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Panel - Adelheid, wife of Arnold von Loe, and Saint James the Less
  • Adelheid, wife of Arnold von Loe, and Saint James the Less
    Rensig, Everhard
  • Enlarge image

Adelheid, wife of Arnold von Loe, and Saint James the Less

  • Object:

    Panel

  • Place of origin:

    Lower Rhine (Germany) (made)

  • Date:

    1519 (made)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Rensig, Everhard (maker)

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Clear and coloured glass with painted details and yellow (silver) stain

  • Credit Line:

    Given by Mr E. E. Cook

  • Museum number:

    C.241-1928

  • Gallery location:

    Sculpture 1300-1600, Room 26, case WE

This panel is one of many in the V&A that comes from the cloisters at Mariawald. These panels come from ten windows on the west and north sides of the cloister, plus one from the north end of the eastern part. The glazing of these cloisters began about 1510 and seem to have been completed in the 1530s.

Mariawald was a Cistercian abbey founded in 1480. The Cistercians were a monastic order established in 1098 in Burgundy at Citeaux. The founder of the Cistercians had broken away from the Benedictines which had been the first monastic order to be established in Europe, in the 6th century.

During the Revolutionary struggles in France and the subsequent religious upheavals under Napoleon, many monastic institutions on the continent were 'secularised' and their buildings destroyed. The abbey of Mariawald was closed down in 1802 but fortunately its buildings, including the cloisters, remain largely intact. However, the stained glass windows had been removed and it is believed that they were purchased by John Christopher Hampp of Norwich. Hampp sold the Mariawald panels to various churches and to private collectors. Many of these were purchased by the collector, Lord Brownlow who had them installed in his new chapel at Ashridge Park in Hertfordshire between 1811 and 1831.

In 1928 the contents of Ashridge Park were sold at auction and a private collector purchased the stained glass and gave it to the Victoria & Albert Museum.

W are able to reconstruct how the panels were placed in the cloister windows. Each window was composed of two openings ('lights'). Each light was composed of three large panels, plus one small tracery panel. So there would have been eight panels to each window.

From the surviving stained glass panels we can determine the theme of the cloister glazing. Each window had two panels depicting scenes from the Old Testament and two panels with scenes from the New Testament. Above the biblical story panels, were two smaller prophet (or 'messenger') panels. These contained half-images of Old Testament prophets holding scrolls with text relating to biblical passages connected with the scenes below. At the base of each window were donor and patron saint panels. These donors were the ones who contributed to the financing of the cloister glazing.

This type of narrative arrangement is known as 'typological'. Each Old Testament story was a 'type' or a prefigurement of a New Testament story ('antitype'). The prophets on each window would hold text from the Bible relating to the Old and New Testament stories. For example, the Old Testament story of the 'Sacrifice of Isaac by Abraham' was seen as a prefigurement of the New Testament story of 'Jesus Christ's Sacrifice on the Cross'.

The donor in this panel is Adelheid who was the wife of Arnold von Loe. We can identify her from the inscription which runs along the banderole at the top of the curtain behind her. Adelheid and her husband would have contributed to the costs of one of the cloister windows.

The typological arrangement was popular in the Middle Ages. The stories were reproduced in manuscripts and in engravings from woodcuts and collectively became known as 'Biblia Pauperum' ('Bibles of the Poor'). At the end of the 15th century the Biblia Pauperum were printed in book form and sold in their thousands. These books were used as design sources for artworks including stained glass panels.

Physical description

Adhelheid kneels in the left foreground, her hands clapsed in prayer. She wears a blue gown with a black collar and a white headress that covers her head, indicating her married status. Standing behind her and gesturing with his right hand is St James the Less. He holds a long hatter’s bow. James wears a blue gown with a white overmantel with yellow trim. The scene is enclosed in an Renaissance-style arcaded structure. Behind the figures is a red damasked cloth with a gold-coloured banner on top and text relating to the donor. In the background is a landscape painted in brown and silver stain on light blue glass.

