William Burges Glass at Castell Coch, Wales

St Michael, St Uriel and St Chamuel

Fig. 1. St Michael, St Uriel and St Chamuel. © Woolley and Wallis

The Archangel Gabriel and St Joseph

Fig. 2. The Archangel Gabriel and St Joseph. © Woolley and Wallis

The Welsh Minister for Heritage has agreed that CADW, the Welsh heritage organization, should submit a grant application to the National Heritage Memorial Fund for funds to assist in the purchase of the two ‘missing’ stained-glass panels from the chapel at Castell Coch [Figs 1 and 2].

Castell Coch was designed by the architect William Burges (1827–1881) for John Patrick Crichton-Stuart (1847–1900), 3rd Marquess of Bute, as an occasional summer retreat. The men were already collaborating on the reinvention of Cardiff Castle when work began on rebuilding Castell Coch out of its medieval ruins in 1875. The scheme included a private, timber-framed chapel springing out of the roof of the Well Tower, which was fitted with twenty panels of stained glass designed by Burges and made by the London makers Saunders & Co. in 1878. The windows showed a mixture of Welsh and other British saints, and key biblical figures. The marquess was a Roman Catholic convert and passionately interested in the early Christian church in Britain.

Sadly the chapel was short-lived and had been demolished by 1891. The glass panels were recorded as being stored on site in 1901. Ten of the panels have been at Cardiff Castle since the city council took the site over in 1948 and are displayed there in a gallery. Eight panels were acquired by CADW at auction in 1988 and are now displayed in a model of the chapel in the attic room of the Well Tower.

The two ‘missing’ panels emerged in an auction catalogue for a sale by the auctioneers Woolley and Wallis, Salisbury, on 23 June 2010. The auction estimate was £150–250,000. They went unsold however, and this was previously reported in Vidimus no. 41.

CADW is now pursuing a private-treaty sale through the auctioneers. If CADW is successful, then the purchase can be concluded within the current financial year. The National Heritage Memorial Fund’s lawyers have confirmed that the Welsh Assembly Government is eligible to apply to them for a grant.

New Stained Glass Exhibition in Ghent

Exhibition ‘Belichte stad’

Fig. 3. Exhibition ‘Belichte stad’. Picture by Hans Fischer

On 9 October 2010, the STAM, the new city museum of Ghent (Belgium) opened, replacing the former Bijlokemuseum, which had been closed for renovation since 2005. The renovated and expanded museum has exceeded all expectations. In conjunction with its reopening a special exhibition, ‘Illuminated City’ (Belichte Stad), will run until 10 May 2011, exploring through stained glass the numerous aspects of light [Fig. 3].

Aletta Rambaut first drew attention to the very fine collection of stained glass at the STAM in a presentation to the 2008 Corpus Vitrearum Colloquium in Zurich. The large and diverse collection includes roundels and fragments of great historical interest. First assembled in the nineteenth century by an eminent Ghent art collector, additional pieces, including roundels and heads, were subsequently purchased by the city from the glazier, Henry Coppejans.

The temporary exhibition provides the opportunity to display more of the museum’s sixteenth- and seventeenth-century roundels than is otherwise feasible: approximately 90% of the STAM’s holdings are in storage. The roundels have been set individually for the exhibition, the idea being to display them like jewels in jewellery boxes, allowing the visitor to see the artwork very closely without distraction. The exhibited pieces are thus not simply displayed illuminated by light, they also illustrate how the panels themselves present light in different ways. For each roundel and fragment, the light illuminating them cedes to the illumination from within, and the lamp-, torch- and halo-like effect that can only be created through different shades of silver stain.

Further Reading

A. Rambaut, ‘Magnifique ensemble de “petits vitraux” conservé au STAM de Gand (B): la collection de la Bijloke’, in V. Sauterel and S. Trumpler, Les panneaux de vitrail isolés. Die Einzelscheibe. The single stained-glass panel. Actes du XXIVe Colloque International du Corpus Vitrearum Zurich 2008, Bern, 2010, pp. 147–66

For more information about the exhibition, including opening times, visit the museum’s website.

