Annual Clarendon Lecture 2017: Professor Christopher Norton, 'Clarendon, Salisbury and Medieval Floor Tiles in Wessex'

Thursday, 19th October, 6.30 for 7.00pm
Sarum College, Salisbury Cathedral Close

Fig. 1. Clarendon Palace tile, c.1250

Fig. 1. Clarendon Palace tile, c.1250

Painted and stained glass was only one component of the decoration of medieval churches and palaces. Others artworks included caved woodwork, painted walls and colourful floor tiles.

British CVMA Committee member, Professor Christopher Norton, will speak about some of these tiles at the Annual Clarendon Lecture on 19 October in Sarum College, Salisbury Cathedral Close. He is the foremost expert on the Wessex decorated floor tile industry, which commenced in the mid 13th century and whose traditions spread to the West Midlands, Wales and beyond by the early 1300s.

The Wessex Industry’s distinguishing characteristics can be traced directly to a pavement made for Henry III’s queen, Eleanor of Provence, at Clarendon Palace 1250–52 (Fig. 1). Tiles of identical or very similar design, with their familiar bird and lion motifs, were subsequently used in pavements at sites including Salisbury Cathedral, Winchester Cathedral, and a range of abbeys across Wiltshire, Somerset, Gloucestershire, Dorset and Hampshire.

Tickets will be available from The Salisbury Museum at a later date, at a cost of £10 per ticket, or £8 for Friends of Clarendon Palace and members of Salisbury Museum. The ticket price includes a wine reception from 6.30pm.

Digital Exhibition Launch: Remembering the Reformation

28th September, Lambeth Palace, London

Fig. 1 Damaged C15th-century image of the Trinity, original heads replaced with modern copies, at St Martin’s, Coney Street, York.

Fig. 1 Damaged C15th-century image of the Trinity, original heads replaced with modern copies, at St Martin’s, Coney Street, York.

The English Reformation had profound, and often disastrous, consequences for medieval stained glass. Initially, depictions of St Thomas Becket were destroyed; next the windows of monasteries were broken, finally there was a broad onslaught against so-called ‘superstitious’ imagery (fig. 1). The losses were numerous. Similar stories gouged Europe.

A major digital exhibition project exploring how the Reformation in Britain and Europe was remembered, forgotten, contested and reinvented opens at Lambeth Palace Library on 28th September. It is linked with an Arts and Humanities Research Project at the Universities of Cambridge and York and will include treasures from Cambridge University Library, York Minster Library and Lambeth Palace Library. The launch of the exhibition will include a display and demonstration of the exhibition website, and will be accompanied by short talks by the project team, Brian Cummings FSA, Ceri Law, Bronwyn Wallace and Alexandra Walsham. All are welcome, please register with not later than 22nd September.

Innovative project launched to preserve the stained glass of York Minster

Fig. 1 The fourteenth-century west window of the nave at York Minster. Just one of the cathedral’s stained glass masterpieces.

Fig. 1 The fourteenth-century west window of the nave at York Minster. Just one of the cathedral’s stained glass masterpieces.

York Minster houses the UK’s largest and arguably most impressive collection of medieval stained glass (fig. 1), dating back as early as the 12th century. Yet, currently, more than half of its 128 irreplaceable windows are fitted with no form of protective glazing, leaving them exposed to the elements and subject to corrosion and decay.

To provide each of the Minster’s windows with state-of-the-art protection, and ensure their preservation for generations to come, the cathedral has announced an innovative new fundraising initiative due to be launched in 2018. Working in partnership with the York Minster Fund (YMF) and the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF), the four-year long campaign will see a grant from the HLF of up to £1m to match every pound raised by the public and YMF, to be used to establish an endowment fund to help pay for the £11m project.

Three windows from the north nave aisle of the Minster will be the first to receive external glazing, beginning with window n25. The work follows the installation in 2014 of revolutionary UV-resistant glass to the cathedral’s spectacular Great East Window, as part of the York Minster Revealed project. The final stage of work to restore and conserve the 15th-century window is coming to completion and the finished window is due to be unveiled in the Spring of 2018.

York Glaziers Trust reaches its 50th Anniversary

On July 20th, York Glaziers Trust (YGT) celebrated 50 years of conserving and caring for York Minster’s world-famous stained glass, as well as historic stained glass from across the UK.

Over the last half-century, YGT has played a key role in a number of (sometimes dramatic) events in the Minster’s history, including overseeing the return of the Great West Window to the cathedral in 1967, after wartime storage; and saving the South Transept Rose Window after it was almost lost to a fire in the Minster in 1984. More recently, the Trust has played a central role in demonstrating the potential of modern conservation techniques in its revolutionary treatment of the St William Window, in the cathedral choir, between 1998 and 2007; followed by the conservation and restoration of the Great East Window, the largest expanse of medieval stained glass in the country, as part of the York Minster Revealed project.

The importance of YGT’s work, its talented conservators and glaziers, has long been noted by Vidimus. A four-part history of the Trust can be found in issues 12, 13, 14 and 16.

A Look Ahead: Autumn Lecture Series Announced

For those who like to plan their diaries well in advance, a preview of a number of recently announced Autumn lectures.

The Stained Glass Museum

Weekly, from Wednesday, 13th September, 2pm, Ely Cathedral Education & Conference Centre, Palace Green, Ely.

This year’s lecture series covers a range of topics, from the medieval to the contemporary:

September 13th: Katie Harrison (University of York), Building the Picture: Investigating the Life of St Cuthbert Window, York Minster

September 20th: Dr Ayla Lepine (University of Essex/University of Cambridge), Aesthetes and Anglicans: Sacred Beauty in Stained Glass and Painting by Edward Burne-Jones

September 27th: Rev’d Steve Day (Vicar, Papworth), All 250. The Stained Glass Windows of Ely Diocese

October 4th: Derek Hunt FMGP ACR, Recently Completed Architectural Glass Commissions

The lectures are open to all, with reduced ticket prices for Friends of the Stained Glass Museum. Tickets for individual lectures can be purchased for £9 (£7.50 for Friends), or all four lectures may be attended for £30 (£25 Friends). Refreshments will be served after each lecture.

For further information and to book tickets, see the Stained Glass Museum’s website or telephone 01353 660347.

British Society of Master Glass Painters

Friday, 6th October, 6.15pm for 6.45pm, The Art Workers Guild, 6 Queen Square, London WC1N 3AT

Diana Coulter IHBC, Zen and the Stained Glass Art of Keith New

Keith New was a well-respected member of the BSMGP for more than half a century, and an important innovator in post-war stained glass design. His output, however, was modest, the product of a mere 20 years work. Diana Coulter’s talk will highlight New’s talents and achievements, in commissions in England and further afield, and in working with glass in revolutionary as well as more affordable ways. For further information, and to book online, please see the Society’s website  or telephone 0790 907 0739.