Eva Frodl-Kraft (1916-2011): a tribute by Richard Marks

It is with great regret that we announce the death on 1 May of Professor Eva Frodl-Kraft, one of the founders of the Corpus Vitrearum Medii Aevi project and a medieval art historian of international renown. Born in Vienna, Eva studied at the University there and during the Second World War supervised the photographic division of the Institut für Denkmalpflege. In 1945 she joined the Institut für Osterreichische Kunstforschung am Bundesdenkmalamt, where she became heavily engaged in research on and the conservation of medieval glass in Austria; in 1970 she was appointed as head of the Institut and between 1983 and 1987 served as President of the International CVMA, on the history of which she wrote articles in 1998 and 2004.

Despite her onerous official duties, over five decades Eva published extensively on the history, technique and conservation of medieval glass, including two of the four CVMA volumes which have to date appeared for Austria (1962 and 1972) and a standard work, Die Glasmalerei: Entwicklung, Technik, Eigenart (1970).  Many of her articles were ground-breaking, for example, her study of Cistercian grisaille designs published in the Wiener Jahrbuch für Kunstgeschichte (1965). Not only is it the publications that make Eva’s contribution to the study of medieval stained glass immense, it is also the policy of minimal intervention in conservation established in Austria and her support of
the CVMA Technical (now Conservation) Committee which have set the benchmark for the medium.

Although readers of Vidimus will be interested primarily in her work on stained glass, it would be wrong to overlook Eva’s innovatory policies as head of the Institut für Osterreichische Kunstforschung in regard to the recording of buildings and works of art, which included a refashioning of the Dehio volumes as inventories.

Eva was an individual who combined a formidable intellect with drive and determination as well as profound learning. She was no respecter of status or position when it came to scholarly debate: the sole determinant was the quality of the argument.  This could extend into the political sphere. During the 1989 CVMA Colloquium in Erfurt, at the time when the regime in the German Democratic republic was still in control, although beginning to crumble, I recall Eva publicly taking to task the Deputy Minister of Culture for the refusal to let an eminent East German scholar accept an honorary degree from a West Berlin university. I first encountered her in the early 1970’s as a stained glass neophyte; subsequently my initial feelings of respect and admiration came to be supplemented by affection; she was very kind and supportive to me and I am indebted to her in many different ways.

Eva will be sadly missed by all who had the privilege of knowing her, but her memory will live on in her scholarship and contribution to the preservation of Austria’s artistic heritage.
Richard Marks

A bibliography of Professor Frodl-Kraft’s work can be found at

Discovering Medieval Stained Glass in Nottinghamshire

A medieval stained glass trail for Nottinghamshire churches has been published by the excellent Southwell & Nottingham Diocese Church History Project.

The trail involves a journey of thirty-seven miles, visiting seven churches with important remains of medieval glass ranging from the twelfth to the late fifteenth centuries. The churches are: Halam, St Michael; Southwell Minster; Averham, St Michael & All Angels; Newark, St Mary Magdalene; Holme, St Giles; Fledborough, St Gregory; and East Markham, St John the Baptist.

The trail has been edited by Heather Sirrel with support from the Rev Dr Allan Barton, Dr Chris Brooke, Tom Errington and Anita Maunsell.

For a copy of the guide, and more information about the Church History Project, contact: Heather.Sirrel@southwell.anglican.

Medieval Vogue in New York

Fig. 3. Female donor, Waterperry (Oxfordshire)

Fig. 3. Female donor, Waterperry (Oxfordshire)

A new exhibition with plenty of interest to historians of stained glass has opened at the Morgan Library and Museum in New York. Illuminating Fashion: Dress in the Art of Medieval France and the Netherlands uses manuscript illuminations and four full-scale replicas of some of the clothing depicted in the manuscripts to examine fashion in the two hundred years prior to the French Renaissance in about 1514. It provides interesting parallels with, and evidence about, depictions of clothing in stained glass of the same period.

Apart from supplying a commentary on changing styles and fashion, the exhibition also touches upon how artists used clothing (real garments actually worn) and costume (fantastic garments not actually worn) to help contemporary viewers interpret a work of art. The garments depicted were often encoded clues to the wearer’s identity and character. To enhance appreciation for the fashions of the era, four full-scale replicas of late medieval ensembles have been recreated, using period hand-sewing techniques and authentic materials—including silk velvet, gold brocade, linen, straw, and ermine.

Fig. 4. Female donor, Long Melford (Suffolk).

Fig. 4. Female donor, Long Melford (Suffolk).

