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  • Place of origin:

    England (made)

  • Date:

    ca. 1360 to 1500 (made)

  • Artist/Maker:


  • Materials and Techniques:

    Clear glass painted with brown and red pigment and silver (yellow) stain.

  • Credit Line:

    Given by Mr. Grosvenor Thomas

  • Museum number:


  • Gallery location:

    In Storage

The fragments of glass illustrated on this panel were for the most part made in England in the 15th century. They once formed part of the private collection of English medieval glass of Grosvenor Thomas who gave the fragments to the Victoria & Albert Museum in 1915. Subsequently, the museum framed them up in this panel for study purposes.

England had a rich tradition of stained glass in the Middle Ages but due to the political and religious upheavals of the 16th and 17th centuries, much survives only in a fragmentary state as you see here.

The fragment here depicts a pig wearing a bell collar and standing on a tiled floor. Although it is only part of what had been a larger image, we can be reasonably sure that it represents the attribute of St Anthony the Great. St Anthony was born in the middle of the third century in Egypt. He embraced the Christian faith and after some years retired to the desert to live the life of a hermit. He inspired many others with his faith and they came to the desert to follow his example. He is known as the founder of Christian monasticism for this reason although the form of monasticism which later dominated in the Christian west was that established by St Benedict in the 6th century.

A legend developed that St Anthony faced many torments sent by the devil during his sojourn in the desert. One of these torments came in the form of a wild pig that tried to attack him. The pig was tamed by St Anthony's prayers and eventually this animal became associated with the saint and is his attribute as depicted in medieval art. The followers of St Anthony raised pigs and tied bells around their necks to distinguish them from non 'Anthonite pigs'.

Other interesting fragments on this panel include a jousting helmet (Museum no. C.348-1915) and a bishop's mitre (Museum no. C.386-1915).

The majority of the fragments on this panel are painted on the reverse with silver stain which, when fired in the kiln, turns a yellow to orange colour. This technique of decorating window glass first developed around 1300. Many panels from the 14th and 15th centuries are decorated simply in yellow (silver) stain and highlighted with a brown/black pigment.

Physical description

Clear glass fragment depicting a pig with a bell around its neck standing on a tiled floor. The pig is painted with a brown pigment on the front and a red pigment on the back, as well as with silver stain.
The red pigment appears to be on the back of the glass only.
According to Linda Cannon, carnation pigment (the diluted form of sanguine transparent pigment) was first used towards the end of the 15th century. Sanguine was applied on front to highlight lips and cheeks and carnation on the back to give colour to the flesh areas - mainly only used between 16th and 18th centuries.

Place of Origin

England (made)


ca. 1360 to 1500 (made)



Materials and Techniques

Clear glass painted with brown and red pigment and silver (yellow) stain.

Object history note

Part of a collection of fragments given by the collector Grosvenor Thomas. Reframed on this panel by the museum after acquisition.

Descriptive line

Fragment from a composite panel of fragments made in England, primarily, in the 14th and 15th centuries. Fragment of clear glass painted with brown/black and a red pigment and silver (yellow) stain, depicting a pig with a bell around its neck. English, late 15thc.




Painting; Staining

Subjects depicted

Pig; Animal


Stained Glass; British Galleries


Ceramics Collection

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