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A major new exhibition devoted to the stained glass collector and aesthete, Horace Walpole, has opened at the Victoria and Albert Museum in London. It will run until 4 July 2010. It includes a panel made in 1762 by the glass painter, William Peckitt (1731–1795) showing Walpole’s family coat of arms. [Fig. 1]
Horace Walpole (1717–1797), 4th Earl of Orford, was the youngest son of Britain’s first modern Prime Minister, Sir Robert Walpole. Although he followed his father’s footsteps into politics and served as a Member of Parliament from 1741 to 1768, he is best remembered as the creator of the Gothic revival architectural style known as ‘Strawberry Hill Gothic’, the centrepiece of this exhibition.
Walpole bought the four-acre estate at Strawberry Hill (between Twickenham and Richmond) in 1747. Thereafter he radically enlarged both the existing house and grounds, remodelling the former into a gothic fantasy castle. Part of the interior decoration saw the purchase and installation of hundreds of panels of displaced stained glass, much of it from the Low Countries. For the first phase of work (1750–1754) Walpole used Mr Palmer, of St Martin’s Lane, to set the panels in plain deeply-coloured glass, which showed off the pale roundels to great effect. Later (1759–1761) he called upon William Price the Younger (1703 or 1707–1756), the highly accomplished London glass painter, who provided richly-coloured settings of great sophistication. Following Price’s retirement in 1761, Walpole used the York glazier William Peckitt (1731–1795) to glaze the remainder of the house.
Apart from his collection of stained glass, Walpole was also famous for his extraordinarily eclectic collection of rare books and manuscripts, antiquities, paintings, prints and drawings, furniture, ceramics, arms and armour, and other assorted curiosities.
The exhibition coincides with the restoration and opening to the public of his house at Strawberry Hill where some of the glass he collected will be displayed, see: ‘Strawberry Hill Forever: The Restoration of a ‘Rampant Lion’, Panel of the Month, in Vidimus, 34, November 2008.
For details of opening hours, see the Victoria and Albert Museumwebsite. Please note that admission charges apply.
The exhibition is accompanied by a splendid hardback catalogue edited by Michael Snodin, Senior Research Fellow in the Research Department at the V&A. Horace Walpole’s Strawberry Hill has 356 pages, 300 illustrations and costs £40.00.
Further Reading about the Stained Glass
A unique exhibition of Marc Chagall’s original cartoons for his windows at the 12th-century church of All Saints at Tudeley (Kent) can be seen at the Mascalls Gallery in Paddock Wood (Kent) until 29 May. These designs are among the most important contributions to stained glass in the second half of the 20th century and their appearance in this exhibition is the first time that they have ever been shown in public. We are extremely grateful to Patricia Dunkin Webb, the Arts Coordinator at Tudeley, for contributing this fascinating introduction to how these designs evolved.
All Saints, Tudeley, is the only church in the world to have a complete set of windows designed by Marc Chagall, one of the most influential artists of the last century.
He was born Movsha Shagal to Jewish parents in 1887 at Vitebsk in imperial Russia, now part of present day Belarus. Apart from the period 1941–46 when he fled to the USA to escape persecution by the Nazis, he spent most of his adult life in France where he died in 1985.
In 1961 Sarah d’Avigdor Goldsmid, the daughter of Sir Henry Avigdor-Goldsmid, a landowner in the southern English county of Kent, went to Paris with her mother, Lady Rosemary, to see an exhibition of Chagall’s windows depicting the Twelve Tribes of Israel, before they were installed in the Hadassah Synagogue, Jerusalem.
Sarah was overwhelmed by what she saw. When she died two years later aged 21 in a sailing accident off the coast of Rye her parents commissioned Chagall to create a memorial window for her. It was an inspired choice as Sir Henry was Jewish and his wife (and daughters) committed Christians.
When Chagall subsequently attended the dedication service at the church he offered to design glass for the remaining windows. These designs give us a privileged insight into the artist’s creative mind as they reveal changes and how ideas are discarded, introduced or modified. Significantly the predominating colour is blue – for Chagall, the colour of love. [Fig.1]
The East Window
This is probably the best-known window in the church. [Fig. 2] However, as the drawings in the exhibition make clear, the design we see today is very different from Chagall’s original concept. The artist’s first watercolour sketch showed a female form rising from a Chagallian bouquet into a rainbow at the top. To her right is a cross, a ladder, two angels and the outline of a Deposition. For copyright reasons this drawing cannot be reproduced but readers of Vidimus can see it on the Réunion des Musées Nationaux photo agency website.
