Or are you looking for Search the Archives?

Please complete the form to email this item.

Birdman

  • Object:

    Panel

  • Place of origin:

    London (made)

  • Date:

    1993 (made)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Ruth Kersley Greisman (maker)

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Antique pot metal, flashed; painted and acid-etched tint glass; tack-soldered leads

  • Credit Line:

    On loan from Ruth Kersley Greisman

  • Museum number:

    LOAN:GREISMAN.1-2005

  • Gallery location:

    Sacred Silver & Stained Glass, Room 83, The Whiteley Galleries, case BAY4

The inspiration for this panel came from a 14th-century German Haggadah (the book used to accompany the Seder, the Passover meal), in which birds' heads were substituted for the heads of Jewish characters. This was not uncommon in Jewish ritual art, since the depiction of the human face contravenes the second of the Ten Commandments.

Physical description

A rectangular shaped stained glass panel. Antique pot metal, flashed and tint glass which has been painted and acid - etched. Narrow leads have been tack-soldered to the front of the panel in places. The image depicted is a human figure with a birds' head with a pronounced beak. The figure stands looking to the left.

Place of Origin

London (made)

Date

1993 (made)

Artist/maker

Ruth Kersley Greisman (maker)

Materials and Techniques

Antique pot metal, flashed; painted and acid-etched tint glass; tack-soldered leads

Dimensions

Height: 1380 mm, Width: 485 mm

Object history note

The Birdman panel is one of three.
Artist's statement about Birdman Panels, 1993
These autonomous panels were inspired by many cultures as well as Jewish culture. Birdman 1 & 11 also known as Burnt Faces' was suggested to me by a piece of driftwood I found washed up in Quebec, Canada. I brought this home and created the model for what was to become the first Birdman panel. In 'Birdman 1' I used wood and glass together, inspired by pyrography, a method of branding wood, I then made references to the life and death giving properties of Australian bush fires, to Roman funerary practices and the Egyptian practice of mummification. The head of Birdman 1 bears little resemblance to a real bird: it combines a helmut structure with the bird head of an Egyption god and is transformed into a faceless warrior behind a cage-like visor. Birdman 11, retained the same imagery but instead of using wood and pyrography, I sandblasted black flashed glass. The result is deeply etched three- dimentional effect which resembles stone carving and gives the impression of a negative photograph.
The original inspiration for 'Birdman 111' was a 14th century German Haggadah (book used to accompany the Seder, the Passover meal), where bird's heads were substituted for the heads of the Jewish characters. This was not uncommon in Jewish ritual art, since the depiction of the human face contravenes the 2nd commandment. The original illustrations for this Haggadah were very tiny and richly coloured with extraordinary attention to detail (an original copy can be found in the British Museum). By creating a monumental version of one of these images, the Birdman is transfomed and becomes both enigmatic and potent.

Descriptive line

Clear and coloured glass with painted details; entitled 'Birdman'. Made by Ruth Kersley Greisman. English (London), 1993.

Materials

Tint glass; Lead; Paint

Categories

Glass; Stained Glass; Judaism; British Galleries

Collection

Ceramics Collection

Large image request

Please confirm you are using these images within the following terms and conditions, by acknowledging each of the following key points:

Please let us know how you intend to use the images you will be downloading.