Herkenrode Lecture by Keith Barley

Fig. 1. The Risen Christ: Detail of one of the Lichfield windows.

Fig. 1. The Risen Christ: Detail of one of the Lichfield windows.

The well-known conservator, Keith Barley FMGP, will be speaking about Lichfield Cathedral’s magnificent sixteenth-century windows, formerly at the Cistercian abbey of Herkenrode, near Hasselt (Liége), in modern Belgium, at a special BSMGP lecture in London on March 9th.

Painted between 1532 and 1539, this glass was brought to England in 1802 after Napoleon had dissolved the monasteries and nunneries in his empire. It was purchased by the Cathedral to replace its own stained glass destroyed during the English Civil War.

Still remarkably complete, the windows are currently undergoing a major conservation campaign by Keith and his team at Barley Studios near York.

The talk will examine some of the techniques used in the painting of the windows and describe the challenges posed during the current conservation campaign.

For further details, including bookings for the Lecture, visit the website.

Further Reading

Vandem Bemden, Y., ‘The 16th-Century Stained Glass from the Former Abbey of Herkenrode in Lichfield Cathedral’, The Journal of Stained Glass, XXXII, 2008, pp. 49–90.

Vandem Bemden, Y., and Kerr, J. with a contribution from Opsomer, C., ‘The Sixteenth-Century Glass from Herkenrode Abbey (Belgium) in Lichfield Cathedral’, Archaeologia, CVIII, 1986, pp. 189–226.

Exhibition of Gouda Cartoons

Fig. 1. Left to right: Dr Zsuzsanna van Ruyven-Zeman, Queen Beatrice of the Netherlands, and Museum Director Dr Gerard de Kleijn, at the opening of the exhibition.

Fig. 1. Left to right: Dr Zsuzsanna van Ruyven-Zeman, Queen Beatrice of the Netherlands, and Museum Director Dr Gerard de Kleijn, at the opening of the exhibition.

A new exhibition about the sixteenth- and seventeenth- century cartoons for the famous stained glass windows of the Sint-Janskerk in Gouda (Netherlands) has opened at the city museum and will run until 9 April.
Called ‘Sketches of Beauty’ it shows some of the preparatory cartoons of the famous 72 windows of the church started in 1555 by the brothers Dirck (1510-1572) and Wouter Crabeth; a unique collection as nowhere else in the world have so many full sized cartoons for stained glass of this period been preserved.

Fig. 2. Detail of cartoon.

Fig. 2. Detail of cartoon.

An excellent book to accompany the exhibition has descriptions and illustrations of every drawing together with information about the draughtsmen who made them. The authors include Dr Zsuzsanna van Ruyven-Zeman, the President of the Dutch Committee of the Corpus Vitrearum.

For further information about the exhibition visit the website. 

Cartoons of the Sint-Janskerk in Gouda by Zsuzsanna Van Ruyven-Zeman,  Arjan R. De Koomen, Antonie L. H. Hage, and  Jan Piet Filedt Kok is published by Eburon Academic Publishers,  price € 39,95 (€ 44,95 from February 22, 2012). It has 320 pages, and 218 colour plates. Copies are available via Amazon.

Fig. 3. Cartoons of the Sint-Janskerk in Gouda.

Fig. 3. Cartoons of the Sint-Janskerk in Gouda.

For more information about the windows visit this website.

Splendour and Glory of the Middle Ages in Cologne

Fig. 1. Part of the exhibition with stained glass panels displayed.

Fig. 1. Part of the exhibition with stained glass panels displayed.

Magnificent stained glass windows are among 160 outstanding works of art on display in a spectacular new exhibition at the Schnütgen Museum in Cologne.  Unfortunately, GLANZ UND GRÖSSE DES MITTELALTERS will only run until February 26 so time is short to catch what has rightly been called a once in a lifetime chance to see these exhibits in a single place at a single time.

Fig. 2. Birth of Christ, c.1250 / 60, Cologne Cathedral, Dom, Köln, © Köln, Dombauarchiv

Fig. 2. Birth of Christ, c.1250 / 60, Cologne Cathedral, Dom, Köln, © Köln, Dombauarchiv

The glass includes loans of thirteenth-century windows from Cologne Cathedral and fifteenth-and sixteenth-century panels from the Metropolitan Museum in New York, the Detroit Institute of Arts and the Cleveland Museum of Art, the latter consisting of paintings attributed to Everhard Rensig or Gerhard Remsich dated to 1522 -1526 and made originally for the cloisters of Mariawald Abbey [Figs 1, 2 and 3].

The exhibits are complemented by two outstanding contributions on glass painting in the splendidly illustrated official catalogue of the exhibition. Ulrike Brinkmann’s chapter ‘Glasmalerei der vorgotischen und gotischen Zeit in Köln’ describes Romanesque and Gothic stained glass in the city while Dagmar Taube’s ‘Rheinische Glasmalerei in der Frühen neuzeit’ analyses the work of renaissance glass painters in the sixteenth-century. Other treasures on show in the exhibition include wooden and stone sculptures, manuscript paintings, panel paintings, goldsmithery and ivory carvings, fine textiles and armour.

Fig. 3. The Arrest of Christ from the Cloisters of Mariawald Abbey, (Everhard Rensig / Gerhard Remisch?), c. 1522-26

Fig. 3. The Arrest of Christ from the Cloisters of Mariawald Abbey, (Everhard Rensig / Gerhard Remisch?), c. 1522-26

One final point. The organisers deserve immense credit for staging such an exhibition at a time of unremitting economic gloom!
To find out more about the exhibition visit the website.
An English version is available.

