Stained Glass Online: New CVMA Website 

We are delighted to announce the arrival of the new-look Corpus Vitrearum Medii Aevi (CVMA) GB website , which provides free access to over 23,000 colour images of stained glass in Britain. The majority of the images feature medieval glass; all are free to download for educational purposes. The website also provides information about the history, techniques and conservation of stained glass, including a new illustrated glossary. It is a fantastic resource for scholars and for members of the public alike and one of which we can be very proud; there is nothing like it anywhere in the world.

The CVMA website was set up in 2004, in partnership with the Centre for Computing in the Humanities (CCH) at King’s College, London. Its principal purpose was to present photographs taken for and by the British Corpus Vitrearum Medii Aevi (CVMA), part of the international research project dedicated to the recording and publication of medieval stained glass. The new version was developed in order to provide users with more flexible ways of searching the picture archive, allowing subject-based searching for the first time and offering a new ‘zoomify’ feature, which enables you to magnify areas of higher quality images.

An important part of the new website project – although invisible to users – was the reconstruction of the technical infrastructure. This will make it much easier for us to update the website, adding lots of new pictures and information as they become available.

We’re very pleased with the website, but we know that there is room for improvement. We’d like Vidimus readers to help us identify how we can make it better. Please try out the new website and send any comments to by the end of June.

St Zita (St Sitha) in Nottingham

St Zita (Sitha), parish church of St Edmund, Emneth, Norfolk. © Mike Dixon.

Fig. 1. St Zita (Sitha), parish church of St Edmund, Emneth, Norfolk. © Mike Dixon.

An exhibition of medieval manuscripts, currently on show at the University of Nottingham’s Lakeside Arts Centre until 8 August, includes the only known leaf from a medieval translation (c. 1475) of the life of St Zita (sometimes Sitha) of Lucca, an Italian female saint whose image appears in a number of extant English 15th-century glazing schemes. [Figs. 1 and 2]

St Zita (Sitha), Winchester Cathedral, North Choir Aisle, nVIII, A2, detail. © Gordon Plumb.

Fig. 2. St Zita (Sitha), Winchester Cathedral, North Choir Aisle, nVIII, A2, detail. © Gordon Plumb.

Zita was the faithful servant of a Tuscan family in the 13th century whose piety led the family she served to a religious awakening. She is the Italian patron saint of housewives and lost keys. Although not canonised until later, Zita or Sitha became the object of a cult in the English East Midlands and East Anglia in the later middle ages. The medieval historian, Professor Anne Curry, has suggested that her appeal lay in the way that she was seen as ‘a paradigm of youthful female conduct that was chaste, pious and charitable… (and which)… provided a model of service’ for gentlewomen as well as for the domestic underclass (see Further Reading: Curry).

For more information about the Saints, Sinners and Storytellers exhibition at Nottingham Lakeside see theLakeside Arts Centre website.

Further Reading

For more about the manuscript see: Turville-Petre, T., ‘A Middle English Life of St Zita’, Nottingham Medieval Studies, 35, 1991, pp. 102–105

For St Zita: Sutcliffe, S., ‘The Cult of St Sitha in England: an introduction’, Nottingham Medieval Studies, 37, 1993, pp. 83–89

For St Zita also see: Curry, A., Matthew, E., The Fifteenth Century Vol I: Concepts and Patterns of Service in the Later Middle Ages, Woodbridge, 2000

Treasures of Heaven: Saints, Relics, and Devotion in Medieval Europe

Head reliquary of St Eustace, Basle, Switzerland, around AD 1210. © the British Museum.

Fig. 1. Head reliquary of St Eustace, Basle, Switzerland, around AD 1210. © the British Museum.

An exhibition of interest to Vidimus readers will open at the Cleveland Museum of Art , Ohio, USA., later this year (17 Oct – 17 Jan 2011) before travelling to the Walters Art Museum in Baltimore (13 Feb – 5 August 2011) and arriving at its final destination in London at the British Museum ( 23 June – 10 September 2011).

Called Treasures of Heaven: Saints, Relics, and Devotion in Medieval Europe, the exhibition will feature relics and reliquaries drawn from the collections of the three organising museums together with loan items from the Vatican, the Louvre, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Art Institute of Chicago, the National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C., and important private collections. Around 150 items of metalwork, paintings, sculptures and illuminated manuscripts will be displayed, including the near life-size bust of St. Baudime, c. 1180–1200 from the parish Church of Saint-Nectaire, Puy-le-Dôme; the gilded copper reliquary shrine of Saint Amandus, c. 1250–1275, said to have once housed the relics of a 7th-century saint who served as a missionary and bishop to the western regions of present-day Belgium, and the silver and silver-gilt head reliquary of St. Eustace, c. 1210, on loan from the British Museum. [Fig. 1]

Shrines, relics, altars and stained glass windows often complemented each other in the medieval church. Famous shrines, like those of St Thomas Becket at Canterbury were surrounded by windows depicting the life and miracles of the saint. The story of St Eustace is told in the windows at Chartres Cathedral and elsewhere. A window in the choir clerestory of Troyes Cathedral known as the ‘Procession of Relics’ dating to c. 1228–35, featured some of the most important relics held by the cathedral: the head of St Philip; the vase used during the Last Supper; the blood of Christ; the foot of St Margaret and the tooth of St Peter.

