technology website.
20 September – 6 December: ‘Roger van der Weyden, c.1400 –1464: Master of Passions’. This exhibition will be held at the newly refurbished museum in Leuven, Belgium. For more information see the museum website.
6 October: Stained Glass Museum Autumn Lecture, 7.30pm, Ely Methodist Church. Dr Frank Woodman FSA will speak about – Becket’s Glassy Bones – The Glazing of Canterbury Cathedral. For more information, see the Stained Glass Museum website.
15 October: New Solutions for Old Problems: Symposium on Conservation at Canterbury Cathedral. For more information see the Canterbury Cathedral 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.
20 October: Stained Glass Museum Autumn Lecture, 7.30pm, Ely Methodist Church. The well-known stained glass painter and conservator Alf Fisher will speak about – ‘Studio Reminiscences of James Powell & Sons’. For more information, see the Stained Glass Museum website.
9 November: Glyn Davies of the Victoria and Albert Museum will speak about the stained glass in the museum’s new Medieval and Renaissance Galleries 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.
17 November: Stained Glass Museum Autumn Lecture, 7.30pm, Ely Methodist Church. Lady Alexandra Wedgwood will speak on – ‘Pugin and the Decorative Arts at the Palace of Westminster’. For more information, see the Stained Glass Museum website.
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