Welcome to the first issue of Vidimus in 2011.
As usual, this issue is full of surprises and fascinating stories. We have reports of new exhibitions, forthcoming conferences, new websites and much more. Our Panel of the Month sees Roger Rosewell take a close look at the only confirmed surviving representation in stained glass of a subject known as the Warning to Idle Gossips. Our main Feature by CVMA author David King reveals the secrets behind two previously unexplored windows, now in a private house in Norfolk while our Books pages includes the first of a series of reviews of new titles issued by the specialist publisher, Shaun Tyas.
Have a great 2011.
Anna Eavis (Editor)
Leading the Way: King Archive Exhibition in Norwich
An exhibition celebrating the successful cataloguing of the archive of one of Britain’s most important twentieth-century firm of stained glass conservators, G. King and Son (Lead Glaziers) of Norwich, has opened at the Norfolk Record Office.
The exhibition showcases the work of the firm, and, in particular, the work of master craftsman, Dennis King (1912–1995). Displays include information about some of the key projects and types of work undertaken by the firm. Chief among these are the restoration techniques that were developed for the Jesse window at Winchester College, conservation work at East Harling church and in Norwich Cathedral and installations of new glass at the church of St Thomas in the Norwich suburb of Heigham and at Hull Guildhall.
A second strand of the exhibition tells the story of how the archive was saved from export and came to the Norfolk Record Office in 2004, and the subsequent project to catalogue it, preserve it and make its contents fully accessible. Aided by funding from the National Cataloguing Grant Programme, distributed by The National Archives, the project involved archivists, conservators and volunteers developing new ways of working together. The resulting detailed catalogue will be accessible online later this year.
The exhibition is at The Archive Centre (next to County Hall) in Norwich, and runs until 16 April. The exhibition is open to the public Monday, Wednesday to Friday from 9.00 a.m. to 5.00 p.m., on Tuesdays from 9.20 a.m. to 5.00 p.m. and on Saturdays from 9.00 a.m. to 12.00 noon. Admission is free of charge.
An obituary of Dennis King by the CVMA author, Hilary Wayment, is available on the Independent newspaper website.
Exhibition of Medieval Stained Glass at Ely Stained Glass Museum
Rarely seen panels of medieval stained glass will be displayed at an exhibition opening at the Stained Glass Museum, Ely later this month. ‘Through the Eye of the Collector: A Rare Glimpse of Stained Glass from Private Collections’ will feature loan items from some of the UK’s leading collectors. These include Sam Fogg, George Wigley and Andrew Rudebeck. Among the themes discussed by the exhibition will be why people collect stained glass. The curator is Kate Lycett. Running from 30 January – 25 March, the exhibition will be held in the Museum’s main reception/shop area. Admission will be free.
For further information see the Stained Glass Museum website.
William Price at Oxford Cathedral
An exhibition at Christ Church College, Oxford, throws new light on the background to the lost east window of Christ Church Cathedral, the 1696 Adoration of the Shepherds by William Price the elder (d.1709). [Fig. 1]
Geoffrey Lane writes:
The exhibition, showcasing prints from the extensive collection of Henry Aldrich, Dean of Christ Church 1692–1710, includes a large print derived from a painting attributed to Cornelis van Cleve (1520–1554+) – itself loosely based on a Raphael cartoon – which seems to have served as the basis for Price’s window. The Cleve picture also hangs nearby, although it did not come to Christ Church until 1765.
Aldrich was clearly much taken by his print, and made his own pen-and-wash copy, adding an extra sculpture to one of the two classical buildings which loom behind the Holy Family, the shepherds and the stable, but preserving the problematic figure of God the Father, hovering overhead surrounded by angels.