A lavishly illustrated catalogue of the exhibition will be published in October by Yale University Press: Treasures of Heaven: Saints, Relics, and Devotion in Medieval Europe, edited by Martina Bagnoli, Holger A. Klein, C. Griffith Mann, and James Robinson, will have 328 pages, and 300 colour illustrations.

Name that Roundel!

Name that Roundel!

Fig. 1. Name that Roundel!

This month’s puzzle comes from one of the side chapels of King’s College Chapel, Cambridge. At first glance it seems to show an angel holding a scroll surrounded by three men wearing long robes, cape-collars and scholars’ caps (the upper head of the man on the left has been damaged by a broken corner). The man on the extreme right is pointing to the winged figure and speaking. Another inscription runs along the foot of the panel. [Fig. 1]

However, closer observation reveals that the central figure is not an angel. Although he is winged and wears a white gold-edged robe, he is also showing a hideous claw foot.

The man on the right is crying: Cauete ♦ ab ♦ hac ♦ peste ♦

The text at the foot of the panel has been abbreviated. The missing letters are shown in brackets. The inscription says: hic ♦ ph(ilosoph)ia ♦ c(ontra)gnost[ic]i ♦ discitur

What subject does our panel show?

The late CVMA author, Hilary Wayment (1912–2005) dated the panel to c. 1490 and attributed it to a Cologne workshop (see: Wayment, H., King’s College Chapel Cambridge: The Side-Chapel Glass, Cambridge, 1988, p.78)

Roundels and other single panels of this period typically depict a range of subjects, including stories from the Old and New Testaments, the Lives of saints, and tales from ancient history and classical literature, such as Homer’s Odyssey. Moral themes can also appear.

The solution can be found at the foot of this month’s Books section.



Friday 18 June: BSMGP Summer Lecture and Annual General Meeting, AGM 5pm, Lecture 6.15 for 6.45pm, Glyn Davies (Research Fellow and Curator at the Victoria and Albert Museum) – ‘Leading and Light Boxes:Conserving the Stained Glass in the V&A’s Medieval and Renaissance Galleries’. For more information see the BSMGP website.

Friday 15 October: BSMGP Autumn Lecture 6.15 for 6.45pm, Tom Denny – ‘Recent windows in extraordinary buildings’. For more information see the BSMGP website.

Conferences/Study Events

Thursday 13 – Sunday 16 May: Stained Glass Museum study weekend in Merseyside. The tour will focus on Liverpool and its surrounding areas. The guides will be CVMA author Dr Penny Hebgin-Barnes, author of CVMA volume The Medieval Stained Glass of Lancashire, and the distinguished stained glass artist Alfred Fisher, a native of Liverpool who trained in the studio of James Powell & Sons. The weekend will begin on Thursday afternoon with a visit to Port Sunlight to view the windows by 20th-century artist Ervin Bossanyi, as well as the Lady Lever Art Gallery which houses, among other exhibits, paintings by Sir John Millais and Sir Joshua Reynolds. Friday will take participants to both of Liverpool’s magnificent cathedrals to revel in 20th-century glass and to the Walker Art Gallery which will include a private visit to its wonderful collection of medieval glass (see Vidimus 2 ). On Saturday the party will visit the National Trust property of Speke Hall (1490–1612), richly endowed with armorial glass, and St Helen’s Church, Sefton, to see its medieval glass. Same-day visits to All Hallows Church, Allerton and Ullet Road Unitarian Church will also provide a feast for lovers of Burne Jones and William Morris windows. On Sunday participants will be free to explore the fascinating Museums and Galleries within walking distance of the hotel, including the Merseyside Maritime Museum, Tate Liverpool and the International Slavery Museum.

Residential: £355 (£330 for Friends of The Stained Glass Museum) includes: Accommodation: Thursday – dinner; Friday – breakfast, lunch, dinner; Saturday – breakfast,dinner; Sunday – breakfast.

Non-residential: £225 (£200 for Friends of The Stained Glass Museum) includes: Thursday – dinner; Friday – lunch, dinner; Saturday – dinner.

Both packages include: Travel to all sites, guide-receiving headset and a conference pack with notes on sites to be visited For more information, including booking forms, see the Stained Glass Museum website or email:

Saturday 29 May: Day-long BSMGP Walk and Talk in Essex led by Nigel Swift. The itinerary includes visits to Rivenhall (12th-century French glass) and Margaretting (13th-century Jesse window). For more information contact:

Friday 11 June: ‘The Herkenrode Glass: the revival of Lichfield Cathedral’s Renaissance treasure’; Study day seminar at the Society of Antiquaries (London) (10.00am to 4.00pm): admission by ticket only. For details see the Society of Antiquaries website.