Select the search option and enter ‘Chagall, Tudely’ in the ‘Simple Search’ text box.
Although it is not clear why this design was discarded, Chagall’s next effort was more successful.
First he produced an embryonic monochrome design in ink and wash, recognisably the window we see today. This was followed by a second, more refined version, a watercolour which expresses his colour concept: a foretaste of what is to come. [Figs. 3 and 4]
A great swirl of blue depicts Sarah’s death: the mother figure on the left guides the eye to where Sarah is now riding a red horse (Chagall’s symbol of happiness). She moves towards a ladder, bathed in golden light and leading to the cross; here a benevolent welcoming Christ, enclosed in a rainbow, radiates calm and peace.
A third and final design (not illustrated here) shows Chagall still honing his ideas: the mother now has her two daughters in her arms, and a golden-winged angel runs towards the cross. Interestingly, Chagall has glued small patches of green cloth on this design. All this and more is incorporated into the realisation of the designs by Charles Marq, Chagall’s empathetic collaborator. Not obvious in the designs but clearly seen in the window is a small, upside-down head in the extreme right of the golden light.
The North Aisle – The Story of Creation
When Chagall first saw these five windows they were glazed with plain quarries. Chagall was very familiar with Biblical texts and used his ‘colour of love’ to emphasise the message of God’s love through Creation. The first window consists of two lancets showings episodes from the Book of Genesis: in the first, Adam and Eve stand below the Tree of Knowledge holding the forbidden fruit; in the second an angel appears. The watercolours in the exhibition are Chagall’s final cartoons for these windows. [Figs. 5 and 6]
Chagall’s designs for the other four windows in this aisle were based on Psalm 8 which rejoices in the Creation of the world. For the first he depicts the moon and stars, the beasts of the field, the fowl of the air and the fish of the sea. In the second is another Tree of Knowledge. In one of the finished windows, he has added a surprise for the viewer: on the right, a one-eyed face, and on the left a triangular one. The last design for this aisle features a glorious mix of red, purple, green and gold. The quatrefoil above is pink and blue with the darker blue shape of a fish, symbolising Christ.
The Four Chancel Windows: Bouquets
These drawings repay close study. Chagall has inscribed the word ‘bouquets’ on these designs, again presented on one sheet, and here the finished windows closely follow them.
The colour blue continues to dominate in the four slender lancets and Chagall has scattered red, green and gold amongst angelic figures, birds, goats and sheep. In one of the quatrefoils he has painted another simple head, again in gold but this time upright, mirroring the upside down face in the east window.
In the next window the name VAVA (Chagall’s wife Valentina Brodsky) appears under an angel’s wing – a word not apparent in the design; there are some who see the young Chagall’s self-portrait in the angel’s face. [Fig. 7]
A spinning red figure appears in the design of the window to the north.
The South Aisle – A Promise of New Life
Chagall painted the designs for these two windows in radiant gold with occasional splashes of colour. The four tiny lancets above each window resemble candles (lighting the way to Heaven?), while the design for the window nearest the chancel again demonstrates the evolution of Chagall’s ideas. What appears in the watercolour as a floral bouquet emerges in the window as a purple butterfly, a symbol of rebirth.
Marc Chagall left it to us to interpret his work:
‘A painter should never come between the work of art and the spectator. An intermediary may explain the artist’s work with no harm to it. But the artist’s explanation can only limit it. Better the understanding that grows from familiarity and the perspective that will come after the artist’s death. After all it is better to judge a painter by his pictures. His words do nothing but veil the vision.’ (James Johnson Sweeney: interview with Chagall in USA, 1946; quoted in Chagall – A Retrospective, Jacob Baal-Teshuva (ed.), Hugh Lauter Levin Associates, 1995.
In addition to the Tudeley cartoons, the exhibition also shows a recently discovered gouache by Chagall, Apocalypse in Lilac, depicting the brutality of war.
