Story of Sorgheloos

Roundel
c.1520 (made)
Story of Sorgheloos thumbnail 1
Image of Gallery in South Kensington
On display at V&A South Kensington
Sacred Silver & Stained Glass, Room 83, The Whiteley Galleries
Artist/Maker
Place Of Origin

The tale of Sorgheloos is a secular version of the Biblical story of the Prodigal Son (Luke 15: 11-32). This type of story stemmed from Morality plays, which were sponsored by the trade and professional guilds in towns throughout medieval Europe.

Although the Sorgheloos story was a popular one, few designs or roundels depicting it survive. There are several roundels in collections with the same images as the two in the Victoria & Albert Museum (Museum numbers: C.65 & 66-1929), but we do not know their design sources.

The story concerns a young man (Sorgheloos or 'Carefree' in English) who squanders his fortune on gambling, loose women and corrupt friends. When he becomes penniless, his friends desert him and he ends up destitute. So, unlike the parable related by St. Luke, the story of Sorgheloos does not have a happy ending.

The other characters in the story are Weelde (Luxury) - a woman; a male companion called Gemack (Ease/Comfort), another male character called Pouer (Poverty), Aermoede (Wordly Pleasure or Luxury) - a woman; and Lichte Fortune (Fickle Fortune).

In this roundel, Sorgheloos has lost all his fortune and most of his friends. He attempts to return home to his family and friends, but they reject him. He is carrying Aermoede on his back. A contemporary proverb says: 'He who cannot support luxury must have poverty'. A later woodcut illustrating this scene includes the figure of Pouer (Poverty) clinging on to Sorgheloos' back and weighing him down.


object details
Categories
Object Type
Materials and Techniques
Clear glass with painted details and yellow (silver) stain
Brief Description
Stained and painted glass roundel depicting an episode in the story of Sorgheloos ('Sorgheloos and Aermoede being Rebuffed'). Made in the Netherlands, c.1520.
Physical Description
Painted and stained glass roundel. On the left of the roundel, a man in tattered trousers and bare feet is carrying a woman on his back. On the right, three men dressed in luxurious clothes are discussing the scene. A woman pokes her head out from a door behind them. In the centre foreground there is a small dog and in the background an elaborate townscape can be seen.



The whole executed in brown/black pigment and silver stain and set in a border of blue glass with a painted inscription:



Joieie mij (? uit pouer sijent sijt ontrene de groeije min vriendt) hebb ghelaeye armoede...
Dimensions
  • Sight diameter: 29.6cm
  • With wood frame weight: 1.68kg
Marks and Inscriptions
Joieie mij (? uit pouer sijent sijt ontrene de groeije min vriendt) hebb ghelaeye armoede... (On border)
Gallery Label
TWO SCENES FROM THE STORY OF SORGHELOOS The cautionary tale of Sorgheloos ('Carefree' or 'Reckless') is a version of the parable of the Prodigal Son, illustrating the consequences of dissolute living. These roundels show the two final scenes of a larger cycle. In the first, Sorgheloos is shown carrying Aermoede ('Indigence') and being rejected by his former friends and relatives. In the second, the once-wealthy Sorgheloos' final fate is revealed: shivering before a feeble fire in a run-down hovel. North Netherlands, about 1520 Museum nos. C.65-1929 (Sorgheloos in Poverty), C.66-1929 (Sorgheloos and Aermoede)((PW) 2004)
Object history
Purchased from Wilfrid Drake from a sale at Sotheby's.
Historical context
The tale of Sorgheloos is a secular version of the Biblical story of the Prodigal Son (Luke 15: 11-32). This type of story will have stemmed from the Morality plays sponsored by the trade and professional guilds of the towns throughout Medieval Europe.



Although the Sorgheloos story was a popular one, not many designs or roundels depicting the story survive. There are several roundels in collections that have the same images as the two V&A ones (C.65 & 66-1929) but their design sources have not been identified.



The story concerns a young man (Sorgheloos or Carefree in English) who squanders his fortune on gambling, loose woman and corrupt friends. When he becomes penniless, his friends desert him and he ends up destitute. So, unlike the parable related by St. Luke, the story of Sorgheloos does not have a happy ending.



The characters in the story are Sorgheloos, Weelde (Luxury) - a woman, Gemack (Ease/Comfort), Pouer (Poverty), Aermoede (Wordly Pleasure or Luxury) - a woman, and Lichte Fortune (Fickle Fortune).



In this roundel, Sorgheloos has lost all his fortune and most of his friends. He is seen here attempting to return home to his family and friends but they reject him. He is carrying Aermoede on his back. A contemporary proverb says: 'He who cannot support luxury must have poverty'. A later woodcut illustrating this scene includes the figure of Pouer (Poverty) clinging on to Sorgheloos' back and weighing him down.
Production
North Lowlands
Subjects depicted
Summary
The tale of Sorgheloos is a secular version of the Biblical story of the Prodigal Son (Luke 15: 11-32). This type of story stemmed from Morality plays, which were sponsored by the trade and professional guilds in towns throughout medieval Europe.



Although the Sorgheloos story was a popular one, few designs or roundels depicting it survive. There are several roundels in collections with the same images as the two in the Victoria & Albert Museum (Museum numbers: C.65 & 66-1929), but we do not know their design sources.



The story concerns a young man (Sorgheloos or 'Carefree' in English) who squanders his fortune on gambling, loose women and corrupt friends. When he becomes penniless, his friends desert him and he ends up destitute. So, unlike the parable related by St. Luke, the story of Sorgheloos does not have a happy ending.



The other characters in the story are Weelde (Luxury) - a woman; a male companion called Gemack (Ease/Comfort), another male character called Pouer (Poverty), Aermoede (Wordly Pleasure or Luxury) - a woman; and Lichte Fortune (Fickle Fortune).



In this roundel, Sorgheloos has lost all his fortune and most of his friends. He attempts to return home to his family and friends, but they reject him. He is carrying Aermoede on his back. A contemporary proverb says: 'He who cannot support luxury must have poverty'. A later woodcut illustrating this scene includes the figure of Pouer (Poverty) clinging on to Sorgheloos' back and weighing him down.
Associated Object
Bibliographic References
  • Timothy Husband, "'Ick Sorgheloose…':A Silver-Stained Roundel in the Cloisters," Metropolitan Museum Journal 24, 1989, pp.173-88
  • P.J. de Jong, "Sorgheloos, een zestiende eeuwse rijmprentenreeks; tekst en commentaat", Spektator 7, 1977-78, pp.104-20
  • Herman Pleij, "Sorgheloos", in Het zal koud zijn in 't water als 't vriest. Zestiende-eeuwse parodieen op gedruckte jaarvoorspellingen, The Hague, 1980
  • William Cole, A Catalogue of Netherlandish and North European Roundels in Britain, Corpus Vitrearum Medii Aevi, Oxford University Press, 1993
Collection
Accession Number
C.66-1929

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record createdJune 15, 1999
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