New Displays at Ancestors of Christ Exhibition in Canterbury Cathedral


Fig. 4. Jared. © Dean and Chapter of Canterbury Cathedral and reproduced with their permission


Fig. 5. Enoch. © Dean and Chapter of Canterbury Cathedral and reproduced with their permission

The next phase of Canterbury Cathedral’s exhibition of figures from the internationally important Ancestors of Christ series of windows has been announced. The figures of Jared (Jareth) and Enoch, David and Nathan, will be on display from 28 March until the end of July. Jared and Enoch have been dated to 1178–80 by the CVMA author Madeline Caviness (Further Reading: Caviness 1981). They were originally inserted in NXXII in the north choir clerestory and formed a pair, with Jared occupying the upper part and Enoch the lower part of the window [Figs 4 and 5].

The figures of David and Nathan may be even earlier [Figs 7 and 7]. Although initially dated to around 1220 by Professor Caviness in her 1981 CVMA (GB) catalogue of the cathedral windows, she has subsequently wondered if the archaic style of the drapery worn by the figures means that they might be re-used panels or ‘belles verrières’ from a scheme painted in the second third of the twelfth century. She has also suggested that two other figures in the series (Roboam and Abia – not displayed) may be of the same date as David and Nathan (Further Reading: Caviness 1987). When the figures of David and Nathan were installed in NVII in the north clerestory of the Trinity Chapel, they were also arranged as a pair, with David occupying the upper part and Nathan the lower part of the window.


Fig. 6. David. © Dean and Chapter of Canterbury Cathedral and reproduced with their permission


Fig. 7. Nathan © Dean and Chapter of Canterbury Cathedral and reproduced with their permission

The Ancestors of Christ windows originally consisted of eighty-six figures, largely based on the list of names contained in the Gospel of St Luke (III, 23–28) and interpolated with additional names from the Gospel of St Matthew (I, 1–17). It was the largest known series of the genealogy of Christ in medieval art (not just in stained glass). Forty-three figures of the original series survive: nine in the choir clerestory, twenty-two in the south-west transept window (sXXVIII), and twelve in the west window (WI). The figures currently being exhibited are from the south-west transept window, whose masonry is being repaired.

Further Reading

M. H. Caviness, The Early Stained Glass of Canterbury Cathedral, Princeton, 1977

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

M. H. Caviness, ‘Romanesque “belles verrières” in Canterbury?’, in Romanesque and Gothic Essays for George Zarnecki, ed. N. Stratford, Woodbridge, 1987, pp. 35–38

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

P. Collinson et al. (eds), A History of Canterbury Cathedral, Oxford, 1995

For further information about this exhibition, see Vidimus no. 44.

For more images of the stained glass at Canterbury Cathedral visit the CVMA Picture Archive.

Stained Glass and the Modern Museum – Conservation, Research, Display: 10-11 March, 2011

On 10–11 March, York University’s School of Stained Glass Studies will hold an international masterclass focusing on issues relating to the conservation, cataloguing and display of stained glass.

Based in the historic surroundings of the medieval Merchant Taylors’ Hall in the centre of York, the event will include an international panel of speakers from Britain, Germany and Switzerland. Confirmed speakers include Dr Dagmar Täube, from the Schnütgen Museum, Cologne; Dr Daniel Hess, from the Germanisches Nationalsmuseum, Nuremburg; Dr Stephan Trümpler, from the Vitromusée, Romont; Dr Glyn Davies, from the Victoria & Albert Museum, London; and Andrew Morrison, from the Yorkshire Museum in York.

The two day programme costs £100, inclusive of tea/coffee and a buffet lunch on both days. For further information and to secure a place by the closing date of 28 February, please contact the Pam Ward the course administrator by telephone (01904 433997, +441904 433997 if calling from outside the United Kingdom) or via email (

Exciting Sessions on Stained Glass at Kalamazoo International Congress on Medieval Studies: 12–15 May 2011

This year’s International Congress on Medieval Studies at Western Michigan University, Kalamazoo (12–15 May) promises plenty of treats for historians of stained glass.

