The Glaziers’ Trust

The Glaziers’ Trust – one of Vidimus‘s most generous supporters – is part of The Worshipful Company of Glaziers, one of the City Livery Companies. Here Susan Mathews, Secretary to the Trust, describes its work.

The Trust is delighted to support Vidimus, which helps fulfil one of its primary educational objectives. The Trust was established in 1966 for the advancement of education and the benefit of the public, to further knowledge, understanding and appreciation of the art of stained, etched and other forms of decorative glass and glass mosaic. It aims to encourage and assist members of the public to see fine examples of glass and to promote its study and care. It also maintains a library of books and other reference material and helps to repair and restore stained glass windows of historically important significance.

The Glaziers’ Trust provides grants to applicants both in church and secular areas. The total annual grant available is not large, and its annual budget and most grants are in the range of £3,000- £5,000 but the Trustees, who meet four times a year are dedicated to directing its funds in the most effective way possible. Although most grants are small they can often help in a fund-raising campaign by encouraging other bodies to ‘get on board’.

As its new secretary I have begun to appreciate how wide-ranging are the causes the Trust supports. Before Christmas its charity for the Relief of Need, bought a cooker for a retired glazier who had fallen on hard times. It sponsored three places on stained glass study weekends based respectively in Winchester and Liverpool, organised by The British Society of Master Glass Painters and The Stained Glass Museum. These weekend conferences enable young people to see stained glass in situ, to meet experts in the field and to share their passion with other enthusiasts. The Trust also takes lectures to audiences. Last year, for example, the Glaziers’ Annual Lecture held in London  ‘Lesser known Masterpieces of Medieval Glass’ given by Painton Cowen, was delivered a second time to the students in the  Architectural School of Stained Glass at Swansea Metropolitan University.

In 2008 the Glaziers’ Trust awarded its first bursary to the MA Stained Glass Conservation and Heritage Management course at the University of York. The student in question achieved an MA with distinction. This two-year innovative course – the only one of its kind in the English-speaking world – offers training in stained glass conservation workshops, heritage management, arts administration, architectural offices, and the administration of historic buildings and museums and is a preparation for higher research degrees.

Foraging in the archives in the basement of Glaziers’ Hall in London, I am beginning to discover how fascinating and diverse are the projects supported by the Glaziers’ Trust. At its December meeting the Trustees were so impressed at the money-raising efforts of a tiny congregation in north Yorkshire, to restore windows in their church, that a modest grant was given so that Barley Studio could re-create the missing half of  an interesting nineteenth-century window by James Powell and Sons (Whitefriars.)

It is vital for conservators to bring to their work a high degree of skill, knowledge and integrity. The Glaziers’ Trust is very supportive of those professionals accredited by ICON, the Institute of Conservation. For example, in 2009 the Trust awarded St Oswald’s church, Malpas (Cheshire) a grant for the conservation of its outstanding and extensive collection of early sixteenth-century stained glass from the Netherlands. Ruth and Jonathan Cooke have just completed the conservation of the entire set of forty panels. One of the panels, dating from around 1500 and depicting Rebecca and Isaac at the Well, gives an impression of the challenges facing the conservators.

Fig. 1. Rebecca and Isaac at the Well before conservation. ©Jonathan and Ruth Cooke

Fig. 1. Rebecca and Isaac at the Well before conservation. ©Jonathan and Ruth Cooke

Fig. 2. Rebecca and Isaac at the Well after conservation. ©Jonathan and Ruth Cooke

Fig. 2. Rebecca and Isaac at the Well after conservation. ©Jonathan and Ruth Cooke

