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An outstanding collection of Flemish stained glass, the third most important in Belgium, together with an exhibition of more than one hundred works by the famous 15th-century artist Rogier van der Weyden and his circle, are among the highlights currently on show at M, the restyled museum and art gallery in Leuven (Belgium), which has created from the former Vander Kelen-Mertens municipal museum. The stained glass is displayed permanently in Gallery Two.
The Rogier van de Weyden Master of Passions exhibition will run until 6 December and is unlikely to be surpassed for many years, Born in Tournai around 1400, the artist was initially known as ‘Rogier de le Pasture’ (Roger of the Pasture) but adopted the Dutch spelling of his name after moving to Brussels where he held the title of ‘painter to the town of Brussels’ (stadsschilder) from 1436 until his death in 1464. Alongside Jan van Eyck, he is rightly regarded as the most important painter in the Southern Netherlands in the 15th century. Some of his designs are thought to have influenced glass painters.
The opening ceremony was attended by Princess Mathilde of the Belgians and the Dutch Princess Máxima. [Fig. 1]
For details of the exhibition opening times, admission prices etc., see the exhibition website.
To coincide with the exhibition, a major international colloquium dedicated to the work of Rogier van der Weyden is being held in Leuven, 22–24 October. For more information about the conference see the colloquium website.
Rare 16th-century stained glass from the former Cistercian monastery of Mariawald, near Eifel (Germany), is being removed for safekeeping from its current home in an historic Norwich church after the foundations of the building were seriously damaged by a burst water main.
Temporary restraints and protective scaffolding have now been installed to hold up the eastern gable wall of the church of St Stephen in Rampant Horse Street, close to the Chapelfield shopping complex. The church will be closed for up to six months while the repairs are carried out. Terry Devlin of the Norfolk-based conservators, Devlin Plummer, will remove and eventually reinstall the glass. [Fig. 1]
The Mariawald glass forms part of a composite east window arrangement in the church window and consists of five almost life-size representations of saints and donors. [Fig. 2]
One of the kneeling female donor figures probably represents Maria (1491–1543), the daughter of the Count of Jülich and wife of Duke Johann III of Cleve and Berg. She was the mother of Anne of Cleves (1515 –1557), Henry VIII’s fourth wife. Behind her stands a monk saint, who has tentatively been identified as Robert of Molesme, the founder of the Cistercian order and the monasteries of Molesme and Cîteaux. Maria’s husband gave the glass to the Abbey in 1513. [Fig. 3]
Another window from the same sequence shows the figure of St Christopher with the arms of the Counts of Manderscheid-Blankenheim below. [Fig. 4] The panels were originally located in the choir of the abbey but were sold in the wake of Napoleon’s occupation of the Rhineland. The glass was brought to England and given to the church in the 19th century.
Apart from the glass from Mariawald, the east window of the church also includes significant fragments of its original English glazing, dated to c. 1533. These include typological scenes such as the Sacrifice of Isaac, and saintly figures in the tracery lights.
- Harford, D., ‘On the East Window of St Stephen’s Church, Norwich’, Norfolk Archaeology 15, 1904, pp. 335–45
- Wolff-Wintrich, B., ‘Stained glass in the former Cistercian monastery of Mariawald, Eifel, Germany’, The Journal of Stained Glass. XXXII, 2008, pp. 10–48. This article discusses the glass in St Stephen’s church.
- Täube, D., Rheinische Glasmalerei, Meisterwerke der Renaissance, Schnell & Steiner 2007 (German text only). The Mariawald Abbey glass is discussed in Vol II, pp. 158– 251.
- Woodforde, C., ‘Foreign Stained and Painted Glass in Norfolk’, Norfolk Archaeology, XXVI, 1938, pp. 73– 84 (p. 76)
Vidimus to grateful to Elizabeth Birkett of St Stephen’s church and to David King for their help with this item.
An important collection of 16th-century heraldic shields, formerly at Wroxton Abbey (Oxfordshire), will be among the star attractions when the Philadelphia Museum of Art reopens its newly refurbished Gallery 247 later this month. [Fig. 1]
The panels are part of an extensive collection of English heraldic panels bequeathed to the Museum by Eleanor Widener Dixon (1891–1953) and her son Fitz Eugene Dixon, Jr. (1923 –2006).
