- In Memoriam Prof. Paul Crossley (1945-2019)
- His colourful materials: University of York acquires 18th-Century stained glass painter’s notebook
- Bardwell Church: Vital Restoration Underway
- £800,000 Stained Glass Restoration Project at Long Melford
- Stained Glass Museum Glass Racks Appeal
- BSMGP Lecture Series 2020
- Stained Glass Museum Study Weekend 2020: West Kent
In Memoriam Prof. Paul Crossley (1945-2019)
Vidimus is very sad to report the recent passing of Prof. Paul Crossley. Prof. Crossley was an eminent historian of medieval architecture and art in its broadest sense, both in-ternational in scope, with a particular thirst for Polish Gothic architecture, and also spanning a variety of media in his interests and expertise.
He was perhaps best-known, and best-loved, for the enthusiasm, wit and charm with which he was able to communicate his formidable knowledge to his students and colleagues. It is noteworthy that the word most used to describe him by those who knew him, even slightly, is inspirational.
The stained glass community is particularly thankful to him for the years he cheerfully served on the committee of the CVMA (GB), and also for his brilliant co-supervising of a number of stained glass-focused PhD theses.
His colourful materials: University of York acquires 18th-Century stained glass painter’s notebook
The University of York has acquired a notebook belonging to the celebrated glass artist William Peckitt (1731-95) (Fig. 1) shedding new light on his early career as an artist.
The book (Fig. 2) appears to chronicle a teenage William Peckitt using a combination of study and experiment to learn his craft. It is the earliest surviving work in his hand.
Peckitt, who was from York, went on to paint windows of multi-coloured light across the country and counted Horace Walpole and King George III among his patrons. The vivid colours of his work can been seen in the south transept in the York Minster (Fig. 3).
The University, supported by the Terry Trust, the York Glaziers’ Trust and Friends of the Library and Archive, seized the rare opportunity to save the book for the City following a sale at auction over the summer. Archivists at the University’s Borthwick Institute will restore the 90 page, hand-stitched vellum notebook before digitising its contents and making them freely available to the public.
The information on historical glass painting materials and techniques contained within Peckitt’s penmanship will be of vital importance to an understanding of his approach to his craft, and for modern-day glass restoration work, the archivists say.
Sarah Brown from the Department of History of Art at the University of York, said: “This extraordinary book contains Peckitt’s notes on what he was learning as a young artist. He writes about how to paint details including faces, animals, fruits, flowers (as in Fig. 2) and the folds of drapery. He considers thicknesses and textures, shading and light – what colours should be used and how paints should be mixed.
“Peckitt was the third son of a glove maker and how he trained as a glass artist has always been a mystery. His claim to be self-taught, stoutly defended after his death by his daughter, has been met with scepticism, but, while more research is needed, the note-book seems at first glance to bear that claim out.”
Peckitt was born in Husthwaite near Easingwold and was baptised in York in 1731. He died on 14 October 1795 and is buried in the church of St Martin-cum-Gregory, York.
He compiled the notes in the mid-1740s before going on to become the most famous glass painter in the country.
Glass painting was not as popular during Peckitt’s lifetime as it had been in the medieval period or would become in Victorian times and the artist is credited with keeping the tradition alive during a period of cultural decline.
Sarah Brown added: “This book offers a first glimpse of Peckitt as a young person. Some of the notes are in Latin and French while others discuss techniques he went on to become well- known for, such as miniature painting in stained glass. Peckitt also jotted down notes on the chemistry of glass as well details that point to his wider scientific in-terests, such as the diameter of the earth and the velocity of its spin (Fig. 4)
“Peckitt’s mature work explored the potential of glass and colour to convey stories through a combination of the arts and sciences and Peckitt’s juvenile notebook reflects his early passion for all three.”
Bardwell Church: Vital Restoration Underway
The late medieval parish church at Bardwell (Suffolk) is undergoing an urgent programme of restoration work, to combat the effects of water leaks and crumbling masonry. Fundraising, beginning in 2017, has raised more than a quarter of a million pounds to fund the restoration.
