Frank Martin (1961–2014)

Frank Martin

Frank Martin

It is with great sadness that we must report the death of Prof. Dr. Frank Martin, formerly head of the German CVMA (Potsdam). Our first feature this month is an appreciation from CVMA colleagues in Germany that details the wide range of his achievements.

Lost Tours Cathedral Window Appears ... and Disappears

Vidimus can report the tantalising glimpse, in a recent Sotheby’s catalogue, of a rare and important thirteenth-century window from Tours Cathedral. It appeared suddenly after a century of being thought lost, but was then withdrawn, at the owner’s request, from Sotheby’s 10 July sale in London of Old Master Sculpture & Works of Art.

Fig. 1. Cover of the auction catalogue.

Fig. 1. Cover of the auction catalogue.

The window formed the cover illustration of the auction catalogue [Fig. 1]. The auctioneers estimated the value of the window at between £60,000 and 80,000. It depicts Adam bathing Eve after the birth of Cain.

Before its appearance at Sotheby’s, the exact whereabouts of this beautiful and iconographically unusual window had been unknown since 1900, although it was widely suspected that it may have entered the USA sometime in the first half of the twentieth century.

According to the US scholar Linda Morey Papanicolaou, it was probably made for the Church of Saint-Julian near Tours around 1260, before being acquired by the cathedral chapter in 1810 as part of a campaign to replace glass in the ambulatory chapels that had been damaged or destroyed during the Revolution.

Together with other panels from the same Genesis series, the two demi-lunes that make up this window were subsequently removed between 1845 and 1863 by the father and son firm of Leopold Lobin, who had been employed to rearrange the cathedral glass. Thereafter most of the panels appear to have entered the collection of Lucien Léopold Lobin (d.1892) before his heirs sold them after his death.

Although some panels were returned to the cathedral in 1912, nothing was known about five others until 1935, when four were offered to The Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York by the Paris-based dealers Arnold Seligman, Rey and Co. Despite the interest they aroused they were rejected by the museum as fakes, prompting some people to speculate that they may have been copied from the still-extant original panels. In 1981, the rejected panels were discovered at Pomfret School in Pomfret (Connecticut) by Linda Morey Papanicolaou, who presciently concluded that the ‘original panels … may yet be found’.

Further Reading

Linda Morey Papanicolaou, ‘The Iconography of the Genesis Window of the Cathedral of Tours’, Gesta, 20 (1981), pp. 179–89

—, ‘The Other Tours Genesis Window’, Gesta, 37 (1998), pp. 225–31 [Essays on Stained Glass in Memory of Jane Hayward (1918–1994)]

Preprints Volume of the 27th International Colloquium of the Corpus Vitrearum, ‘Word and Image’, now available


Copies of the preprints volume for the 27th International Colloquium of the Corpus Vitrearum, ‘Word and Image’, held in York, 7–11 July 2014, are now available to purchase.  This beautifully produced book, which features large colour illustrations, contains abstracts of all the papers given at the colloquium (click here for a list of speakers and topics), as well as site visit notes for churches in and around York.

The volume is priced at £30, which includes postage and packaging.  Payment can be made by cheque or by bank transfer; to obtain your copy contact Brittany Scowcroft at

Star Turn at Fairford

Fig. 1. Micah from Window 18 depicting old Testament prophets holding the Prophets’ Creed, c. 1500-15, church of St Mary, Fairford.

Fig. 1. Micah from Window 18 depicting old Testament prophets holding the Prophets’ Creed, c. 1500-15, church of St Mary, Fairford.

An audio guide voiced by actors including Alan Rickman, Joanna Lumley and Bill Nighy has been produced for visitors to the world-famous church of St Mary at Fairford (Gloucestershire), home to the most complete set of late medieval painted windows in England (see links below).

The initiative was the brainchild of Nicolas Kent, the former artistic director of the Tricycle Theatre in London, who thought the windows needed an audio guide and started recruiting the voices. All the stars donated their time free of charge. The actor, theatre director and playwright Mark Rylance together with the ‘Absolutely Fabulous’ star Joanne Lumley provide the introduction, while the Channel Four news anchor, John Snow, narrates the history of the church.

Local people also participated in voicing the guide, including Geoff Hawkes, the chairman of the Friends of St Mary’s Church, and Maurice Jones, the Fairford town crier. Working from a script written by the late Denys Hodson CBE (1928–2013), who had overseen the restoration of the windows by the Barley Studios in York, each actor describes the history and imagery of a particular window.