The exhibition at the Mascalls Gallery is entitled ‘Cross Purposes’ and looks at how different 20th-century artists have depicted Christ’s crucifixion: the works of Stanley Spencer, Duncan Grant, Eric Gill, Maggi Hambling and Emmanuel Levy, among others, can be seen alongside Chagall’s work. The exhibition is curated by Nathanial Hepburn.
Mascalls Gallery, Paddock Wood, Kent. Free admission. 01892 839039.
The British Archaeological Association is delighted to sponsor this edition of Vidimus. Our concerns are complementary, and we would like to take the opportunity to say something about who we are, and how the BAA shares a number of specific interests with the CVMA.
The BAA was founded in 1843 to promote the study and conservation of Britain’s archaeological past, since when its interests have broadened to encompass the study of European material culture. The art, architecture and archaeology of the middle ages, including stained glass, form the core of its interests, though the BAA has always maintained a broad perspective, and has hosted important lectures and papers on the Roman and early modern periods.
Between October and May we hold monthly lectures in London and convene an annual five-day conference focused on the medieval art, architecture and archaeology of a particular city or region. These have often included papers on stained glass. The last conference was devoted to medieval Canterbury (including papers on the south oculus ferramenta and late 15th-century ‘royal window’ at the cathedral), and the future programme envisages annual conferences in Newcastle, Krakow and Norwich. We also publish an annual journal and the transactions of our conferences. Both publications have an international academic audience. As a registered charity, the Association offers a number of free places to students to attend its conferences, and administers the Ochs Scholarships, awards that the Association makes available to research students.
More recent developments include the establishment of a biennial series of international conferences on Romanesque Europe, and the institution of twice yearly study days. These study days concentrate on a single medium or art-historical method, and are primarily intended to offer hands-on experience of medieval architecture or artefacts to postgraduates in the company of specialists. The next study day will concentrate on the medieval wall paintings at Shorthampton (Oxfordshire), and a study day on medieval stained glass in conjunction with York Glaziers Trust is planned for Spring 2011.
In conclusion, the Association supports the development of new work in its field of interest. It publishes, promotes scholarly gatherings and lectures, and offers scholarships for students to its conferences and study days. It also invites entries for a biennial essay prize (the Reginald Taylor and Lord Fletcher Essay Prize), and through the Ochs Scholarship gives substantial grants to enable scholars to bring important work to completion.
Our next annual conference will be at Newcastle on 17–21 July 2010, and details of this, the Shorthampton study day, and the lecture series can be found on the BAAwebsite.
John McNeil, Honorary Secretary
The BAA has often published articles of great interest to stained glass historians, either in its annual journal or as part of its ongoing Medieval Art, Architecture and Archaeology conference transactions series. Recent articles in the former include:
While the latter are:
The 2010 conference of the Stained Glass Group of the Institute of Conservation (ICON) will be held at the Cripps Auditorium, Magdalene College, Cambridge, on Wednesday 15 September 2010. Non-members are welcome. Sponsored by Chapel Studio, the event will examine, ‘Colleges, Parishes & Villas, Stained Glass Conservation in the South of England’ .
Confirmed speakers include art historian Martin Harrison (Victorian stained glass) and international conservators, Prof. Joost Caen (Belgium), Prof. Sebastian Strobl (Germany) and Elise Learner (France).
It promises to be an excellent day for knowledge gathering, debate and professional development.
Lunch is included in the delegate fee of £78 for ICON members and students, £88 non-members. For further details and information about booking please contact Peter Campling at peter [at] mcleadglaziers [dot] co [dot] uk or phone 01603 891505.
Don’t miss out on our special offers on three important books.
Vidimus readers can receive a 20% discount on the list price of Katerina’s Windows (reviewed in Vidimus 36 ) by downloading an order form from the website that accompanies the publication. Similar exclusive discounts are available on two eagerly awaited volumes from the German CVMA (Freiburg), Written by Dr Rüdiger Becksmann, the books focus on the stained glass in the historic city of Freiburg, especially the Münster, the church of the Dominicans and the Charterhouse. Together the two German-text volumes comprise 800 pages with about 1200 illustrations, 320 of them in colour. The books will be published in June.
