News

Major Grant for Visitor Centre at One of Britainʼs Most Important Stained-Glass Collections

Fig. 1. East window, Tree of Jesse, English, c.1330, with later painting.

Fig. 1. East window, Tree of Jesse, English, c.1330, with later painting.

The Heritage Lottery Fund has given £94,000 towards the building of a visitor centre and café at the Church of St Mary the Virgin in Shrewsbury (Shropshire), home to one of Britainʼs most important collections of English and Continental medieval stained glass.

Fig. 2. An angel tests Bernard in prayer during a vigil, c.1505–20, originally from Altenberg Abbey

Fig. 2. An angel tests Bernard in prayer during a vigil, c.1505–20, originally from Altenberg Abbey

St Mary the Virgin is one of the best-known buildings in Shrewsburyʼs historic town centre. It was founded by King Edgar in the tenth century, although excavations in 1864 revealed the presence of an earlier church. Now managed by the Churches Conservation Trust, it houses a collection of stained glass formed in the 1840s by the then vicar, the Revd William Gorusch Rowland (1770–1851). There are a fourteenth-century English Tree of Jesse Window and a stunning array of Continental panels, including some dated c.1505–20 depicting incidents from the life of St Bernard originally made for Altenburg Abbey. Other treasures include sixteenth-century panels from Herkenrode Abbey, near Hasselt (Belgium), and a superb collection of Netherlandish roundels. Announcing the award, Rebecca Rees, project director for the Churches Conservation Trust, said: ʻWe are thrilled to have received the support of the Heritage Lottery Fund for this project. Now, thousands of visitors will discover the history of this magnificent heritage site.ʼ

Fig. 3. English roundel depicting Cancer from the signs of the zodiac, c.1490.

Fig. 3. English roundel depicting Cancer from the signs of the zodiac, c.1490.

Fig. 4. Netherlandish roundel depicting Jonah cast upon the shore, seventeenth century, after a print by Philip Galle of a drawing by Maarten van Heemskerck.

Fig. 4. Netherlandish roundel depicting Jonah cast upon the shore, seventeenth century, after a print by Philip Galle of a drawing by Maarten van Heemskerck.

The Churches Conservation Trust cares for over 330 redundant churches, mostly Grade I or Grade II* buildings of national architectural importance. For more information, visit their website.


Fund-Raising Concert for Winchester Cathedral Medieval Glass

Fig. 1. St Genevieve of Paris, c.1405, formerly in the clerestory, now in the north nave aisle.

Fig. 1. St Genevieve of Paris, c.1405, formerly in the clerestory, now in the north nave aisle.

A concert by the Band and Bugles of the Rifles Regiment will take place at Winchester Cathedral on 26 April as part of a final push to raise £800,000 for the preservation of medieval glass of ʻexceptional significanceʼ in the buildingʼs presbytery. The current total of the appeal, run by the Friends of Winchester Cathedral, has already topped £550,000, having been launched a year ago.

During the English Civil War, most of the cathedralʼs stained glass was smashed by Parliamentarian troops, who even hurled ancient royal bones interred in mortuary chests at the windows they could not reach to destroy them. Medieval glazing in the aisles either side of the choir and in the clerestory was the only glass to survive the savage assault.

A 2012 conservatorʼs report found the condition of the windows to be much worse than previously thought, with urgent work required to prevent their being lost forever. Some have holes in them, and much painted detail has been lost, while surrounding stonework has been eroded by the weather over the centuries. Yet the report said the windows were of ʻexceptional significanceʼ, pivotal to the nationʼs understanding of glass-painting and design at that time. The earliest of this glass dates back to 1450, but the appeal is intended to cover also the conservation of the large east window, a Victorian restoration of medieval glass taken from elsewhere in the building.

Tickets for the event are available from the cathedral box office, on line, or by telephone (01962 857275), and cost £25, £18 or £10. Concessions are available for the armed forces and young people.


ʻAs you are, so was Iʼ: Medieval Memorials from East Anglia

Fig. 1. Medieval memorials.

Fig. 1. Medieval memorials.

An exhibition on medieval memorials is now on at St Peter Hungate Church, Princess Street, Norwich. The commemoration of the dead was a vital matter in medieval East Anglia. The affluent invested considerable sums in elaborate memorials, to proclaim their social status, and to remind the living to pray for their souls. The resulting sculptures and brasses still to be found in East Anglian churches are one of the richest collections of medieval English sculpture. This exhibition, with photographs by Paul Hurst, explores these funerary splendours. The exhibition runs until 21 July 2014. See the website for more information.