However, the drawing falls well short of a vidimus for the window, where the scene was spread over three lights, the problematic figure of God the Father replaced by a golden sun, and one of the buildings by a palm tree in a receding landscape. The exhibition does not account for this substantial revision, or elucidate the possible involvement of the young James Thornhill (1675/6–1734), to whom the window design has been attributed since the late eighteenth century. It also perhaps misses a trick by not displaying either of the two early eighteenth-century aquatints, by Rudolph Ackermann (1764–1834) ( see 2009 Journal of Stained Glass, page 59) and Charles Wild (1781–1835), which show the Price window in colour and in context. It does include a detailed drawing of the window, and some surviving fragments of the glass, although without backlighting the latter are difficult to make out.
The exhibition: Henry Aldrich (1648 –1710) – An Oxford Universal Man continues at Christ Church Picture Gallery until 30 January 2011. For admission charges and opening hours see the Christ Church, Oxford website.
Treasures of Heaven: Saints, Relics and Devotion in Medieval Europe conference at the British Museum: Friday 7 – Saturday 8 October: Call for Papers
Papers are invited for Matter of Faith, a conference that will expand the themes addressed in a forthcoming exhibition Treasures of Heaven: Saints, Relics and Devotion in Medieval Europe which will run at the British Museum from 23 June to 9 October 2011.
The exhibition is currently on show at the Cleveland Museum of Art in Ohio and will travel to the Walters Art Museum in Baltimore before opening in London later this year: For more information See the Treasures of Heaven pages on the Columbia University website.
The cults of saints and their shrines are often depicted in medieval stained glass and both events will be of interest to Vidimus readers. The London conference seeks to take an interdisciplinary approach to the objects on display, inviting contributors from many different fields, including conservation and science. The organisers want to stimulate new connections and prompt further research. It is anticipated that the papers will be published in 2012.
Suggested general topics are:
– Manifestations of the medieval cult of relics and the cult of saints
– Pilgrimage, real and virtual
– Reliquaries and shrines; their construction, use and re-use
– Patronage and relic collecting
Abstracts of no more than 500 words should be submitted by Friday 28 January 2011.
By post: Anna Harnden, Prehistory and Europe, British Museum, London, WC1B 3DG.
By email: aharnden [at] britishmuseum [dot] org.
See also: the British Museum website.
Harry Clarke Website
An excellent new website has been launched devoted to the work of the acclaimed Irish stained glass artist, Harry Clarke (1889–1931).
The site includes a biography of the artist and much more.
Images of Harry Clarke’s work can also be seen on Flickr (the online digital image sharing site) with contributions by Aidan McRae Thomson.
First Successes! MA in Stained Glass Conservation and Heritage Management
The first students in the University of York’s new MA in Stained Glass Conservation and Heritage Management completed their two year course with flying colours. Three students secured distinctions and External Examiner Professor Sebastian Strobl declared that all seven dissertations ‘made exceedingly good reading!’. These will soon be available through the University’s library and the topics and their authors are listed below.
Marian Austin, ‘Margaret Agnes Rope (1883–1953): a new perspective on a unique stained glass artist’ (Distinction); Helen Bower, ‘An archaeological investigation, documentation and reconstruction of the Becket cycle stained glass from York Minster CH I and St Michael le Belfry nV, York’; Nancy Georgi, ‘The glazed screens of Trinity Street Station, Bolton: a case study in the care and conservation of decorative leaded glazing’; Alison Gilchrist, ‘“The tears wept by our windows”: severe paint loss from stained glass windows of the mid-nineteenth century’ (Distinction); Kathrin Kowolik, ‘The thirteenth- and nineteenth- century choir windows of St Mauritius in Heimersheim an der Ahn’ (Distinction); Michael Schueren, ‘The importance and crucial points of conservation and restoration of Dalle de Verre windows’; Laura Tempest, ‘The Adoration of the Magi window, Sir William Turner’s Hospital Chapel, Kirkleatham’.
Further good news is that six of the seven students have secured employment in the field. For more information about the course in general and the 2010 dissertations and their authors in particular, please contact Sarah Brown (sarah [dot] brown [at] york [dot] ac [dot] uk).
The Stained Glass of John Hardman and Company under the leadership of John Hardman Powell from 1867 to 1895
Name that Roundel!
