Panels from Canterbury on Display at the Getty Museum, Los Angeles

Fig. 1. Abraham. © Dean & Chapter of Canterbury Cathedral.

Fig. 1. Abraham. © Dean & Chapter of Canterbury Cathedral.

Stained-glass panels from Canterbury Cathedral are soon to go on display at the J. Paul Getty Museum in Los Angeles. The panels will be part of an exhibition entitled ‘Canterbury and St. Albans: Treasures from Church and Cloister’ and will be shown alongside the St Albans Psalter, an illuminated book of psalms. The exhibition will run from 20 September 2013 until 2 February 2014.

Six twelfth-century panels from the south-west transept window of Canterbury Cathedral will be on show. The panels depict ancestors of Christ, including Abraham and Noah. Each panel is approximately 2.5ft tall, and each figure spans two panels, making the seated ancestors almost life-size. The panels were removed from the cathedral in July 2009 (see Vidimus 36) prior to the restoration of the stonework, and in order to allow for conservation work on the architectural framing of the windows. Of the six windows that will travel to the U.S, five have never left the cathedral before.

Pages of the St Albans Psalter, which was being unbound for conservation and a facsimile project around the same time as the panels were removed, will also be on view. The psalter, from the collection of the cathedral library in Hildesheim, Germany, dates to c.1130 and includes scenes from the Old Testament and the life of Jesus.

Fig. 2. Noah. © Dean & Chapter of Canterbury Cathedral.

Fig. 2. Noah. © Dean & Chapter of Canterbury Cathedral.

This show at the Getty Museum will be the only opportunity to see the windows and psalter together. After the exhibition, the stained-glass windows will go to the Cloisters, the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s branch for medieval art in northern Manhattan, from March until May 2014, and the St Albans Psalter will travel to the V&A in London.

Further Reading

M. H. Caviness, The Early Glass of Canterbury Cathedral, circa 1175–1220, Princeton, 1977

M. H. Caviness, The Windows of Christ Church Cathedral, Canterbury, CVMA (GB) II, London, 1981

M. A. Michael, Stained Glass of Canterbury Cathedral, London, 2004

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