The collection was formed in the 1920s by Mrs Widener Dixon (the daughter of George D Widener, a wealthy businessman who perished aboard the Titantic when it sank in 1912) and her then husband, the banker and Davis Cup tennis player, Fitz Eugene Dixon, whom she married in 1912. The panels were installed in their mock-Tudor home, Ronaele Manor (Eleanor spelled backwards), a sixty-room mansion in Elkins Park, a suburb of Philadelphia (Pennsylvania) where they were illustrated in situ by the stained glass historian, Sydney Frederick Eden, in his privately printed catalogue The Collection of Heraldic Stained Glass at Ronaele Manor, London, 1927. [Fig 2]
The collection was bought from the English dealers Thomas and Drake (see note below) who had acquired the panels from Wroxton Abbey, Oxfordshire; Cassiobury House, Hertfordshire; Ashridge Park, Hertfordshire; Coombe Abbey, Warwickshire; Belhus House, Aveley, Essex and Sir Thomas Neave’s collection at Dagnam Park in Essex (sometimes confused with Dagenham in the same county). Apart from the panels on show in Gallery 247, some of these other items are on permanent display in Gallery 263.
Quite fortuitously a copy of Eden’s catalogue can now be read online at: http://www.archive.org/stream/collectionofhera00eden#page/n13/mode/2up.
The collection can also be viewed on the Philadelphia Museum of Art website. To access the glass go to ‘Collections’ at the top of the screen; select ‘Search collections’ in the right hand column of the page which next appears, enter ‘stained glass’ in the Search box and the panels will be seen from page 1 onwards.
Brief descriptions of the glass can also be found in Madeline H. Caviness (ed.), Stained Glass before 1700 in American Collections: Mid-Atlantic and Southeastern Seaboard States, USA Corpus Vitrearum Checklist II Studies in the History of Art 23, Washington, 1987, pp. 150–79.
Vidimus is extremely grateful to Brian Fagan, European Decorative Arts and Sculpture, The Philadelphia Museum of Art, for his help with his item.
Thomas & Drake had been set up by Grosvenor Thomas and Wilfred Drake shortly after World War I. After Thomas’s death in 1924 his son, Roy Grosvenor Thomas, took his place. Drake died in 1948, Thomas in 1956. Thomas & Drake are widely credited with introducing medieval stained glass to American collectors. See Marilyn M. Beaven, ‘Grosvenor Thomas and the making of the American market for medieval stained glass’, in Evelyn Staudinger Lane, Elizabeth Carson Pastan and Ellen M. Shortell (eds), The Four Modes of Seeing: Approaches to Medieval Imagery in Honor of Madeline Harrison Caviness, Ashgate, 2009, pp. 481–496.
The Stained Glass Museum in Ely Cathedral, Ely, Cambridgeshire, is seeking a new Curator. The salary is c. £23,000–£24,500, depending upon qualifications and experience.
The Trustees see the museum as a centre for discovering, learning about and enjoying the story of the development of the art and craft of stained glass, its practices and processes, from the earliest times to the present day. Candidates who have excellent interpersonal and management skills, personal flair and an understanding of stained glass, may find this the rewarding opportunity they want.
Could you lead this small specialist museum, which has a national scope and reputation, to develop further and fulfil its potential?
For further details, please apply to curator [at] stainedglassmuseum [dot] com or telephone 01353 660355. The closing date for applications is 9 November 2009.
The University of York, in association with the Church Buildings Council for England, is holding a pioneering two-day event over 24–25 November to discuss documenting stained glass conservation.
The event will bring together leading practitioners from the UK and abroad in a stimulating programme of lectures, discussion and practical site-based workshops in one of York’s historic parish churches.
The speakers will include Andrew Argyrakis (Church Buildings Council); Sarah Brown (University of York); Steve Clare (Holy Well Glass, Wells); Neil Moat (Church Buildings Council and Newcastle Diocesan Advisory Committee); Aletta Rambaut (International CVMA documentation working party and Studio Rambaut, Gent).
Lectures will take place in two of York’s most interesting historic buildings, The Bar Convent (day one) and the York Medical Society (day two), both in the centre of the city.
The price is £90 per person, including delegate pack, tea/coffee, but excluding lunches. For further information and details of how to take part in the event please contact Pam Ward, the course administrator at: pab11 [at] york [dot] ac [dot] uk
The closing date for applications is Wednesday, 11 November, 2009.
Six stained glass windows that were originally housed in the chapel of Cheadle Royal Hospital in Stockport (Lancashire) have been returned to the area. Made by Morris & Co, the windows were acquired by the Stockport Story Museum with the help of a grant of £50,000 from The Art Fund towards their total cost of £93,000.
Four of the windows were designed by Edward Burne-Jones and one by William Morris. The sixth was designed by John Henry Dearle, who was an apprentice to William Morris before becoming Art Director and principal stained glass designer at the company.
The six windows are expected to go on public display at the Stockport Story Museum in December 2009.
