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June, and the Thirty-six Year Old

  • Object:


  • Place of origin:

    Netherlands (made)

  • Date:

    1475-1500 (made)

  • Artist/Maker:


  • Materials and Techniques:

    Clear glass with silver stain and painted details.

  • Museum number:


  • Gallery location:

    Medieval & Renaissance, Room 63, The Edwin and Susan Davies Gallery, case 6

The subject of this roundel has recently become clear. It is thought to represent one of the Ages of Man. At the same time it symbolises one of the 12 months of the year.

There is another roundel with the same subject in Brussels. Although this is of lesser quality, it still retains its border inscription. Translated, this reads, 'At the age of 36 one has to work for profits, as we typify the month [of June]'.

Originally, therefore, the roundel in the V&A must have belonged to a series of 12, marking each of the months and illustrating the Ages of Man at six-yearly intervals from the ages of 6 to 72. Like the Brussels roundels, it must once have had a border inscription. The relevant Sign of the Zodiac was probably added to it.

Physical description

A man in a short tunic with yellow trimming on the hem and on the sleeves and wearing white tights and yellow shoes is in the centre of the panel. He is bent over writing notes on a pad. His right leg rests on what appears to be a large square cushion with tassels on each of the corners but is actually a woolsack. In front of him is a large scale with a small sack on one of the balances and two weights on the other. On the shelves above and behind him are various containers, some ceramic. On another shelf, in front of him, are what appear to be sugar loaves. There is a piece of paper or parchment with text (illegible) pinned to the wall.
All executed in silver stain and brown pigment.

Place of Origin

Netherlands (made)


1475-1500 (made)



Materials and Techniques

Clear glass with silver stain and painted details.

Marks and inscriptions

Ten xxxvi Jaren zal men werken on proffijt zo wij de wedemaent mercken
At the age of 36 one has to work for profits, as we typify the month of June
This inscription surrounds the similar panel in the Musées Royaux d'Art et d'Histoire in Brussels.


Diameter: 21.3 cm sight, Height: 24.0 cm framed, Width: 23.8 cm framed, Depth: 3.2 cm framed, Weight: 1.3 kg framed

Object history note

Bought from the Chaffers sale at Christie's.

Historical context note

There are two other roundels from the same design in the Musées Royaux d'Art et d'Histoire, Brussels and in the Kikker Collection in Amsterdam.
The Ages of Man was a common theme in the Middle Ages. The ages of man were usually divided up into four in correspondance with the seasons or into seven relating to the phases of the moon.

Descriptive line

Painted stained glass roundel depicting one of the Ages of Man. Made in the Netherlands, c.1475 to 1500.

Bibliographic References (Citation, Note/Abstract, NAL no)

Williamson, Paul. Medieval and Renaissance Stained Glass in the Victoria and Albert Museum. London, 2003.
Timothy Husband, The Luminous Image, Metropolitan Museum of Art, NY, 1995
Bernard Rackham, Guide to Stained Glass, Victoria & Albert Museum, London, 1936
A.E. Popham, Apollo, vol. IX (1929)


Stained glass; Glass


Silver staining; Painting

Subjects depicted

Ages of Man; Scales; Woolsack; Bags (containers); Labours of the Month; Merchant


Stained Glass


Ceramics Collection

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