Two main sessions ‘Glazing and Stained Glass: Collaborations, Analogies’ and ‘Investigations involving Stained Glass and Other Disciplines’ have been organized by CVMA (USA) authors Elizabeth Carson Pastan and Mary B. Shepard. The first session features talks by Kathleen Nolan (Hollins University) and Susan Leibacher Ward (Rhode Island School of Design) entitled ‘Contemplation and Her Sisters: Female Personifications at Notre-Dame-en-Vaux in Châlons-en-Champagne’; by Gerry Guest (John Carroll University) entitled ‘Stained Glass and Liturgy: The Uses and Limits of an Analogy’; and by Sarah Brown (University of York/York Glaziers Trust) entitled ‘Read It Like a Book? The Evidence from the Windows of Saint Mary’s, Fairford’. The second session sees Anne F. Harris (DePauw University) speak about ‘Stained Glass and Spoken Word Literature: Performance, Space, and Voice’; Nancy Thompson (St. Olaf College) on ‘The Franciscans and Stained Glass in Tuscany and Umbria’; Scott B. Montgomery (University of Denver) on ‘Sacra Conversazione: Dialogues between Reliquaries and Windows’; and Corine Schleif (Arizona State University) on ‘Sexuality in a Cold Cloister: The Weinhausen Crucifixion Panel’. Both sessions are sponsored by the International Center of Medieval Art (ICMA) based at the Cloisters Museum in New York.

Other sessions of interest at the congress include a talk by Meghan Hekker entitled ‘Visualizing England’s Savoir Saint: Medieval Church Politics and the Becket Miracle Windows’, and a whole session devoted to ‘York Minster: Current Developments in Research and Conservation of the East End’. Sponsored by the Christianity and Culture project, Centre for Medieval Studies, at the University of York this event includes: ‘New Light on the Archaeology of York Minster’s East Front’ by Katherine F. Giles and Alex Holton (both University of York) and ‘A Light to Shine upon Them: The Iconography and Survival of Windows of the Eastern End of York Minster Considered’ by Louise Hampson (University of York). The respondent for this session will be Sarah Brown (University of York/York Glaziers Trust).

For full details of this fascinating event, including how to book and details of the entire programme, visit Western Michigan University’s website.

Jan Gossaert Exhibition Opens in London

Mary Magdalene by Jan Gossaert

Fig. 8. Mary Magdalene by Jan Gossaert, c.1525–30. © 2010 Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, Massachusetts

An acclaimed exhibition of work by the Flemish artist and designer for stained glass Jan Gossaert (c.1478–1532) will open in London later this month. Jan Gossaert’s Renaissance will run from the 23 February until 30 May at the National Gallery [Fig. 8]. A major article about the artist and his work in stained glass appeared in Vidimus no. 45.

A well-illustrated catalogue Van Eyck to Gossaert: Towards a Northern Renaissance by Susan Frances Jones is available from the National Gallery shop. For more information about the exhibition, including advance ticket booking, visit the National Gallery’s website.

American Glass Guild Annual Conference (22–24 July 2011)

The annual conference of the American Glass Guild (AGG) will be held in Asheville, North Carolina, with workshops on Thursday 21 July and a stained-glass tour on Monday 25 July. Several sessions will highlight medieval stained glass.

The keynote speaker will be renowned artist Charles Z. Lawrence. Other speakers include national and international stained-glass artists, art historians and conservators: Drew Anderson, Don Burt, Joseph Cavalieri, Nancy Gong, Guy Kemper, Tom Küpper, Andrew Moore, Robin Neely, Virginia Chieffo Raguin, Roberto Rosa, Scott Taylor, Karl Heinz Traut, Kent Watkins and Andrew Young. Topics include artists’ work; the history of glass-painting; working with enamels;  new glass techniques; conservation of Mary Tillinghast windows; stained glass at Lincoln Cathedral; late Gothic German windows at The Metropolitan Museum of Art; and Tiffany at the Virginia Museum of Art. Workshops will be given by Mary Clerkin Higgins on conservation gluing, by Indre McCraw on glass painting, and by Matteo Randi on traditional glass mosaics. There will be a free drawing workshop with Debra Balchen.

Conference details can be found on the guild’s website.

Stained Glass after 1920: Technology and Conservation Forum for the Conservation of Stained-Glass Windows: Lisbon, 26–28 September 2011

This forum is being held under the auspices of the Portuguese Committee of the Corpus Vitrearum and the International Committee of the Corpus Vitrearum for the Conservation of Stained Glass. It will consider the conservation challenges posed by the changing aesthetics, new technology and materials of the twentieth and twenty-first centuries and will consist of two full days of oral presentations and poster sessions. Sessions will cover the subject areas of materials and techniques and conservation measures. The morning of the third conference day will be spent viewing stained glass in Lisbon.

The forum is open to all interested stained-glass professionals, including conservators, conservation scientists, artists, architects, cultural heritage managers, art historians, students, etc. Papers will be offered in English, French and German (simultaneous translation not be provided).

