- Stained Glass to be Featured in Masterpieces: Art and East Anglia Exhibition
- Canterbury Glass at the Getty Museum
- Watch Stained-Glass Work at Canterbury Cathedral!
- Book on Stained Glass by the Birmingham School of Art
- New Research into Medieval Red Glass
- Stained Glass Centre Autumn Lecture
Stained Glass to be Featured in Masterpieces: Art and East Anglia Exhibition
Masterpieces: Art and East Anglia will run at the Sainsbury Centre for Visual Arts in Norwich from 14 September 2013 to 24 February 2014. The exhibition will feature a panel from the church of St Peter Mancroft, Norwich. The panel is one of six surviving from a series originally of fifteen, depicting the apocryphal story from the Golden Legend of the Death, Funeral and Assumption of the Virgin Mary. The panel depicts the Miraculous Assembly of the Apostles.
The series was originally in the top section of the main lights of the east window of the north chancel chapel and was given by Robert Toppes in c.1450–55. The six surviving panels were moved to the east window of the chancel in around 1815, along with glass from the lower section of the Toppes Window and elsewhere. Three of these panels remain in this location, and the other three were removed in c.1840; two went to Felbrigg Hall, and the third ended up in the Burrell Collection in Glasgow.
In the 1980s, the National Trust allowed one of the two panels at Felbrigg to be loaned to St Peter Mancroft. It was placed on display in a light-box in the treasury in the north transept. It is this panel that will feature in the exhibition. When not on loan to exhibitions (it was at the Victoria & Albert Museum in 2003), the panel is still kept in the treasury at St Peter Mancroft.
The panel will be viewed alongside an extraordinarily diverse selection of the visual arts: paintings, sculpture, architecture, ceramics, glass, and jewellery, photography, graphic design, fashion and costume, product and textile design – from the prehistoric period to the present day. It aims to celebrate the rich and distinctive culture and artistic heritage of East Anglia, from antiquity through to the present day, and will mark the unveiling of the newly refurbished galleries by Norman Foster.
See the website for more details.
St Peter Mancroft is the subect of an important British CVMA monograph by committee member David King. The book was the fruit of many years of research, and copies are available via the CVMA (GB) website.
Canterbury Glass at the Getty Museum
As mentioned in Vidimus 68, an exhibition opens this month at the J. Paul Getty Museum, Getty Center, featuring six important examples of English stained glass, 12th-century panels from Canterbury Cathedral.
The exhibition, entitled Canterbury and St. Albans: Treasures from Church and Cloister, will display the panels alongside the St Albans Psalter, one of the most famous English Romanesque manuscripts of this period.
The exhibition of the glass and the psalter is possible because of preservation activities. The six windows from Canterbury Cathedral have been removed temporarily from the cathedral’s Great South Window for conservation of the architectural framing, and the St Albans Psalter, on loan from the Cathedral Library in Hildesheim, Germany, has been temporarily unbound for documentation and conservation and will soon be permanently rebound.
The panels from Canterbury are part of the Ancestors of Christ series, which was originally housed in the clerestory windows at the eastern end of the cathedral. They were made soon after a severe fire in 1174, and after the redesign and expansion of the cathedral to include a shrine for the recently canonized Becket. The Ancestors of Christ windows originally consisted of eighty-six figures, largely based on the list of names contained in the Gospel of St Luke, with additional names taken from the Gospel of St Matthew. Forty-three figures from the series – the largest known series of the genealogy of Christ in medieval art – now survive. The windows exhibited at the Getty show the imposing, life-size figures of Jared, Lamech, Noah, Thara, Abraham and Phalec [Figs 5 and 6].
The figures of Jared and Lamech are among the earliest of the figures created and are attributed to an artist known as the Methuselah Master, named after the window depicting that Old Testament patriarch. The Methuselah Master’s skilfully designed and painted figures have a striking sculptural gravity and distinctive psychological animation. The artist is thought to have left Canterbury by 1180. He may have designed the figure of Noah, but the actual painting is by a different, unknown hand.