Place of Origin

Lower Rhine (Germany) (made)

Date

1519 (made)

Artist/maker

Rensig, Everhard (maker)

Materials and Techniques

Clear and coloured glass with painted details and yellow (silver) stain

Marks and inscriptions

"AELHEYD zu HUESFRU Ao 1519"
Adelheid his housewife in the year 1519

Dimensions

Height: 73.2 cm in display frame, Width: 68.7 cm framed, Weight: 9.8 kg in metal frame with perspex backing, Depth: 3.2 cm framed, Height: 69.5 cm sight, Width: 64.8 cm sight

Object history note

In the cloister of Mariawald until about 1802.
From about 1811 until 1928 it was installed in the Chapel at Ashridge Park, Hertfordshire.
(12 July 1928) Sold at Sotheby's.
The glazing of the Mariawald cloister, confined to ten windows on the west and north sides and one at the north end of the east walk, and made up entirely of two-light windows, seems to have started at the beginning of the second decade of the 16th century and probably continued until the early 1530s. From the surviving panels and the existing windows it can be seen that the programme was made up of paired Old and New Testament scenes arranged typologically one above the other (New Testament at the second level, Old Testament in the third), as in the Biblia Pauperum, with donor panels placed on the lowest level. A prophet with a scroll occupied the cusped head of each light.

Based upon the writings of Conrad and Kurthen, this panel was identified as depicting Adelheid, the wife of Arnold von Loe.

Historical significance: V&A has two other panels with a similar pair of donors (C.291 and 318-1928).

Historical context note

Mariawald was a Cistercian abbey founded in 1480. The Cistercians were a monastic order established in 1098 in Burgundy at Citeaux. The founder of the Cistercians had broken away from the Benedictines which had been the first monastic order to be established in Europe, in the 6th century.

During the Revolutionary struggles in France and the subsequent religious upheavals under Napoleon, many monastic institutions on the continent were 'secularised' and their buildings destroyed. The abbey of Mariawald was closed down in 1802 but fortunately its buildings, including the cloisters, remain largely intact. However, the stained glass windows had been removed and it is believed that they were purchased by John Christopher Hampp of Norwich. Hampp sold the Mariawald panels to various churches and to private collectors. Many of these were purchased by the collector, Lord Brownlow who had them installed in his new chapel at Ashridge Park in Hertfordshire between 1811 and 1831.

In 1928 the contents of Ashridge Park were sold at auction and a private collector purchased the stained glass and gave it to the Victoria & Albert Museum.

This panel is one of many in the V&A that comes from the cloisters at Mariawald. These panels come from ten windows on the west and north sides of the cloister, plus one from the north end of the eastern part. The glazing of these cloisters began about 1510 and seem to have been completed in the 1530s.

As the cloisters were never dismantled we can reconstruct how the panels were placed in the architectural structure. The window openings in the cloisters were each composed of two openings ('lights'). Each light was composed of three large panels, plus one small tracery panel. So there would have been eight panels to each window.

From the surviving stained glass panels we can determine the theme of the cloister glazing. Each window had two panels depicting scenes from the Old Testament and two panels with scenes from the New Testament. Above the biblical story panels, were two smaller prophet (or 'messenger') panels. These contained half-images of Old Testament prophets holding scrolls with text relating to biblical passages connected with the scenes below. At the base of each window were donor and patron saint panels. These donors were the ones who contributed to the financing of the cloister glazing.

This type of narrative arrangement is known as 'typological'. Each Old Testament story was a 'type' or a prefigurement of a New Testament story ('antitype'). For example, the Old Testament story of 'Elisha greeted by the Sons of the Prophet' was a prefigurement of the New Testament 'Entry of Christ into Jerusalem' which occurred on what we now call 'Palm Sunday'.