The church contains traces of a range of fourteenth-century wall paintings, whilst at the north-east end of the nave is a pair of windows containing fine examples of fifteenth-century stained glass. One panel (Fig. 1) contains a representation of Sir William de Bardeswell (d. 1434), clad in armour and kneeling in prayer, who, together with his wife, was a major benefactor of the church, responsible for much of its current appearance.
The medieval glass will be temporarily removed from the church during the restoration work, which is expected to continue until February 2020.
£800,000 Stained Glass Restoration Project at Long Melford
The late fifteenth-century stained glass at Long Melford parish church has long been recognised as one of the most splendid schemes to have survived from late medieval England. Best-known, for its extensive sequence of so-called ‘donor’ figures depicting various relations of John Clopton, a wealthy wool merchant who was the principal bene-factor behind the rebuilding of the church from around 1480, the windows also include an array of saintly, angelic, devotional and heraldic subjects.
Thanks to an extraordinarily generous donation by one of Clopton’s descendants, this exceptional scheme is now the subject of a major restoration project that will clear away centuries worth of grime, allowing visitors to appreciate its beauty and the skill of the craftsmen responsible for it to its full extent once again.
But the church has not stopped here. Efforts are underway to raise a further £500,000 to finance crucial further work, including the installation of protective glazing, to preserve the restoration efforts for generations to come.
Stained Glass Museum Glass Racks Appeal
The Stained Glass Museum is currently raising funds to buy and install two new bespoke collections storage racks to help to house its growing collection of stained glass. This extra storage space will help to enable the museum to continue to expand and develop its collection through new acquisitions; to ensure its collections are properly protected whilst in storage; and to facilitate access to the stored collections for researchers as well as the public at special events.
The project will cost a total of £30,000. All donations are welcome, and to show its ap-preciation the museum is offering a range of donor rewards for donations of certain siz-es, ranging from limited edition sets of postcards, prints and museum tote bags, through to Behind-the-Scenes Tours and rack sponsorship.
For further information about the appeal and to make a donation, please visit the appeal website.
BSMGP Lecture Series 2020
The British Society of Master Glass Painters has announced details of its annual three-part lecture series for 2020.
In the Spring lecture, on March 13th, John Edwards will explore the life and works of Christopher Webb, drawing on Webb’s archive, a newly-compiled list of his stained glass windows and other art works, emphasising Webb’s achievements and legacy.
The Summer lecture, on June 12th, stained glass artist Frans Wesselman will throw light onto his techniques and inspirations, focusing on his well-known Godiva windows, illus-trating the story of Coventry’s history.
In the Autumn, Matthew Reeve will lecture on ‘Stained Glass at an Intersection – Church, Gallery & Museum’, drawing on his own experiences of working with galleries and museums. Matthew promises to bring some original pieces of historic glass with him to the lecture!
All lectures are held in the Art Workers Guild, 6 Queen Square, London WC1N 3AR, and begin at 6.15pm. Lecture cost £17 (£14.45 for members) and are followed by a buf-fet meal costing £16 (£13.60 members). For further details and to book tickets to these events, please see the BSMGP website.
Stained Glass Museum Study Weekend 2020: West Kent
Booking is now open for the SGM’s 2020 Study Weekend. This year, the event will take place Thursday 23rd – Sunday 26th April, and will explore West Kent from a base in Royal Tunbridge Wells. Highlights of the weekend will include a day-long visit to Can-terbury Cathedral, taking in the magnificent medieval stained glass of the cathedral church, as well as an opportunity to see first-hand the conservation and restoration work undertaken at The Cathedral Studios. Visits to are also planned to spectacular 19th and 20th century sites, including the exceptional series of Chagall windows at Tudeley, and the scheme of extraordinary windows by Douglas Strachan in Winchelsea.
Prices for residential places are £500 per person (single occupancy, £450 per person double/twin occupancy), and include three night bed and breakfast and evening meals, two and a half days guided visits by coach, entrance fees to site, and a conference place with site notes.
The Museum is also inviting applications for a student/graduate bursary, funded by Friends of the Stained Glass Museum.
The deadline for the bursary is February 28th 2020. For further details, to book a place and do download a student bursary application form, please see the Museum’s website.