Most of the ancestor figures were later transferred to other parts of the cathedral while their wide decorative borders were left in the clerestory, and the majority of the figures were moved to the Great South Window in the eighteenth century. The six panels on show at the Getty will be exhibited along with sections of their original borders that have been removed from the clerestory for the exhibition. Four of the figures have been united with their borders for the first time in over 200 years.
Watch Stained-Glass Work at Canterbury Cathedral!
Videos of the stained-glass conservators working at Canterbury Cathedral are available to watch on Youtube! Viewers can keep up to date with the conservation of the South Oculus window and watch the return of the panels and the fitting of the frames, a fascinating insight into the skilful manoeuvring of glass and metal.
In time for the Canterbury panels to be revealed at the Getty Museum, the video ‘making Jared’ illustrates medieval production methods and shows how the twelfth-century panels were painted.
Book on Stained Glass by the Birmingham School of Art
A new book has been published on the glass of the Birmingham School of Art. Stained Glass Window Makers of Birmingham School of Art, by Ray Albutt, compiles the work of glass-makers trained as artists and craftsmen at Birmingham School of Art [Fig. 4].
The book discusses the development and importance of the first municipal school of art in the country and features the work of stained-glass makers who were affiliated with the school and influenced by its Arts and Crafts ethos, such as Florence Camm and Sydney Meteyard. The book features the work of artists from across the country, with well-known examples from Worcestershire and beyond, including the Festival Trophy Window in Evesham Methodist Church, created by Yoxhall and Whitford in 1956, and ‘Let the Heavens Rejoice’ in St Peter and St Paul Church in Blockley, made by the same artists in 1975. Nearby Madresfield Court Chapel also features in the book, as do examples of work from Bromsgrove, Redditch and Droitwich.
For each maker, the book includes biographical information, training, brief particulars of other art works, work in stained glass, a gazetteer, and colour photographs of windows. Copies of the book, priced £12.95 + £2 p&p, are available from Mr Albutt, by writing to 11 Great Calcroft, Pershore WR10 1QS, calling 01386 552127, or visiting the website. It is also available from Waterstones.
New Research into Medieval Red Glass
A new article on the production of medieval red glass is now available to read online here. The research, entitled ‘Technology, production and chronology of red window glass in the medieval period – rediscovery of a lost technology,’ was conducted by Jerzy J. Kunicki-Goldfinger, Ian C. Freestone, Iain McDonald, Jan A. Hobot, Heather Gilderdale-Scott and Tim Ayers.
The research saw 132 ruby red glass samples – dating from the 12th to the 16th centuries – undergo various methods of analysis, including with a scanning-electron microscope and an energy-dispersive X-ray spectrometer. Most samples originate from English churches, including 32 from York Minster, but the study includes samples from France, Germany, the Netherlands and Spain. The results of the analysis enabled two types of flashed red glass to be distinguished, showing the different approaches of medieval craftsman to its creation, and shed new light on the production of striated ruby glass, thereby rediscovering a medieval technique through modern methods of analysis.
The article will feature in the Journal of Archaeological Science in 2014.
Stained Glass Centre Autumn Lecture
The Stained Glass Centre’s autumn lecture will be given by Sarah Brown, Director of the York Glaziers Trust, and is entitled ‘The East Window of York Minster (1405-8): the conservation of John Thornton’s medieval masterpiece’.
The York Glaziers Trust is currently engaged in the HLF-funded conservation of York Minster’s Great East Window of 1405–1408, the largest expanse of medieval stained glass in Britain and one of the most ambitious medieval windows ever made [Fig. 7]. This lecture will explain the current project in the context of past interventions and new research.
The lecture takes place on 3 October 2013 from 7pm at the church of St Martin-cum-Gregory, Micklegate, York. Tickets are £5 and are available on the door.