The Burne-Jones pieces, from cartoons originally drawn between 1868 and 1876, include a narrative scene portraying a seated Jesus blessing the children at his feet. The three others depict St Peter, the Virgin Mary and Christ Child, and St James the Greater respectively and share a background motif of diamond-shaped panels of light green foliage that is highly typical of the Morris & Co style. [Fig. 1]
The William Morris window shows two minstrel angels, one playing a dulcimer and the other a pair of pipes. The final piece, which is slightly damaged and incomplete, is part of a John Henry Dearle window depicting Christ’s ascension.
The windows were produced by Morris & Co between 1909 and 1915 for the Cheadle Royal Hospital Chapel. The hospital, which was originally known as the Manchester Royal Lunatic Asylum, played an important role in the history of the enlightened treatment of mentally ill patients during the 19th century. It was the first psychiatric hospital to accept voluntary patients. In 2001 the hospital was bought by a private health company, which converted the chapel to other uses and removed and sold almost all its glass.
In 2008 Peter Cormack, the former curator of the William Morris Gallery at the Vestry House Museum, wrote a 49-page catalogue of the glass: Morris and Company’s Stained Glass for the Chapel of Cheadle Hospital from designs by William Morris and Edward Burne-Jones, to coincide with an exhibition at the 2008 London Olympia Arts and Antiques Fair. PDF copies of the catalogue can be downloaded from the publisher’s website.
A sale by Rieunier & Associates at the Hôtel Drouot in Paris in September included English and continental medieval and renaissance stained glass. Reflecting current economic conditions, many items remained unsold. Among the exceptions was the figure of a musician playing a wind instrument, almost certainly 16th-century French, h 41 cm (16“). The hammer price was €3,000.
The star item in the sale was a group of extremely attractive French panels made around 1880–1910 which fetched €56,000.
Martin Crampin reports
A new online resource is available which includes many examples of stained glass from Wales.
The Imaging the Bible in Wales Database is one of the outputs of the Imaging the Bible in Wales Project (2005–8), based at the University of Wales, Lampeter. The database has over 3,000 images of biblical artwork from Wales mainly relating to the period 1825–1975. Much of this has been photographed specifically for the project in churches and chapels around Wales, and includes many examples of Gothic Revival, Arts and Crafts and later stained glass.
The database may be searched by location, makers and manufacturers, as well as by subject, and ‘window’ may be selected as an artwork type. As there are often other elements from churches included on the database, the glass may sometimes be seen in context with other artworks. In some instances notes on the themes and subjects of the windows are also included, as well as transcriptions of the inscriptions and dedications. Some larger windows have a number of views showing individual scenes.
As well as examples by many of the larger firms, including Hardman’s, Clayton and Bell, Morris and Co. and Kempe and Co., there are examples of the work of Arts and Crafts makers such as A. J. Davies, Karl Parsons and Florence Camm. There are also works by 20th-century artists working in Wales such as John Petts and Frank Roper, as well as Swansea’s Celtic Studios.
The project team are currently completing work on a book and a DVD-ROM, which will both feature stained glass from Wales. It is hoped that the online corpus of stained glass will continue to grow, as many more images have been recorded that have yet to be included on the database, and further funding is being sought to enable this in the future.
Earlier this year a major book on medieval art featuring important essays on medieval stained glass was published in honour of the well-known CVMA author, Madeline Harrison Caviness. It is reviewed extensively in this month’s BOOKS section.
We are delighted to announce that the publishers of The Four Modes of Seeing; Approaches to Medieval Imagery in Honor of Madeline Harrison Caviness are now offering an exclusive 20% discount on this book to readers of Vidimus. To claim this discount order online readers should visit theAshgate Publishing website and enter the code H9CCB20 in the ‘Promotional Code’ field when prompted at the checkout stage. The direct link to the book is http://www.ashgate.com/isbn/9780754660101.
This offer ends 31 December 2009 …just in time for Christmas!
The charitable arm of the Clothworkers Company, the Clothworkers Foundation, is offering travel bursaries of £1,000 to help qualified conservators from different specialisms attend conferences, courses, seminars and events directly relevant to their discipline and continuing personal development (CPD).
The Bursaries are only available for UK-based conservators employed by a private or public institution or who are self-employed. Glass conservators are among those eligible for such bursaries
The Foundation expects the individual attending the event, or their employer, to fund a significant portion of the total cost, with their bursary acting as a contribution towards reasonable travel and accommodation costs, and course/seminar fees. Not more than two applications for a particular event from the same organisation will be accepted.
Applications will be accepted throughout the year. Applicants should be aware that it can take up to two months to process an application. Retrospective applications will not be considered. Applications will be judged on a competitive basis by an expert panel.
