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Panel - Tobit blinded by the swallows

Tobit blinded by the swallows

  • Object:


  • Place of origin:

    Alsace (probably in the workshop in Strasbourg, 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, lying asleep below a bird's nest. When he opens his eyes, droppings from a swallow will fall in and blind him.

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 Ling, a pupil of the stained glass master Christoph Murer. Murer had created a series of drawings illustrating the Book of Tobit. Ling 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 depicting Tobit blinded by the swallows, above two scenes inserted from other panels; Jacob and Labin's flock and Esther before Ahasuerus. Below a Dutch fragment with the inscription "BOKERS PRIORISSE". Slightly restored.

Place of Origin

Alsace (probably in the workshop in Strasbourg, made)


early 17th century (made)


Lingg, Lorenz (painter)

Materials and Techniques

Stained glass


Height: 13 in, Width: 8.5 in

Descriptive line

Panel of clear and coloured glass painted with enamels and silver stain. Depicting an event from the Book of Tobit (Tobit blinded by the swallows). French, Alsace, painted by Lorenz Lingg and probably produced in his workshop in Strasbourg, early 17th century.

Production Note

The original drawing is in the British Museum.

Subjects depicted

Column; Religions; Sheep; Dog; Shovel; Rake; Swallow; Sceptre; Pick; Throne


Stained Glass; Religion


Ceramics Collection

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