Opening hours are:

 Tuesday to Sunday 10 am to 6 pm
Thursday 10 am to 8 pm
Closed on Mondays

Copies of the 540 page catalogue (German language only) are available at the exhibition at the discounted price of 39 € or around £ 38 from Amazon Books online.

New Study of Gothic Stained Glass at Reims Cathedral

The first major study of the important medieval glass at Reims Cathedral has been published. Written by the distinguished USA Corpus Vitrearum author, Professor Meredith Parsons Lillich, the book discusses the artists who made the windows, the theological functions of the glazing schemes, the relationship between the glass and the cathedral itself; the coronation church of the French monarchy.  A full review will appear in a future issue.

Readers of Vidimus can enjoy a special discount price of this widely admired 364 page book (100 colour, 158 b/w illustrations) book. Instead of the published price of £56.95, readers can purchase copies for £45.56 by using the special offer voucher below.

If there any problems with printing the form please write to

Gothic Grandeur: Manuscript Illumination, 1200–1350 at the Getty Museum

A stunning two-part exhibition of manuscript illuminations from 1200-1350 has opened at the Getty Museum in California (USA). Running until 13 May it draws on the Museum’s own collections to show a variety of illustrated books ranging from scholastic university treatises to romances.

Part I of the exhibition will last until February 26 when the pages of the displayed books will be turned to reveal a second tranche of treasures.

An illustrated checklist of the exhibits is available on-line here.
The exhibition includes the recently acquired Abbey Bible, an Italian illuminated manuscript that exemplifies the highest achievements of the Gothic era. The Bible is named after a previous owner, Major John Roland Abbey (1894 – 1969) who was a celebrated English collector of Italian manuscripts. It was bought for an undisclosed sum earlier this year from Ladislaus von Hoffmann’s Washington based Arcana Foundation.

Produced for the use of a Dominican monastery, the Abbey Bible is one of the earliest and finest in a distinguished group of north Italian bibles from the second half of the thirteenth and early fourteenth centuries, most of which have come to be associated with Bologna, one of the major centres for the production of Gothic illuminated bibles. Its illumination is a superb example of the Byzantine style of the eastern Mediterranean that played such a dominant role in Italian painting and manuscript illumination in the second half of the thirteenth century. The marginal vignettes of the Abbey Bible are remarkable for their liveliness and delicacy. Sensitively depicted facial expressions, rare among thirteenth-century bibles, reveal the artist to be a skilled storyteller, and the pages brim with incident and event.

Filled with drolleries, grotesques and dynamic pen flourishes, the Bible was nevertheless intended for serious use and study, as evidenced by the many edits, corrections, and amendments to the text, which suggest a university origin for the manuscript. The book appears to be made for a Dominican monastery and devout Dominicans and Franciscans feature prominently in its imagery.

As part of the exhibition event programme, the English stained glass scholar and manuscript expert, Professor Nigel Morgan, will speak on English Thirteen-Century Illustrated Apocalypses: Context and Readership at the GRI Lecture Hall, Getty Center, on Wednesday January 18, at 3 pm.

Medieval glass at Coventry Cathedral

A £1 million campaign has been launched by Coventry Cathedral to create a  display area for showing important fragments of medieval painted and stained glass. They will be shown in three underground crypts below the adjacent ruins of the former medieval church which was firebombed during WWII.

The plans were unveiled in December by cathedral officials and Dr Jonathan Foyle, of the World Monuments Fund, on the 71st anniversary of the Coventry Blitz.

In a 20-minute speech to an audience of 200 people at the new cathedral, Dr Foyle said that he wanted to “clean, study and present” the surviving work by medieval glazier, John Thornton, which was removed from the old cathedral at the start of the war and has been in storage ever since.

A full account of this glass appeared in Vidimus 33.

Congratulations to Alfred Fisher MBE

A veteran stained glass artist and conservator has been awarded an MBE (Member of the British Empire) in the New Years Honours list for his services to architectural stained glass.  Alf Fisher, who was also former stained glass advisor to English Heritage and the National Trust, trained at Whitefriars Studio before setting up Chapel Studios in 1972.

On-line journals: Peregrinations and Different Visions

The latest issue of Peregrinations, the Journal of Medieval Art and Architecture published by the International Society for the Study of Pilgrimage Art is now on-line here:

Feature articles include:

Introduction: Saints & Geography, Margaret Cormack

Saints of Medieval Hólar: A Statistical Survey of the Veneration of Saints in the Diocese, Margaret Cormack

Martyrs on the Move: The Spread of the Cults of Thomas of Canterbury and Peter of Verona, Donald S. Prudlo

Saints, Monks and Bishops: Cult and Authority in the Diocese of Wells (England) Before the Norman Conquest, Michael Costen

The latest issue of Different Visions: A Journal of New Perspectives on Medieval Art is now available here:

Articles include:

Fran Altvater, University of Hartford, ‘Barren Mother, Dutiful Wife, Church Triumphant: Representations of Hannah in I Kings Illuminations’.

Jennifer Borland, Oklahoma State University: ‘Audience and Spatial Experience in the Nuns’ Church at Clonmacnoise’.

Sherry C. M. Lindquist, Knox College, ‘Visual Meaning and Audience at the Chartreuse de Champmol: A Reply to Susie

Nash’s Reconsideration of Claus Sluter’s Well of Moses’.

Marian Bleeke, Cleveland State University, Book Review, ‘The Bayeux Tapestry: New Interpretations’.