For more information, including details of how to apply for this generous offer, see the Clothworkers Company website.
The Clothworkers Company was founded by Royal Charter in 1528, originally to protect and promote the craft of cloth-finishing within the City of London.
A guide to the wonderful stained glass of Königsfelden Abbey in the Kanton Aargau, Switzerland, is now online at: http://www.ag.ch/klosterkk/en/pub/klosterkirche/geschichte.php.
The website includes a diagram of the church along with photographs and brief descriptions of the glass. [Fig. 1]
Readers interested in this important glass might also be interested in the lengthy interview with Dr Brigitte Kurmnan-Schwarz, of the Vitrocentre, Romont in Vidimus 25. Dr Kurmnan-Schwarz is also the author of a recently published CVMA study of the glass: Die Mittelaterlichen Glasmalereien der Ehemaligen Klosrerkirche Königsfelden.
Although this month’s quiz features a damaged roundel, enough of the original design survives for the scene to be identified. In the foreground a bearded man is tied to a tree. Soldiers approach him. One is lifting his shield and seems to be making a sweeping stroke with his sword. The other wears decorative armour and carries a halberd, a staff weapon with an axe-like head balanced by a fluke and surmounted by a spike. The secondary scene shows a man gripped by others being led into a stone building. [Fig.1]
What story does the panel tell?
The Dutch stained glass historian, Dr Kees Berserik, has dated the roundel to c. 1540–1550 and assigned it to Antwerp glass painters working in the circle of Frans de Vriendt, known as Frans Floris (1517–1570). 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 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, and other panels in the series, please write to: news [at] vidimus [dot] org.
Until 8 November: Out of Bounds: Images in the Margins of Medieval and Renaissance Illuminated Manuscripts, at the Getty Centre, Los Angeles, California. Although only about manuscripts, interesting parallels with imagery in medieval stained glass can be seen. For more information see the Getty Centre website.
Until 6 December: The Dawn of the Gothic Age: Magdeburg Cathedral and the Late Staufer Period, at the Kulturhistorisches Museum, Magdeburg. The exhibition includes important 13th-century stained glass from Goslar. For more information see the Kulturhistorisches Museum website.
Until 6 December: Rogier van der Weyden, c.1400 –1464: Master of Passions. This exhibition will be held at the newly refurbished ‘M’ museum in Leuven, Belgium. For more information see the museum website.
Until 3 January 2010: Bruegel, Rembrandt & co.: Netherlandish drawings 1500–1800 is at the Hamburger Kunsthalle in Hamburg. For more information about the exhibition, see the Hamburger Kunsthalle website.
Until 10 January 2010 : Charles the Bold (1433 –1477) Art, War and the Courtly Splendour of Burgundy, at the Kunsthistorisches Museum (KHM) in Vienna (Wien). A BOOK review of the exhibition catalogue appeared in Vidimus 30. For more information see the Kunsthistorisches 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: Hungate Medieval Art Centre (Norwich) Autumn Lecture, 7.30 pm at the Centre. Claire Daunton will speak about the role of patrons in the commissioning of medieval stained glass with special reference to the exhibition she has curated in the Centre. Tickets are £4.50 on the door and £3.50 if pre-booked. For more information or to book tickets contact Dale Copley: 01603 623254 (office hours) or Dale [dot] Copley [at] hungate [dot] org [dot] uk.
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.
17 October – 24 January 2010: Scripture for the Eyes, an exhibition of 16th century Netherlandish prints at the Michael C. Carlos Museum, Emory University, Atlanta, USA. For more information, see the Michael C. Carlos Museum website. A BOOK review of the exhibition catalogue appeared in Vidimus 32.
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.
3 November: Stained Glass Museum Autumn Lecture, 7.30 pm, Ely Methodist Church. Professor John Morrill will speak about ‘William Dowsing and the destruction of religious images in the English Civil War’. For more information, see the Stained Glass Museum website.
5 November: Hungate Medieval Art Centre (Norwich) Autumn Lecture, 7.30 at the Centre. Susan Matthews MBE, the curator of the Stained Glass Museum in Ely, will speak about the Museum and its exhibits. Tickets are £4.50 on the door and £3.50 if pre-booked. For more information or to book tickets contact Dale Copley: 01603 623254 (office hours) or Dale [dot] Copley [at] hungate [dot] org [dot] uk
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.
13 November – 26 February 2010: Botticelli, an exhibition of 80 works by the Italian renaissance artist Sandro Botticelli and his circle at the Städel museum, Frankfurt. For more information visit the Städel museum website.
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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