Hungate Medieval Art aims to promote Norfolkʼs medieval heritage, and the charity is concerned in particular with the medieval art hidden in the countyʼs parish churches.


Spring Exhibition and Lecture at the Stained Glass Museum, Ely

Exhibition

Fig. 1. Sailing Ship, c.1920, designed and made by Leonard Walker.

Fig. 1. Sailing Ship, c.1920, designed and made by Leonard Walker.

The Spring Exhibition at the Stained Glass Museum, Ely, is entitled ʻLeonard Walker: A Glass Worldʼ. The temporary exhibition, which runs from 17 March to 30 June 2014, features several stained-glass designs by Walker (1877–1964) alongside photographs of the artist at work, and two stained-glass panels by Walker in the main gallery.

Leonard Walker studied at the St Johnʼs Wood Art School in London and began to produce stained glass in the 1890s. He worked in the traditions of the Arts & Crafts movement, using bold designs and a very limited amount of paint to convey form. He often employed slab glass, and relied heavily on the texture and colour of the glass itself, much of which was manufactured especially for him.

Entry is free with admission to the museum. For more information, visit the Stained Glass Museum website.

Annual Lecture

The 2014 Annual Lecture and special tour will take place on Wednesday 23 July 2014, 5.30–7.30pm. The lecture is on stained glass in the British synagogue and will be given by Dr Sharman Kadish, Director of Jewish Heritage UK. The lecture will be followed by a tour of the New West End Synagogue, Bayswater. Tickets are £15 in advance, or £18 on the door. The price includes the lecture, tour and refreshments. The lecture will be held at the New West End Synagogue, Bayswater.

To book tickets, please email shop [at] stainedglassmuseum [dot] com, or telephone 01353 660347. On-line booking will be available soon.


On the Record: Learning from Churches and their Contents

The Cambridgeshire Historic Churches spring conference is entitled ʻOn the Record: Learning from Churches and their Contentsʼ, and will examine the records taken in the past and compare them with records still being compiled in churches today.

The conference will be held on Saturday 29 March, 10.00am – 3.30pm, at Lee Hall, Wolfson College, Cambridge. See the website for the programme and booking form.


Vitrocentre Romont websites now in English!

Readers will be pleased to know that the Vitrocentre Romont have updated their online presence and their websites can now be viewed in English.  They are online at  www.vitromusee.ch, www.vitrocentre.ch and www.vitrofestival.ch; access them for glass news, research, publications and exhibitions.


Republication of The Chemical Technology of Glass (1913)

The Chemical Technology of Glass (1913) is an important book that critically discusses the state of glass science and technology almost exactly a century ago. The book was written by Eberhard Zschimmer (1873–1940), one of the first appropriately qualified applied scientists to devote the whole of his professional career to studying glass. Having studied mineralogy, he was already knowledgeable about both optical phenomena and the properties of silicate minerals when in 1898 he joined the Jenaer Glaswerke Schott und Genossen, a glassworks run by Otto Schott. Zschimmer soon became Schottʼs senior scientist and a member of the board of directors. He left the firm in 1921, when he was appointed to the staff of the Technical University in Karlsruhe. He remained as a professor at the university from 1924 until his retirement.

Fig. 1. The book cover.

Fig. 1. The book cover.

Zschimmer dedicated the book to Otto Schott, and it was designed to assist the staff of his company in their exploration of the types of glass that could be made and their properties. It is full of data about glass compositions and properties, which are set out in over 300 tables. Unfortunately, Otto Schott decided that the information it contained was too valuable to be made available outside the company and he suppressed the book, purchasing the whole print-run. The work was then neglected for almost a century, and only two original copies, both in the companyʼs archives, are known to exist.

Professor Michael Cable has translated the text into English from the original German. It includes a preface by Professor Cable, and an appreciation of Zschimmer by Professor Adolf Dietzel from 1940, as well as photographs of the author. The book is available online here.


The Icon Ceramics and Glass Group Conference

Booking is now open for the Icon Ceramics and Glass Group conference ʻTape and Spillage: Interventive Treatments in a Preventive Climateʼ. The conference will be held at the Kingʼs Manor, York, on 16–17 May 2014.

A variety of visits has been organized, to local ceramics collections as well as a local conservation studio, on Friday 16 May. A full day of presentations and a student poster session will take place on 17 May, and will cover the latest developments in stained-glass conservation being used at York Minister, as well as some fascinating recently completed ceramic tile projects.

For more information, including the programme and booking form, see the Icon website. Cost: £125 (members), £90 (students), £200 (non-members). Booking closes on 11 April 2014.