There were several breaks to glass and lead, damage caused by cobwebs holding moisture against it, and deterioration of the glass itself. There were also pits and scratches on both surfaces of the glass, loss of paint and some unsightly mending leads from an earlier restoration [Fig. 1]. The conservators submitted a report to the Trustees describing the state of the glass and its historical importance and making detailed proposals for its conservation. The dramatic improvement in the condition of the panel following conservation can be seen in Fig. 2. Not only has the glass been carefully cleaned and repaired but its legibility has been much improved by the removal of the unsightly mending leads. The panel, which dates from around 1500, has now been returned to the north wall of the family chapel where it forms part of a series of over forty panels presented to the church by the Marquis of Cholmondley in 1956. They were re-instated in a ventilated and temperature-controlled glazing scheme. The long-term survival  of stained glass depends on keeping it safe and dry, and this is greatly improved by means of ventilated and temperature-controlled  glazing – in other words a transparent, protective layer on the outside of the glass. The Glaziers’ Trust strongly supports the use of this form of protection and is pleased to receive applications of this kind.

Finally and looking forward, the Glaziers’ Trust is delighted to lend its support to  the creation of a new window for Southwark Cathedral to celebrate the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee in 2012.

For more information about the Glaziers’ Trust and The Worshipful Company of Glaziers

Castell Coch Secures William Burges Stained Glass

Following recent news stories in Vidimus, two extremely rare stained glass panels designed by the nineteenth-century architect William Burges (1827–1881) have now been bought by Cadw, the Welsh Assembly Government’s historic environment service. The cost was £125,000. The panels were once part of a set of twenty panels made for the chapel of Castell Coch, near Cardiff, and will go on public display at the fairytale castle in the summer.

Fig. 3. Castell Coch © Cadw, reproduced with permission

Fig. 3. Castell Coch © Cadw, reproduced with permission

Fig. 4. Dr Rick Turner with the two panels © Cadw, reproduced with permission

Fig. 4. Dr Rick Turner with the two panels © Cadw, reproduced with permission

The castle was rebuilt by Burges for the third Marquess of Bute in the late 19th Century and included a timber-framed chapel with images of saints in stained glass. The chapel was demolished sometime before 1891 and the whereabouts of the two missing panels had been a mystery until last year when they re-emerged at an auction in Salisbury (see Vidimus no. 41).
Dr Rick Turner, Cadw’s Inspector of Ancient Monuments, said “The panels show a variety of Welsh and British saints and key biblical figures and are of the highest quality Victorian stained glass. William Burges’ work attracts enormous worldwide attention and the price reflects the artistic genius of the man and the rare quality of these glass panels.”

Speaking about the acquisition, Alun Ffred Jones, the Welsh Heritage Minister, added “I am pleased Cadw has been able to secure these important glass panels which now means all twenty original panels are back in Wales for the first time for over a century.”

New Director for Victoria & Albert Museum

The Trustees of the Victoria and Albert Museum have appointed Professor Martin Roth to replace Sir Mark Jones who is leaving in June to become Master of St Cross College, Oxford. Professor Roth is currently Director General of the Dresden state art collections, and will take up his new role as Director of the V&A in September.

Fig. 5. Professor Martin Roth

Fig. 5. Professor Martin Roth

The museum cares for one of the greatest collections of medieval and renaissance painted glass in the world. Highlights of the collection can be seen in the Medieval and Renaissance galleries (see Vidimus 35) and in the Sacred Silver and Stained Glass galleries. The entire collection can be viewed on-line here.

Death of Lawrence Lee

The acclaimed stained glass artist and author, Lawrence Lee, FBSMGP, has died after a short illness. He was 101.
Perhaps best known for his windows at Coventry cathedral, an account of Lawrence’s life and career can be read in Vidimus 32.

On 17 June, his friend and former student, Pippa Martin, will speak about Lawrence Lee at the British Society of Master Glass Painters AGM. For more details, visit the BSMGP website.

Art and Architecture of Parish Churches Website: Special Vidimus Offer

Readers of Vidimus have been offered special access to an archive that aims to provide a detailed photographic record of all of the rural parish churches in England. The archive is the work of the architectural photographer and occasional contributor to Vidimus, C.B. Newham. It currently covers nearly 70% of England and contains over 320,000 images. The archive includes pre-Victorian glass as well as notable windows from the Victorian period. A start has now been made on making these images available to a wider readership via the internet. Over 43,000 images are already on-line. Work will continue until the entire archive is available.