Tuesday 13 July: Charlotte Dikken, Medieval Memoria Online, Universiteit Utrecht, will lecture on The Jerusalem Church in Bruges and its Stained Glass Windows: A Monument to a Glorious Past and a Questionable Future at the 2010 Leeds Medieval Congress (12–15 July) For more information see the Leeds Medieval Congress website.

Saturday 17 July: Day-long BSMGP Walk and Talk in Northamptonshire led by Robin Fleet. The itinerary includes a visit to Lowick (14th-century glass). For more information contact:

Saturday 17 – 20 July: British Archaeological Association conference, Medieval Art, Architecture and Archaeology in Newcastle and the county of Northumberland (together with the former county of Tyne and Wear). For more information see the British Archaeological Association website.

Tuesday 20 – Friday 23 July: The 27th Harlaxton Medieval Symposium will include lectures by T. A. Heslop (University of East Anglia on ‘Pious Collaboration: Masons, Glaziers and their Patrons in Norfolk Churches, 1330–50’; David King (also UEA) on ‘Glass Painting in Late-Medieval Norwich: Continuity and Patronage’; and Professor Richard Marks (York University) on ‘Shedding light: the commissioning of windows in the late medieval parish church’. For more details see the Harlaxton website.

Friday 23 – Sunday 25 July : The American Glass Guild’s fifth annual conference will be held in Detroit, Michigan. Artists, conservators, studio owners, and researchers working in stained glass will share their ideas, techniques, work processes and discoveries. There will be workshops and tours before and after the conference. Detroit Institute of Arts, with one of the best collections of European stained glass in America, will be part of the Friday walking tour, and Sarah Brown of the York Glazier’s Trust will be a part of a Conservation Panel, as well as speaking on the work of Ervin Bossyani. For more information on this and past conferences, see the American Glass Guild website .

Thursday 2 – Sunday 5 September: BSMGP 2010 Annual Conference in Winchester and the New Forest. Delegates will visit the Cathedral, Winchester College and the Hospital of St Cross. Other highlights include a visit to the church of St John, at Rownhams, near Southampton, to see its spectacular collection of 15th – 17th-century roundels. The residential fee is £290 for members. For more information contact:

Wednesday 15 September: 2010 conference of the Stained Glass Group of the Institute of Conservation (ICON) at the Cripps Auditorium, Magdalene College, Cambridge. Speakers will discuss ‘Colleges, Parishes & Villas, Stained Glass Conservation in the South of England’ and include Martin Harrison, Prof. Joost Caen, Prof. Sebastian Strobl (Germany) and Elise Learner (France). Non-members are welcome. Lunch is included in the delegate fee of £78 for ICON members and students, £88 non-members. For further details and information about booking please contact Peter Campling at or phone 01603 891505.


From 15 May – 2 January 2011: Medieval Glass for Popes, Princes and Peasants at The Corning Museum of Glass, Corning, New York. This is an exhibition of vessel glass. For more information see the Corning Museum website.

Until 23 May: The Mourners: Medieval Tomb Sculptures from the Court of Burgundy, at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, features 40 alabaster mourning figures from the tomb of John the Fearless (1371–1419), on loan from the Musée des Beaux-Arts in Dijon while the museum undergoes renovation. The exhibition is accompanied by a 128 page catalogue by Sophie Jugie. After closing in New York the exhibition will travel to six other museums in the USA before opening in Paris in 2012. For information about the New York exhibition see the Metropolitan Museum of Art website.

Until 24 May: Paris, Ville rayonnante, Le XIIIe siècle, âge d’or de l’architecture et de la sculpture exhibition at the National Museum of the Middle Ages (The Cluny) in Paris. Although not about stained glass, the exhibition will explore the architecture of buildings well known to Vidimus readers such as the Saint-Chapelle and the Chapel of the Virgin at Saint-Germain-des-Pres. For more information see the exhibition website.

Until 29 May: Marc Chagall’s drawings for the windows of All Saints, Tudely as part of an exhibition devoted to images of the crucifixion by modern artists at the Mascalls Gallery, Paddock Wood, Kent, see Vidimus 38.

Until 13 June: The Art of Illumination: The Limbourg Brothers and the Belles Heures of Jean de France, Duc de Berry, at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, is a once-in-a-lifetime display of the 172 sumptuous illuminations from the medieval prayer book, one of the Museum’s great treasures, while it is temporarily unbound for conservation (and the preparation of a facsimile edition). For further information see the Metropolitan Museum of Art website.

Until 3 July: Albrecht Durer: Virtuoso Printmaker, an exhibition of 45 prints from the collection of the Boston Museum of Fine Arts.

Until 4 July: Horace Walpole’s Strawberry Hill exhibition at the Victoria & Albert Museum, London. For more information see the Victoria & Albert Museum website.

From 1 June – 8 August: Old Testament Imagery in Medieval Christian Manuscripts at the Getty Centre, California, USA. For more information see the Getty Centre website.

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