Not currently on display at the V&A

Panel

14th century to 15th century (made)
Artist/Maker
Place of origin

Panel of 49 fragments of stained glass which were made in England in the 14th and 15th centuries. These fragments illustrate the rich tradition of stained glass in England in the Middle Ages. Much of the glass designed for religious settings was removed from its original location and dispersed. A great deal was destroyed in the religious conflicts during the period 1500-1700 and, like these, only survives in a fragmentary state.

One of the fragments here depicts a figure playing a musical instrument. Research into this area has indicated that the instruments portrayed were actual ones in use in the Middle Ages. Angels playing instruments often accompanied Last Judgement scenes. In the centre there is a head of a female saint with her head resting in her head. This could represent the Virgin Mary and may have formed part of a Crucifixion of Jesus Christ scene.

Collectors in the 18th and 19th centuries were very interested in English medieval glass and acquired fragments such as these. They then placed them in a new setting, along with other examples from their collections, and re-displayed them in their homes.

These fragments illustrate a variety of techniques of decorating glass. One technique illustrated here was 'silver staining' which was developed in the early 14th century. It consisted of painting a compound of silver on the back of, usually, clear glass which, after firing in a kiln, turned yellow and sank into the glass. Many panels from that period until 1500 are decorated simply in yellow (silver) stain and highlighted with a brown/black pigment. Depending on the quality and quantity used of the silver stain, the resulting colour ranges from a lemon-yellow to burnt-orange as shown here.

Other fragments in this panel are 'pot metal' glass which means that the glass is coloured all throughout rather than coloured by staining or painting on the surface. Often these pieces were covered with a thick matt black pigment which was then 'scratched' away to reveal a particular design.

Object details

Categories
Object type
Parts
This object consists of 49 parts.

  • Fragment, Glass Pane
  • Fragment
  • Fragment
  • Fragment
  • Fragment
  • Fragment
  • Fragment
  • Fragment
  • Fragment, Pane
  • Fragment
  • Fragment
  • Fragment
  • Fragment
  • Fragment
  • Fragment
  • Fragment
  • Fragment
  • Fragment
  • Fragment
  • Fragment
  • Fragment
  • Fragment
  • Fragment
  • Fragment
  • Fragment
  • Fragment
  • Fragment
  • Fragment
  • Fragment
  • Fragment
  • Fragment
  • Fragment
  • Fragment
  • Fragment
  • Fragment
  • Fragment
  • Fragment
  • Fragment
  • Fragment
  • Fragment
  • Fragment
  • Fragment
  • Fragment
  • Fragment
  • Fragment
  • Fragment
  • Fragment
  • Fragment
  • Fragment
Materials and techniques
Stained glass
Brief description
Panel composed of fragments from the tracery lights at Ashbridge Park, English, mainly 15th century
Physical description
49 stained glass fragments from tracery lights arranged in a panel
Dimensions
  • Height: 58.0cm
  • Unframed composite panel width: 41.2cm
unframed composite panel
Credit line
Given by E.E. Cook Esq.
Object history
Gift from an anonymous donor via the firm Gorden and Fox, 38 Bury Street, London, SW1 (1778/29). The anonoymous donor was E.E. Cook who gave the museum the German glass from the Ashridge Park sale in 1928. These fragments were found in a box and were given to the museum in 1929. They were described as 'eye pieces' (tracery lights) but had never been on display in the house. It is likely that Lord Brownlow collected them along with the Mariawald and Steinfeld glass from John Christoph Hamppf but it is just possible that they came from the old monastic buildings that were pulled down in the 1760s by an ancestor of Lord Brownlow.
Historical context
14 February 1929 Letter form F.W. Fox, 38 Bury Street to Maclagan:
Messrs Sotheby inform me that Messrs Kelly of 19 Earl Street, Finsbury, the stained glass people have some 16 eye pieces of the Ashridge Glass still in their possession. Why these were not delivered with the panels you already have I cannot divine....
15 February 1929 Memo from Rackham to Transit: Please arrnage to collect this glass. It can hardly be more than some very small pieces.
16 February 1929 Draft letter from Rackham to Fox:
Many thanks...We were not aware that there was any glass from Ashridge still outstanding and are arranging to collect the pieces you speak of from Messrs Kelly....
22 February 1929 Note from Rackham to Director:
These odd panels from Ashridge prove to consist chiefly of fragments of English glass of the 14th and 15th century. They can be sorted and remounted so as to be very valuable exhibits for study purposes. Mr. Reginald Bell to whom I mentioned them today tells me they were found in a box at Ashridge and never formed part of the windows there.
20 February 1929 Draft letter from Maclagan to Fox:
We have now had brought here from Messrs. Kelley...the small panels fo tracery glass from Ashridge which had not been included with the main colelciton. they prove to consist of fragment sof various date and origin , but mostly English glass of the 14th and 15th centuries...We should have some difficulty in exhibiting these small triangular panels just as they are...we should like to re-assemble the fragments as much as possible in accordance with their date, and exhibit them freshly leaded up to make rectangular panels in stands illuminated by electric light...I may say that as these panels have no original connection with there rest of the Ashridge glass, and are not even of the same nationality...
Production
from Ashbridge Park, Hertfordshire
Summary
Panel of 49 fragments of stained glass which were made in England in the 14th and 15th centuries. These fragments illustrate the rich tradition of stained glass in England in the Middle Ages. Much of the glass designed for religious settings was removed from its original location and dispersed. A great deal was destroyed in the religious conflicts during the period 1500-1700 and, like these, only survives in a fragmentary state.

One of the fragments here depicts a figure playing a musical instrument. Research into this area has indicated that the instruments portrayed were actual ones in use in the Middle Ages. Angels playing instruments often accompanied Last Judgement scenes. In the centre there is a head of a female saint with her head resting in her head. This could represent the Virgin Mary and may have formed part of a Crucifixion of Jesus Christ scene.

Collectors in the 18th and 19th centuries were very interested in English medieval glass and acquired fragments such as these. They then placed them in a new setting, along with other examples from their collections, and re-displayed them in their homes.

These fragments illustrate a variety of techniques of decorating glass. One technique illustrated here was 'silver staining' which was developed in the early 14th century. It consisted of painting a compound of silver on the back of, usually, clear glass which, after firing in a kiln, turned yellow and sank into the glass. Many panels from that period until 1500 are decorated simply in yellow (silver) stain and highlighted with a brown/black pigment. Depending on the quality and quantity used of the silver stain, the resulting colour ranges from a lemon-yellow to burnt-orange as shown here.

Other fragments in this panel are 'pot metal' glass which means that the glass is coloured all throughout rather than coloured by staining or painting on the surface. Often these pieces were covered with a thick matt black pigment which was then 'scratched' away to reveal a particular design.
Collection
Accession number
C.145:1 to 49-1929

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Record createdNovember 6, 2002
Record URL
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