The guide was funded by the Friends and is dedicated to the memory of Denys. According to Churchwarden Mike Godsal, the guide has proved an instant success with visitors. The actors and celebrities featured include

•    Alan Rickman
•    Anne Robinson
•    Bill Nighy
•    Celia Imrie
•    Frances de la Tour
•    Hayley Mills
•    Joanna Lumley
•    Jon Snow
•    Richard Wilson
•    Tim Piggott-Smith
•    Zoe Wanamaker

Further Reading

S. Brown and L. MacDonald, Fairford Parish Church: A Medieval Church and its Stained Glass, Stroud, 1997 (rev. edn 2007)

H. Wayment, The Stained Glass of the Church of St Mary, Fairford, Gloucestershire, The Society of Antiquaries of London Occasional Papers, new series, V, 1984

H. Wayment, ‘The Glaziers’ Sorting Marks at Fairford’, in P. Moore (ed.), Crown in Glory: A Celebration of Craftsmanship – Studies in Stained Glass, Norwich, 1982, pp. 23–28

The Fairford glazing is contextualized in terms of English medieval stained glass generally in R. Marks, Stained Glass in England During the Middle Ages, London, 1993.


Restoration of the windows

Vidimus 42

Denys Hodson obituary

Online at The Guardian website

Stained Glass Museum Conservation Blog

Fig. 1. Priest (1949), external view.

Fig. 1. Priest (1949), external view.

After a successful fundraising campaign, The Stained Glass Museum in Ely purchased four stained-glass panels by Geoffrey Clark RA in January 2014. These panels date from 1949 and c.1965 and require minor conservation before they go on display at the Stained Glass Museum.

The conservation – carried out by York Glaziers Trust – has commenced, and the Stained Glass Museum has launched a blog to document the progress. Readers can learn about the panels, the work and treatments carried out on them, and the plans for the their display on Through the Eyes of the Conservator.

For more information, please contact the museum on 01353 660347, or email the curator, Dr Jasmine Allen at

Stained Glass Centre Autumn Lecture

The Stained Glass Centre’s Autumn Lecture will be given by Helen Whittaker, Creative Director of Barley Studios, and is entitled ‘Old Craft, New Art: An Artistic Journey’.

Fig.1. Helen Whittaker

Fig.1. Helen Whittaker

Helen Whittaker has created many new stained-glass windows as well as conserving historic glass over the past 20 years of her career at Barley Studio.  In this lecture she will describe her inspirations, including context, narrative, geometry and movement, as well as the process of creating new art to commission using the traditional craft of stained glass, reflecting on the past while looking to the future.

The lecture will be held on Thursday 2nd October at the church of St Martin cum Gregory, Micklegate, York, at 7.30pm.  Doors open at 7pm and tickets are £6 (£5 concessions).

Keith New Celebrated in Cambridge

Keith New was one of a small number of British artists who made major contributions to stained glass in the decades immediately following the Second World War. He is best known as one of the three-man Royal College of Art team that designed and fabricated the 80-feet-high nave windows for the new Coventry Cathedral. He subsequently went on to design windows for more than two dozen other churches and cathedrals. He died in 2012, and two former colleagues from Kingston University, where he last taught, are working to re-establish his reputation in stained glass. Diana Coulter and Bob Smith are aiming to produce a definitive list of Keith New’s windows and panels, including details of location; who commissioned the work; the design and fabrication; and photographs of the glass. They aim to produce a publication of their work, and there is potential for an exhibition. A later phase of the research project may involve interviews with Keith’s collaborators and obtaining artistic judgments on the quality and importance of Keith’s work.

Fig. 1. East Window, Wesley Methodist Church, Cambridge

Fig. 1. East Window, Wesley Methodist Church, Cambridge

Fifty years ago, Wesley Methodist Church in Cambridge commissioned a vibrant modernist stained-glass east window designed by Keith New, and the church is celebrating the golden anniversary of its installation with an event on 19 October 2014. The church will be open for ‘Anniversary Sunday’ 10am – 6pm, and there will be morning and evening worship, as well as an open afternoon to view the window and a small display, together with tea and conversation (4pm – 6pm) with the artist’s two daughters, friends of the family, and stained-glass experts and historians.

For more information, contact Diana Coulter at and visit the blog documenting the project.