The new website is available at Vidimus readers will be able to view and search the archive free of charge until the end of October 2011. Readers who want to take advantage of this offer must register with their email address and a password of their choice. You should use this Promotion Code on the registration page: vidimus2011.

Monastic Art before the Reformation

An international conference looking at the art of the religious orders in late medieval England will be held at the Courtauld Institute in London on the 17 May.

Recent scholarship has challenged the traditional consensus of a decline among the monastic and religious orders in England and elsewhere in Europe between 1350 and the dissolution of the monasteries in 1540, revealing an artistic tradition with considerable possibilities for investigation.
The conference will see established scholars and research students from the UK and abroad exploring some of these possibilities, including the importance of continuity and innovation, the patronage of superiors, and the expression of particular institutional and confessional identities. Many of the papers will also discuss little-known examples or provide new interpretations of late monastic art. The programme can be downloaded here.

17 May 2011: ‘Last Orders? The Art and Architecture of Religious Orders in England, c 1350—1540’, 10am to 6.15pm, Kenneth Clark Lecture Theatre, The Courtauld Institute of Art, Somerset House, Strand, London WC2R 0RN. For further information, send an email.

Stained Glass in Wales: 10 June

A one-day forum on stained glass in Wales will be held at the Welsh School of Architectural Glass, Swansea Metropolitan University, on 10 June. The morning session will discuss historical glass; the afternoon will be spent looking at modern glass in St Mary’s church, Swansea, where some of the artists whose work is represented in the church will speak about their windows.

Speakers include Anna Eavis, Vidimus Editor and CVMA (GB) Project Director; Andrew Renton; Martin Crampin; Marilyn Griffiths and Alun Adams.

For further information about this event contact.

Stained Glass at Harlaxton (19 – 22 July)

The 28th Harlaxton Medieval Symposium will be held at Harlaxton College in Lincolnshire. The theme of the conference will be ‘The Yorkist Age’, stretching from the birth of Richard Plantagenet, Duke of York, in 1411 until the execution of his granddaughter Margaret, countess of Salisbury, in 1541. On Friday, 22 July, Vidimus editor, Anna Eavis, will speak about John Clopton’s Clerestory Glazing at Long Melford church in Suffolk. For further details and more information about the symposium see the website.

Stained Glass at Leeds Medieval Congress (11 - 14 July)

Charlotte Dikken (University of Utrecht) will speak on Laying Claim to Power: The Stained Glass Windows in the Church of Saint Waldetrude in Mons (Belgium). The session will be held on Tuesday 12 July 2011: 09.00-10.30.The stained glass windows in the choir of the church of Saint Waldetrude in Mons were installed by the Holy Roman emperor, Maximilian I (1459 –1519) and his daughter Margaret of Austria, Duchess of Savoy (1480 -1530). For details of how to attend the congress visit the website.

Name that Roundel

This month’s puzzle comes from the parish church of St Peter at Cassington in Oxfordshire [Fig. 6]

The roundel conflates four scenes within the same panel.

Fig. 6. Name that Roundel!

Fig. 6. Name that Roundel!

In the foreground an older man faces a shorter youth while other figures congregate near the couple. At the lower left of the panel, the youth is shown asleep. Roundels are mounted above. A crescent moon is just visible in the left hand roundel. Eleven objects can be seen in the right hand roundel. In the left hand top corner, a man is holding the wrist of the youth who is pointing ahead with his left arms. Finally, in the top right hand corner, the youth is being lowered into a pit by some men. He watches as other men hold some material.
The roundel measures 23cm and is badly pitted. William Cole dated it to c. 1500 in A Catalogue of Netherlandish and North European Roundels in Britain, CVMA (GB), Summary Catalogue 1, Oxford, 1993. What subject does it depict?

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.