Information regarding the conference programme and venue, as well as details of registration and accommodation facilities are available here.

The forum dates have been chosen in order to enable participants to attend the 16th Triennial Meeting of ICOM-CC, which will also be held in Lisbon, 19–23 September 2011.

Roundel Puzzle

Name that roundel!

Fig. 9. Name that roundel!

Detail of fallen man

Fig. 10. Detail of fallen man.

This month’s puzzle comes from the parish church of St Peter at Nowton in Suffolk, home to one of the largest collections of imported roundels in England. It has a diameter of 23cm and is painted in black with both light- and dark-yellow stain. It has been dated to c.1525 [Fig. 9].

Several scenes are depicted. In the foreground the decapitated body of a young woman sprawls across a rocky landscape. Her severed head with long blonde hair can be seen at the bottom of the roundel, carefully arranged within the curve of her body. Blood spurts from her neck. To her right a fallen man is gripped by a winged demon with terrified eyes. The hem of the man’s robe is inscribed with unintelligible letters. Fire rains down on them from the sky. A sword lies between the man and the body of the young woman.

The final scene (upper left) shows a burial. The young woman’s head has been reunited with her body and she wears grave clothes.

What subject does the scene show? 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.



1 March: Canon Jack Higham will speak about ‘Medieval Stained Glass: From the earliest 7th-century glass to the late medieval period’ to the Peterborough Museum Society. The lecture will be held in the John Clare Theatre, at the Central Library, Broadway, Peterborough, starting at 7.30pm. Non-members of the society are welcome to attend. Attendance costs £2.50. For more details the Peterborough website.

11 March: British Society of Master Glass Painters Spring Lecture, Anna Eavis: ‘An 18th-century rescusant’s collection: the windows of Milton Manor chapel, Oxfordshire’. For more details visit the society’s website.


1215 May: International Congress on Medieval Studies at Western Michigan University, Kalamazoo. Includes sessions on medieval stained glass. For more information, see above.

21–24 July: American Glass Guild 2011 Conference, Asheville, North Carolina, USA. Pre-conference workshops, post-conference tour, renowned speakers, members’ exhibition. For more information, see above.

26–28 September: CVMA Forum for the Conservation of Stained-Glass Windows ‘Stained Glass after 1920: technology and conservation’. Lisbon, Portugal. For more details, see above.

Current Exhibitions

Until 13 February: Thurneysser Superstar: Ein einzigartiger Glasmalereizyklus von 1579 at the Kunstmuseum, Basel, Switzerland. Website here.

Until 20 February: Die Staufer und Italien at the Reiss-Engelhorn-Museen in Mannheim, Germany. Website here.

Until 27 February: The Glory of the Painted Page, medieval manuscript illuminations from the permanent collection of the Cleveland Museum of Art, Ohio, USA. Website here.

Until 28 February: Virtues and Vices: moralizing prints in the Low Countries, 1550–1600, Philadelphia Museum of Art (USA). Website here.

Until mid-March: Four Ancestors of Christ (first part of a rolling exhibition); Canterbury Cathedral. For more information, see above.

Until 17 March: Clayton & Bell, Leading Stained Glass Designers and their Work at Harrow School; Old Speech Room Gallery, Harrow School, London. Website here.

Until 25 March: ‘Through the Eye of the Collector: A Rare Glimpse of Stained Glass from Private Collections’ at the Stained Glass Museum, Ely Cathedral. Website here.

Until 3 July: Brian Clarke, Life and Death at the Vitromusée, Romont, Switzerland. Website here.

Until 2013: Vitraux de la Renaissance à Chartres at the Centre International du Vitrail, Chartres, France. Website here.

Forthcoming Exhibitions

13 February – 5 August: Treasures of Heaven: Saints, Relics, and Devotion in Medieval Europe at the Walters Art Museum, Baltimore, USA. Details here.

23 February – 30 May: Man, Myth, and Sensual Pleasures: Jan Gossart’s Renaissance, National Gallery, London, UK. See above for more information. 

27 February 27– May 30: Kings, Queens, and Courtiers: Art in Early Renaissance France, The Art Institute of Chicago, USA. Details here

From March 28: new displays of the Ancestors of Christ, rolling exhibition; Canterbury Cathedral. See above for more information.

From 23 June 2011 – 10 September: Treasures of Heaven: Saints, Relics, and Devotion in Medieval Europe, at the British Museum, London, UK. Details here.