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Panel - Tobit buying the dead

Tobit buying the dead

  • Object:


  • Place of origin:

    Alsace (made)
    Ulm (possibly, made)

  • Date:

    early 17th century (made)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Lingg, Lorenz (painter)

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Stained glass

  • Credit Line:

    Purchased with funds from the Murray Bequest

  • Museum number:


  • Gallery location:

    In Storage

This is one of ten panels in the Museum's collection (C.560 to 569-1921) that depict events from the Old Testament story of Tobias and the Angel.

This panel depicts Tobit, Tobias’s father, providing a proper burial for a dead man, a fellow Jew. The Jewish community had been forbidden to bury their dead and Tobit was in breach of the law in doing this.

The panel illustrates one of the new techniques for decorating glass that were introduced in the mid 16th century. Glass painters used paints known as 'enamels' to paint directly onto the glass, similar to painting onto a canvas. The colours were produced by adding metallic oxides to a ground glass (frit) mixture. The resulting wide colour range included the delicate pinks, yellows, greens, reds and purples shown here.

The panels were painted by Lorenz Lingg, a pupil of the stained glass master Christoph Murer. Murer had created a series of drawings illustrating the Book of Tobit. Lingg made his own copies of these drawings and then produced this set of painted glass panels from them.

The inscription at the bottom of the panel refers to a man who was a member of a civic court. The date in the inscription most likely refers to the date of his membership. These ten panels were commissioned by a group of court officials, probably to commemorate a special event. It is known that Ling was working in Strasbourg and it is quite likely that these panels were originally displayed in a courtroom in Strasbourg itself or in the neighbouring Alsace region.

Physical description

Panel of painted glass. Above the inscription is the text:
Tobias is Gastfreij ohn Seher...und auss Mittleij deutlichem h...Begrabt Er ein Todten als...und furcht Gott mer als mesche gw.... Below is a shield with an inscription:
H.Billg Hoffman zum Schoffel erwelt . AN - 1587".

Place of Origin

Alsace (made)
Ulm (possibly, made)


early 17th century (made)


Lingg, Lorenz (painter)

Materials and Techniques

Stained glass


Height: 13 in, Width: 8.5 in

Object history note

Formerly at Barningham Hall, near Cromer.

Historical context note

17 March 2009 Information obtained from Ariane Mensger, Kunsthalle, Karlsruhe:
The panels of the Tobit cycle seem not to be painted by Christoph Murer but by his pupil Lorenz Ling. Although technically brilliant, they seem to be a bit less skilfull and elaborate than the panels done by Murer. But they show grea similarities to stained glass paintings attributed to Lorenz Ling. The V&A stained glass panels correspond to a series of designs in the Staatliche Kunsthalle Karlsruhe...drawn 1606 by Lorenz Ling. These designs are copies after Murer which survived... (correspondance in CER department Object Information file).

Descriptive line

Panel of clear and coloured glass painted with enamels and silver stain. Depicting an event from the Book of Tobit (Tobit burying the dead). Swiss, painted by Lorenz Lingg, early 17th century

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

Book of Tobit

Production Note

Designed by Murer but probably executed in South Germany, perhaps Ulm.

Subjects depicted

Fleur de lys; Cherub; Pick; Shovel; Religions; Bird; Death; Column; Corpse; Woman


Stained Glass; Religion; Death


Ceramics Collection

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