Forthcoming Publication: Keith New: British Modernist in Stained Glass by Diana Coulter and Robert Smith

Keith New (1926-2012) was a pioneering British modernist stained glass artist in the 1950s and 1960s, yet this volume, by Diana Coulter and Robert Smith, is the first mono-graph devoted to his work. Divided into two parts, the first examines New’s career, whilst the second comprises a comprehensive catalogue of his stained glass.

Fig. 1. The book cover.

Fig. 1. The book cover.

New’s career was launched with the 1952 Royal College of Art’s commission to design the nave windows for Basil Spence’s new cathedral at Coventry. Designing three of the cathedral’s spectacular windows, he was brought to the attention of other prominent ar-chitects as well as artists and critics such as John Piper and John Betjeman.

Many of New’s subsequent commissions were also for churches, whether post-war re-builds or in medieval buildings, but alongside these were commissions in significant pub-lic buildings as well as schools. New executed a total of 34 commissions, five of which have been whole or partly lost. Through privileged access to the New family archive as well as record office research, the authors have compiled a Catalogue Raisonné of his known designs, both executed and unrealised.

New’s short career in stained glass parallels and reflects the excitement generated by the 1951 Festival of Britain. When the Prost-war rebuilding programme came to an end in the mid-1960s, the demand for colourful (and expensive) stained glass also diminished. New found alternatives in leading Foundation Studies at Kingston School of Art, and in a return to painting, an activity that had always sustained him.

The volume will be available for purchase in early 2018. For enquiries, please contact Orca Book Services Ltd, 160 Eastern Avenue, Milton Park, Abingdon OX14 4SB. Tel. 01235 465577 or email

Musée de Cluny - Grand Palais, Paris Exhibition

The Musée de Cluny, in collaboration with Galeries Nationales du Grand Palais, is cur-rently presenting, “Le Verre, un Moyen Âge inventif”: an exhibition to illustrate the growth and excellence of the medieval art.

Fig. 1. Abbot Suger, offering a stained glass window, at the foot of the Jesse Tree at Saint-Denis, Paris.

Fig. 1. Abbot Suger, offering a stained glass window, at the foot of the Jesse Tree at Saint-Denis, Paris.

Recognising that, in the Middle Ages, glass was an object of artistic fascination – whether stained in windows, used for goblets, stemware, beads, panels or optical glass – the exhibition traces ten centuries of glass art, and features around 230 creative works alongside illuminations, paintings, and engravings. The exhibition aims to stimulate a better under-standing of this thriving, creative, and affluent art form. For the exhibition, several precious items are loaned from international institutions including The Victoria and Albert Museum (London), the Regensburg Museum of History (Germany), the archaeological department of Zeeland (Netherlands), the Royal Museums of Art and History in Brus-sels, the Swedish Museum of History in Stockholm, the Bergen-op-zoom Markiezenhof Museum (Netherlands) and the Tarquinia Museum (Italy).

The exhibition is on view until January 8th, 2018 at the Musée de Cluny – Musée natio-nal du Moyen Âge, 6 Place Paul Painlevé, 75005 Paris, France. For details, visit the website.

Exhibition: Medieval York: Capital of the North at the Yorkshire Museum

Fig. 1. A thirteenth-century roundel showing a bust of a king, on display at the Yorkshire Museum.

Fig. 1. A thirteenth-century roundel showing a bust of a king, on display at the Yorkshire Museum.

From the fifth century onwards, for more than a thousand years, York ruled the North and rivalled any city as the capital of religion, royal power, commerce, art, conflict and wealth until the Tudor period.

After a year in the planning, a new exhibition at the Yorkshire Museum has opened, showcasing the museum’s permanent collection of treasures from the region. The exhibition is located in the museum’s basement among the ruins of St Mary’s Abbey creating a medieval exhibition in a medieval space.

Westminster Abbey helps shine light on Stained Glass Myth

In the January 2018 issue of the Journal of the American Ceramic Society, John Mauro, a researcher at Penn State University reports on his latest findings, inspired by a visit to Westminster Abbey, during which its surviving stained glass sparked a quest to better understand the science behind the myth that medieval window glass is thicker at the bot-tom because of glass viscosity, or its slow transition to a liquid.

The myth had been questioned and dispelled before, but Mauro and his team were able to establish that this science was off by 16 orders of magnitude: the windows are, in fact, transistorising to a liquid much faster than previously thought. These new findings are the result of a number of methodological improvements by Mauro. First, previous publications considered modern soda lime silicate and germania glass compositions rather than directly considering a real medieval cathedral glass composition. Previous work also did not include explicit fluid-flow calculations and was based on measurements conduct-ed decades ago in the former Soviet Union. Mauro’s own previous research experiences and observations of the behaviour and nature of Gorilla Glass at Corning, over 18 years, also led him to question earlier findings.

Conservationists and historians need not, however, panic too much. The transition is still far too slow for any noticeable difference. It would take billions of years to cause even nano-sized alterations to the shape of the glass. “It was a lot of fun to directly address an urban legend that has captured the imagination of the general public for so many decades,” said Mauro, professor of materials science and engineering. “Glassy materials have captured the attention of humanity for millennia, and I hope that this work will help draw more attention to the cutting edge physics and chemistry that are still hiding in these ancient and beautiful materials.”

Seeing Past and Present in the Glazed Cloister of Park Abbey (1635-1644)

Monday 15 January 2018, 4.30pm

Professor Ellen Shortell (Massachusetts College of Art and Design)

The architecture of a monastic cloister offers a particular spatial arrangement for the display of images, whether in sculpture, painting, or stained glass. The closter space and its use allowed specific visual experiences for those who moved through it. Studies of cloisters from the 11th to the 17th centuries have noted a varied use of images, from narrative sequences to mnemonic aids.

This talk will offer a reconstruction of the cloister glazing program made for the Premonstratensian abbey of Park in Leuven, Belgium, between 1635 and 1644, which was dispersed in the 19th century to several public and private collections. Two large collections have recently been returned to the abbey and are under study prior to their reinstallation. The reconstruction of their arrangement highlights some strategic choices of subject matter from the life of the order’s founder, Saint Norbert of Xanten. The compositions drew on recently published engravings, which in turn were based on a new edition of the saint’s vita redacted from 12th-century manuscripts. Additional scenes were invented for the glazing cycle, some with references to recent events, collapsing historical time within the narrative. Their placement within the architecture was clearly strategic.

Location: Bowland Auditorium BS/005, Berrick Saul Building, University of York, Heslington, York, YO10 5DD, UK.

For more information see the website.