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Lost: forty stained-glass windows from Antwerp

Fig. 2. Sketch of St Francis by Abraham van Diepenbeeck, perhaps indicating how he was depicted in the Minim cloister in Antwerp.
Fig. 1. Sketch of St Francis by Abraham van Diepenbeeck, perhaps indicating how he was depicted in the Minim cloister in Antwerp.

Fig. 1. Sketch of St Francis by Abraham van Diepenbeeck, perhaps indicating how he was depicted in the Minim cloister in Antwerp.

In the 1640s, Abraham van Diepenbeeck created forty stained-glass windows depicting the life and miracles of St Francis of Paola for the new cloister of the Minim Convent in Antwerp. J.B. Descamps, who saw them, described them in 1769: « Ce sont des petits Tableaux transparens ; la couleur a l’air d’un lavis, mais dégradée de façon que l’on y apperçoit les teintes locales, & des masses qui forment des effets, sans la marqueterie des couleurs éclatantes entières & presque opaques ; tout y est bien composé & dessiné avec correction & avec fermeté ».

A few years later, in the first half of the 1770s, some “Englishmen” are said to have bought the windows and transported them to England, as they did with the cloister windows of the Dominican Convent and those of the Great Carmelite church.

Does any reader of Vidimus know who these Englishmen were and, more importantly, what they did with the windows? Are they somewhere in a church or in a private collection?

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Fig. 2. Sketch of St Francis by Abraham van Diepenbeeck, perhaps indicating how he was depicted in the Minim cloister in Antwerp.

Fig. 2. Sketch of St Francis by Abraham van Diepenbeeck, perhaps indicating how he was depicted in the Minim cloister in Antwerp.

Figs. 1 and 2 illustrate two sketches of St Francis by Van Diepenbeeck that may be related to the windows, to give an idea of the way in which he depicted the saint.

If any reader has any thoughts or information about these windows, please contact Fr Marc Lindejer, SJ – Brussels lindeijer@bollandistes.be