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Panel

  • Place of origin:

    England (made)

  • Date:

    ca. 1220 to 1270 (made)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Unknown

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Clear, coloured and flashed glass with painted details

  • Credit Line:

    Given by Grosvenor Thomas

  • Museum number:

    C.278-1911

  • Gallery location:

    Sacred Silver & Stained Glass, Room 84, The Whiteley Galleries, case BAY2

This window is known as a composite window, which means that it was made up of various fragments of glass, the original setting of which is unknown.

‘Grisaille’ is a term used for panels of clear glass with simple decoration painted in brown/black pigment, and often also in silver (yellow) stain. Grisaille glass sometimes has a small portion of coloured glass in its design, as we see here.

At the time of the Reformation in the 16th century, the Bishop of Salisbury was a leading figure in the government’s reform of churches and their furnishings. It was at this time that most medieval figurative glass was removed from the cathedral and probably destroyed. However, plain glass, such as simple decorative grisaille glass, was allowed to remain.

We know that in the latter part of the 18th century a great deal of glass was removed from the windows in the nave and transepts of the cathedral and used to fill ditches in the city. The Chapter House windows, composed of grisaille glass and coats of arms, still remained intact. But by the mid 1800s even this glass had been taken down. Some of it was placed elsewhere in the cathedral, but some seems to have been stored in boxes in the crypt, the leads having been removed.

The collector Grosvenor Thomas recovered some of this stored grisaille glass and used it to make up windows. These ‘composite’ windows eventually ended up in museums in the United States and in the Victoria and Albert Museum.

In spite of these losses, some medieval glass still survives in the cathedral, although not in its original location.

Physical description

The panel is made up in the form of a lancet window of 'medallion' type, the design consisting of three circles (a blue between two red), with central medallions of various colours intersected by lozenge-shaped compartments in plain colourless glass; the interspaces are filled in with fragments of colourless glass painted with foliage.

Place of Origin

England (made)

Date

ca. 1220 to 1270 (made)

Artist/maker

Unknown

Materials and Techniques

Clear, coloured and flashed glass with painted details

Dimensions

Height: 107.5 cm framed, Width: 42 cm framed, Depth: 2.3 cm framed, Weight: 7.0 kg framed, Height: 101.5 cm sight, Width: 36.2 cm sight

Object history note

As far as we can determine, grisaille glass was used in various places in the church and the seven windows of the Chapter House were all composed of grisaille glass and coats of arms.

At the time of the Reformation in the 16th century, Salisbury Cathedral’s Bishop was a leading personage in the government’s reform of the churches and their furnishings. It was at this time that the majority of the medieval figurative glass was removed from the cathedral and probably destroyed. However, plain glass, such as the simple decorative grisaille glass, was not removed at that time.

In the latter part of the 18th century it was recorded that a great deal of glass was removed from the windows in the nave and transepts and was used to fill the ditches in the city. The Chapter House windows, composed of grisaille glass and coats of arms, still remained intact. But by the middle of the 19th century even this glass had been taken down. Some of it was relocated in the cathedral itself and some seems to have been stored in boxes in the crypt, the leads having been removed.

Some of this stored grisaille glass was recovered by the collector Grosvenor Thomas and he used this material to make up windows. These ‘composite’ windows eventually ended up in museums in the United States and in the V&A.

In spite of these depradations, some of the medieval glass still survives in the Cathedral, although not in their original locations.

The story of the glass in the Chapter House and in the church can be pieced together from archive information and also from visual evidence. J.M. Turner made watercolours of the Chapter House exterior in 1796-7. John Carter made drawings of the church glass in 1802. Thomas Willement and Charles Winston also made drawings of the surviving glass in the Church and in the Chapter House. Watercolours by Buckler (1810) and G. F. Sargent (1852) record the fate of the Chapter House glass.

Descriptive line

Composite panel composed of clear, coloured and flashed glass with painted details. Originally from Salisbury Cathedral. English, ca.1220-1270.

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

Sarah Brown, Salisbury Cathedral: Sumptuous and Richly Adorned , Royal Commission on the Historical Monuments of England, London, 1998
Laurence Keen and Thomas Cocke, eds., Medieval Art and Architecture at Salisbury Cathedral, The British Archaeological Association Conference Transactions XVII, 1996
Pamela Blum, 'Thirteenth-Century Glass of the Salisbury Chapter House', Gesta, 37, pp.142-149.
Spring, R.O.C., The Stained Glass of Salisbury Cathedral: 2nd Edition, Revised, The Friends of Salisbury Cathedral : Salisbury, 1979
J.M.J. Fletcher, "The Stained Glass in Salisbury Cathedral," Wiltshire Archaeological and Natural History Magazine, XLV (1930), pp.240-241
Charles Winston, "Painted Glass at Salisbury," Memoirs Illustrative of the History and Antiquities of Wiltshire and the City of Salisbury, London, 1851
Anonymous. "Our XIII Century Glass," Friends of Salisbury Cathedral, Annual Report, 1947
Richard Marks, Stained Glass in England during the Middle Ages, London, 1993, pp.141-3 and drawings
Baker, Stanley, "The Search for Salisbury Cathedral Medieval Glass", lecture given at Winchester, 15 July 1937

Labels and date

SMALL LANCET WINDOW

This largely grisaille panel was said at the time of acquisition to be made up of fragments of old stained glass which had been discarded in the crypt of Salisbury Cathedral. Other lancets made up at the same time are now in the Toledo Museum of Art, Ohio, U.S.A.

England (Salisbury), about 1220-70 and later
Museum no. C.278-1911; given by Grosvenor Thomas [(PW) 2003]

Production Note

The 13th century fragments have been put together into this lancet window and 'padded out' with later glass.

Materials

Glass

Techniques

Pot metal; Painting; Silver staining

Categories

Stained Glass; Religion; Christianity; British Galleries

Collection

Ceramics Collection

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