This month’s puzzle comes from the parish church of St Oswald at Malpas in Cheshire. [Fig. 1]
The roundel is 0.23m in diameter and employs black paint and yellow stain on white glass. It has been dated to c. 1530.
The main scene shows one soldier, who wears a plumed helmet, spearing another. The tent is set within a military camp. A great city can be seen in the background. The subsidiary scene shows the assassin being brought before a King surrounded by his troops.
What subject does the scene show?
Roundels and other single panels of this period typically 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. Moral themes can also appear.
The solution can be found at the foot of this month’s Books section.
Lectures and Trips
11 March: British Society of Master Glass Painters Spring Lecture, Anna Eavis An 18th-century recusant’s collection: the windows of Milton Manor chapel, Oxfordshire. For more details see the BSMGP website.
Until 17 January 2011: Man, Myth, and Sensual Pleasures: Jan Gossart’s Renaissance, at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York.
Until 17 January 2011: Treasures of Heaven: Saints, Relics, and Devotion in Medieval Europe, the Cleveland Museum of Art, Ohio, USA.
Until 22 January 2011: Renaissance Art and the Devotional Imagination; Meditations on the Life of Christ, at the Museum of Biblical Art, New York. The exhibition consists of panel paintings, and manuscript illumination made throughout Europe between 1250 and 1550. Exhibits include the sixteenth-century Flemish altarpiece known as the Stein Quadriptych displaying sixty-four scenes from the life of Christ by the illuminator Simon Bening. For more information see the Museum of Biblical Art website.
Until 6 February 2011: Illuminated Manuscripts from Belgium and the Netherlands, Getty Museum of Art . The exhibition is accompanied by a new book by Thomas Kren, Illuminated Manuscripts of Belgium and the Netherlands in the J. Paul Getty Museum, which may be purchased online .
Until 6 February 2011: Imagining the Past in France, 1250–1500, Getty Museum of Art.
Until 13 February 2011: Thurneysser Superstar: Ein einzigartiger Glasmalereizyklus von 1579, at the Kunstmuseum, Basel, Switzerland.
Until 20 February 2011: Die Staufer und Italien, at the Reiss-Engelhorn-Museen in Mannheim, Germany.
Until 27 February 2011: The Glory of the Painted Page, medieval manuscript illuminations from the permanent collection of the Cleveland Museum of Art, Ohio, USA.
Until 28 February 2011: Virtues and Vices: moralizing prints in the Low Countries, 1550–1600, at the Philadelphia Museum of Art, USA.
Until February 2011: Four Ancestors of Christ (First part of a rolling exhibition); Canterbury Cathedral.
Until 17 March 2011: Clayton & Bell, Leading Stained Glass Designers and their Work at Harrow School; Old Speech Room Gallery, Harrow School, London.
Until 25 March: ‘Through the Eye of the Collector: A Rare Glimpse of Stained Glass from Private Collections’ at the Stained Glass Museum, Ely Cathedral. For more details, see the Stained Glass Museum website.
Until 3 July 2011: Brian Clarke, Life and Death, at the Vitro Musée, Romont, Switzerland.
Until 2013: Vitraux de la Renaissance à Chartres at the Centre International du Vitrail, Chartres. For more details see the Centre International du Vitrail website.
From 13 Feb – 5 August 2011: Treasures of Heaven: Saints, Relics, and Devotion in Medieval Europe at the Walters Art Museum, Baltimore.
From 16 February – 30 May 2011 : Man, Myth, and Sensual Pleasures: Jan Gossart’s Renaissance, National Gallery, London. Curated by Maryan Ainsworth; with catalogue. Previously at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York (see above). For more details see the National Gallery website.
From 27 February – 30 May 2011: Kings, Queens, and Courtiers: Art in Early Renaissance France, The Art Institute of Chicago. Previously France 1500: Entre Moyen Age et Renaissance in Paris For more details see the exhibition website.
From 23 June 2011 – 10 September 2011: Treasures of Heaven: Saints, Relics, and Devotion in Medieval Europe, at the British Museum, London. For more details see the British Museum website.