Readers of Vidimus will receive a discount of more than 25% of the book price, that is €98 instead of €138 (plus postage of €10 within Germany and €15 abroad) if orders are placed before 31 March 2010.
For further information contact: info [at] cvma-freiburg [dot] de.
This month’s puzzle measures approx 24cm x 19cm. The paint has faded and a section to the right has been repaired with a much later insertion. It has been dated to 1550. The border is modern.
The scene shows two half-naked men tied to trees (?). They have white beards. To their left two other men are poised to throw rocks or stones at them. One wears a helmet and is using both arms to hold a large rock above his head; his bare-headed cohort holds rocks in both hands. Elsewhere another man picks up a stone. To the rear of these figures a basket of stones can be seen. Towering above the figures is a mounted man.
What is the subject?
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 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.
Friday 12 March: Joe Nuttgens – ‘A Working Argument: How I survived my father and became a Stained Glass Artist!’, BSMGP Spring lecture, 6.15 for 6.45pm at the Art Workers Guild, Queen Square, London WC1 (admission by ticket only). For more details contact the BSMGP.
Wednesday 7 April: A lecture on ‘The King Company Archive’ at the Hungate Medieval Centre, Norwich, 2.30pm, Admission £1. For more information see the Hungate Medieval Centre website.
Friday 18 June: BSMGP Summer Lecture and Annual General Meeting, AGM 5pm, Lecture 6.15 for 6.45pm, Glyn Davies (Research Fellow and Curator at the Victoria and Albert Museum) – ‘Leading and Light Boxes:Conserving the Stained Glass in the V&A’s Medieval and Renaissance Galleries’. For more information see the BSMGP website.
Friday 15 October: BSMGP Autumn Lecture 6.15 for 6.45pm, Tom Denny – ‘Recent windows in extraordinary buildings’. For more information see the BSMGP website.
Wednesday 17 March: University of York Stained Glass Research School Seminar on ‘Artists and Glass-painting in the 16th Century’ at the King’s Manor Lecture Hall, University of York. Beginning at 2.15 pm, the speakers will be Dr Hartmut Scholz (CVMA Germany), Secretary of the International Corpus Vitrearum on ‘Stained Glass in Nuremberg in the Time of Durer’ and between 3.30 – 4.15 pm, Dr Zsuzsanna van Ruyven-Zeman (CVMA Netherlands) on ‘Painters and Glass-painters: Stained Glass in the Netherlands during the 16th century’. Admission is free. The event will be followed by a reception.
Tuesday 23 March: ‘Glass for Vessels, Glass for Windows: Medieval Glass 1066–1550’. The Association for the Society for the History of Glass study day on medieval glass at the Wallace Collection, Hertford House, Manchester Square, London, W1U 3BN. CVMA Committee members will be among the speakers. Non-members are welcome to attend. For details, see Vidimus 37.
Thursday 8 April: Minstrels Gallery, a group specialising in medieval music, will present ‘Music in the Glass’ at the Hungate Medieval Centre in Norwich. The event will explore the medieval musical instruments depicted in Norfolk’s stained glass. 1pm–2pm, £6 admission. For more information see the Hungate Medieval Centre website.
Tuesday 20 April: BSMGP Discussion Day, 10.30–5.30. The day will focus particularly on the safe use of acid and on painting techniques. Speakers will include Chris Chesney – ‘Heavy metal, an acid trip and other useful drugs’ and Roy Coomber – Glass Painting Masterclass, at the Art Workers Guild, Queen Square, London WC1 (admission by ticket only). For more information contact the BSMGP.
Thursday 13–Sunday 16 May, Stained Glass Museum study weekend in Merseyside. The tour will focus on Liverpool and its surrounding areas. The guides will be CVMA author Dr Penny Hebgin-Barnes, author of CVMA volume The Medieval Stained Glass of Lancashire, and the distinguished stained glass artist Alfred Fisher, a native of Liverpool who trained in the studio of James Powell & Sons. The weekend will begin on Thursday afternoon with a visit to Port Sunlight to view the windows by 20th-century artist Ervin Bossanyi, as well as the Lady Lever Art Gallery which houses, among other exhibits, paintings by Sir John Millais and Sir Joshua Reynolds. Friday will take participants to both of Liverpool’s magnificent cathedrals to revel in 20th-century glass and to the Walker Art Gallery which will include a private visit to its wonderful collection of medieval glass (see Vidimus 2 ). On Saturday the party will visit the National Trust property of Speke Hall (1490–1612), richly endowed with armorial glass, and St Helen’s Church, Sefton, to see its medieval glass. Same-day visits to All Hallows Church, Allerton and Ullet Road Unitarian Church will also provide a feast for lovers of Burne Jones and William Morris windows. On Sunday participants will be free to explore the fascinating Museums and Galleries within walking distance of the hotel, including the Merseyside Maritime Museum, Tate Liverpool and the International Slavery Museum.