The typological arrangement was popular in the Middle Ages. The stories were reproduced in manuscripts and in engravings from woodcuts and collectively became known as 'Biblia Pauperum' ('Bibles of the Poor'). At the end of the 15th century the Biblia Pauperum were printed in book form and sold in their thousands. These books were used as design sources for artworks including stained glass panels.

Descriptive line

Clear and coloured glass with painted details and yellow (silver) stain. Depicting the donor Adelheid and her patron saint James the Less. From the cloister of the Abbey of Mariawald. Made in Germany (Lower Rhine), dated 1519.

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

Williamson, Paul. Medieval and Renaissance Stained Glass in the Victoria and Albert Museum. London, 2003. ISBN 1851774041
R P Bedford, St James the Less; a Study in Christian Iconography, London, 1911
Rackham, Bernard, 'The Ashridge stained glass', Old Furniture, vol.5 (1928), pp.33-7
Wyatt, James, Description of the Stained Glass Panels at Ashridge Chapel, privately printed, 1906
Goerke, C., Das Zisterzienserkloster Mariawald, Mariawald, 1932
Clemen, Paul, Die Kunstdenkmaler der Rheinprovinz, Kreis Schleiden, XI, 2, Dusseldorf, 1932
Rackham, Bernard, 'The Mariawald-Ashridge Glass', Burlington Magazine, Nov. 1944, pp.266-73
Rackham, Bernard, 'The Mariawald-Ashridge Glass II', Burlington Magazine, April 1945, pp.90-4
Rackham, Bernard, 'The Ashridge Stained Glass', Journal of the British Archaeological Association, 3rd series, vol. X (1945-7), pp.1-22
Neuss, Wilhelm, ed., Die Glasmalereien aus dem Steinfelder Kreuzgang, Moenchengladbach, 1955
Wolff-Wintrich, Brigitte, 'Kolner Glasmaleriei sammlungen des 19. Jahrhunderts', in Lust und Verlust Kolner Sammler zwischen Trikolore und Preussenadler, Exhibition Catalogue (Kunsthalle Koln), Koln, 1995, pp.341-54
Kurthen, J., 'Die alten Kunstfenster', in Mariawald: Geschichte eines Klosters, Heimbach/Eifel, 1962
Conrad, M., 'Zur Geschichte der alten Glasgemalde aus dem Kreuzgang von Kloster Mariawald', Heimatkalender des Landkreises Schleiden, 1969, pp.95-102
Zakin, H., 'Mariawald:Cistercian Narrative', in Stained Glass as Monumental Painting (XIXth International Colloquium, CVMA, Krakow, 1998), Cracow, 2000, pp.273-80
Jakob Polius, 'Analecta sive collectanea antiquitatem', Duren, Stadtarchiv, A30, Hs. 2
James Wyatt, Description of the Stained Glass Panels at Ashridge Chapel, privately printed, 1906
MR James, Notes of Glass in Ashridge Chapel, Grantham, 1906
Hermann Schmitz, Die Glasgemalde des Koniglichen Kunstgewerbemuseums in Berlin, Berlin, 1913
E. Wackenroder, Die Kunstdenkmaker des Kreoses Schleiden, Dusseldorf, 1932
William Cole, 'A Hitherto Unrecorded Panel of Stained Glass from the Abbey of Mariawald', Journal of the British Society of Master Glass Painters, XVII (1981-2). pp.21-4
Avril Henry, ed., Biblia Pauperum, Scolar Press, 1987
H.Zakin, 'Mariawald: Cistercian Narrative', in Stained Glass as Monumental Painting, XIXth International Colloquium, CVMA, Krakow, 1998, Cracow, 2000, pp.273-80
Raguin and Zakin, Stained Glass before 1700, part 2, pp.127-9, 170-6

Production Note

From the cloister of the abbey at Mariawald.

Materials

Glass

Techniques

Painting; Pot metal; Silver staining

Subjects depicted

Columns; Patrons; Bow, hatter's; Landscapes (representations); Donor; Women; Reliefs; Halo

Categories

Stained Glass

Collection

Ceramics Collection

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