Although not included in the exhibition, many stained glass windows also provide valuable evidence of contemporary fashion. Sarah Brown identified several good examples from England (not covered in the exhibition) in her 1987 book: Stained Glass in England 1180 – 1540. They include depictions of head wear such as the wimple, a kerchief enveloping the neck and breast and fastened at the sides of the head, as can be seen in a fourteenth-century window at the church of St Mary at Waterperry (Oxon), and the more extravagant ‘butterfly’ head-dress worn by one of the female donors at Holy Trinity Church, Long Melford, Suffolk, painted in the late fifteenth century [Figs 3 and 4].

For more information about this fascinating exhibition which closes on September 4th visit the website.

Relics and Reliquaries at the British Museum

A major exhibition focusing on the spiritual and artistic significance of Christian relics and reliquaries in medieval Europe will open at the British Museum on 23 June and run until 9 October.

Sacred items related to Christ or the saints were first used during the early medieval period as a focus for prayer and veneration by Christians throughout Europe. Relics were usually human body parts, or material items sanctified through their contact with holy persons or places. This exhibition will feature a very broad range of the kinds of relics which were venerated, including three thorns thought to be from the crown of thorns, the breast milk of the Virgin Mary, and the Mandylion of Edessa – one of the earliest known likenesses of Jesus.

A number of medieval stained glass windows showed shrines and relics. Examples include the Sainte-Chapelle in Paris, which included windows that depicted the purchase of the crown of thorns and other relics and their arrival in the French capital, and a window in Chartres Cathedral showing Charlemagne acquiring the garment worn by the Virgin Mary during pregnancy and labour, the Sancta Camisa.

For more information about Treasures of Heaven: saints, relic and devotion in medieval Europe, including opening times and admission charges, visit

Durer Exhibition in Scotland

An exhibition of Albrecht Dürer prints has opened at the National Gallery of Scotland in Edinburgh. Albrecht Dürer (1471-1528) was probably the most important artist of the Northern Renaissance. His output included designs for stained glass.

The exhibition shows a selection of prints, drawings and paintings from the National Galleries of Scotland’s collection, including the iconic prints Melancholy, Saint Jerome in his Study and Knight, Death and the Devil.

As well as featuring a selection of Dürer’s work, the exhibition also includes contemporary and later copies of his work, shown alongside imitations and a likely forgery, as well as portraits and works that reflect Dürer’s art.

The exhibition will close on 11th October 2011. Admission is free. For more information visit the National Gallery Website.

New Zealand earthquake

A New Zealand photographer is raising funds for the rebuilding of Christchurch Cathedral which was largely destroyed in a recent earthquake. Amazingly detailed images of around thirty windows, taken with advanced photogrammetric techniques that can record windows in 3D with millimetre accuracy, have been posted online by Derek Golding. The pictures can be sent as free e-cards (donations welcomed) or bought as posters. To view these windows visit

Stained Glass Workshops in York

A new programme of workshops is planned for the Stained Glass Centre,
Church of St. Martin cum Gregory, Micklegate, York:

Stained glass cutting, painting and leading workshop

Saturday 16 July- Sunday 17 July 2011, 10.30am-4.30pm on each day

In this two-day workshop you will learn the techniques of cutting, painting and leading to create your own stained glass panel. In day one you will learn the basic techniques and paint your glass, which will be fired overnight ready for you to lead and finish on the second day.
Cost including all materials for the two days is £100.

Discover the secrets of Stained Glass making

Saturday 20 August 2011, 10.30am-4.30pm
Stained glass is not a lost art! You can learn the most basic techniques of this traditional craft in a one day workshop. With our expert tuition you will learn to cut coloured glass to shape, lead and solder the pieces and produce a simple but charming piece of stained glass to keep as a decorative item for your own home, or to give away as a unique gift to a friend or family member.
Cost including all materials for each day is £50.

Taster sessions

Saturday 10 September 2011, 10.30am-1.00pm or 2.00-4.30pm
To coincide with Heritage Open Days, in these half day sessions you will learn the basics of copper foil techniques and make a decorative item using templates provided. You will practise basic glass cutting, foiling and soldering techniques to produce your own decorative item to take home.
Cost including materials for each session is £10.00

Tutor for all sessions is Ann Sotheran, who is a Fellow of the British Society of Master Glass Painters, with over 25 years’ experience of designing and making stained glass for many different situations. She has taught evening classes in stained glass for nearly twenty years as well as various workshops and taster sessions, covering all aspects of traditional stained glass work including glass painting and acid etching. She also teaches the copper foil technique of glass assembly. Examples of her work can be found on her website

For bookings and further details call 01904 611687

Name that Roundel!

Fig. 5. Name that roundel!

Fig. 5. Name that roundel!

This month’s puzzle depicts a seated figure of the Virgin Mary and the Christ child in front a kneeling man [Fig. 5].
The Virgin Mary is squeezing her right breast as if she is suckling the naked child. The kneeling man is tonsured. He wears a white habit and carries a crozier.

What subject does this 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 Features section.