Residential: £355 (£330 for Friends of The Stained Glass Museum) includes: Accommodation: Thursday – dinner; Friday – breakfast, lunch, dinner; Saturday – breakfast,dinner; Sunday – breakfast.
Non-residential: £225 (£200 for Friends of The Stained Glass Museum) includes: Thursday – dinner; Friday – lunch, dinner; Saturday – dinner.
Both Packages Include: Travel to all sites, guide-receiving headset and a conference pack with notes on sites to be visited For more information, including booking forms, see the Stained Glass Museum website or email: studyweekend [at] stainedglassmuseum [dot] com.
Friday 11 June: ‘The Herkenrode Glass: the revival of Lichfield Cathedral’s Renaissance treasure’; Study day seminar at the Society of Antiquaries (London) (10am to 4pm): admission by ticket only. For details see the Society of Antiquaries website.
Saturday 17–20 July: British Archaeological Association conference, ‘Medieval Art, Architecture and Archaeology in Newcastle and the county of Northumberland (together with the former county of Tyne and Wear)’. For more information see the British Archaeological Association website.
Until 13 March: Faire is the Heaven, an exhibition of Paul Hurst’s photographs of Norfolk medieval church screens at Hungate Medieval Art, St Peter Hungate Church, Norwich. Paul Hurst is an associate of the Royal Photographic Society (RPS). Featured screens come from: Barton Turf St Michael, Burnham Norton St Margaret, Ranworth St Helen, Ludham St Catherine, Wellington St Andrew, Filby All Saints, Cawston St Agnes, Hempsted St Andrew, Horsham St Faith, Horsham St Mary and St Andrew, Castle Acre St James, Worstead St Mary. For further information see the Hungate Medieval Art website.
Until 23 May : The Mourners: Medieval Tomb Sculptures from the Court of Burgundy, at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, features 40 alabaster mourning figures from the tomb of John the Fearless (1371–1419), on loan from the Musée des Beaux-Arts in Dijon while the museum undergoes renovation. The exhibition is accompanied by a 128 page catalogue by Sophie Jugie. After closing in New York the exhibition will travel to six other museums in the USA before opening in Paris in 2012. For information about the New York exhibition see the Metropolitan Museum of Art website.
Until 24 May : Paris, Ville rayonnante, Le XIIIe siècle, âge d’or de l’architecture et de la sculpture exhibition at the National Museum of the Middle Ages (The Cluny) in Paris. Although not about stained glass, the exhibition will explore the architecture of buildings well known to Vidimus readers such as the Saint-Chapelle and the Chapel of the Virgin at Saint-Germain-des-Pres. For more information see the exhibition website.
Until 13 June: The Art of Illumination: The Limbourg Brothers and the Belles Heures of Jean de France, Duc de Berry, at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, is a once-in-a-lifetime display of the 172 sumptuous illuminations from the medieval prayer book, one of the Museum’s great treasures, while it is temporarily unbound for conservation (and the preparation of a facsimile edition). For further information see the Metropolitan Museum of Art website.
Until 3 July : Albrecht Durer: Virtuoso Printmaker, an exhibition of 45 prints from the collection of the Boston Museum of Fine Arts.
Until 4 July : Horace Walpole’s Strawberry Hill exhibition at the Victoria & Albert Museum, London. For more information see the Victoria & Albert Museum website.
From 1 June – 8 August: Old Testament Imagery in Medieval Christian Manuscripts at the Getty Centre, California, USA. For more information see the Getty Centrewebsite.
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URL to article: http://vidimus.org/issues/issue-38/news/
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