Panel thumbnail 1
Panel thumbnail 2
Image of Gallery in South Kensington
On display at V&A South Kensington
Sacred Silver & Stained Glass, Room 84, The Whiteley Galleries

Panel

ca. 1325 (made)
Artist/Maker
Place Of Origin

This panel is composed of clear diamond-shaped quarries. They are painted in black/brown pigment with an interconnecting pattern of stylised oak leaves on long stems. This type of simple decoration is known as ‘grisaille’. Each quarry has a thin border painted with a silver compound that, once fired in the kiln, produces a yellow/orange colour that sinks into the clear glass. This technique is known as ‘silver stain’ and is where the term ‘stained glass’ comes from.

The interconnecting leaves and stems, together with the yellow borders that join the quarries in a lattice-like structure, show that the glazier conceived of the window as a unified whole. This type of construction shows much sophistication. It indicates that this window, which survives only in part, was planned for a specific location, probably in a church.

Later in the medieval period, and especially after the Reformation in the 16th century, grisaille windows are often composed of quarries painted with single images that are not connected to one another. Such quarries were probably mass-produced and came from stocks in the glaziers’ workshops.

This panel has borders composed of ‘flashed’ red glass with insertions of clear glass painted with black/brown pigment and yellow stain. Medieval glass that is coloured all the way through when it is in a liquid state is known as ‘pot metal’. However, red pot metal glass is very dense, and not much light can pass through it. A technique known as ‘flashing’ developed at an early date in the glass industry. It involved coating clear glass with thin layers of coloured glass. This was very popular for producing a translucent red.

A great deal more light can pass through a window containing grisaille and flashed glass, which means that dark interiors can be illuminated much more efficiently.


object details
Categories
Object Type
Materials and Techniques
Clear and coloured glass with painted details and yellow (silver) stain
Brief Description
Clear and flashed glass with painted details and yellow (silver) stain. The upper portion of a cusped window. English, about 1325
Physical Description
Panel with cusped head. Grisaille. Trellis and oak stems.
Dimensions
  • Height: 84.1cm
  • Width: 52.5cm
Gallery Label
CUSPED HEAD OF A LIGHT WITH OAK GRISAILLE Oak stems, some with acorns, are intertwined with a trellis coloured in silver-yellow stain. The vine leaves and stems of the border are coloured in white and silver-yellow stain on a ruby background, and a circular boss with a quatrefoil of radiating vine leaves is set on a ruby background at the centre of the panel. It is not known where this head of a light comes from originally, but there are similarities with windows in Lincolnshire and Yorkshire. England, about 1325 Museum no. C.57-1910((PW) 2003)
Object history
It is not known where this window came from. However, there are similarities between this window and others at Algakirk and Heydour in Lincolnshire so it is possible that this window may come from that area.
Historical context
This panel is composed of clear diamond-shaped quarries painted in black/brown pigment with an interconnecting pattern of stylised oak leaves on long stems. This type of simple decoration is known as 'grisaille'. Each quarry has a thin border painted with a silver compound that, once fired in the kiln, produces a yellow/orange colour that sinks into the clear glass. This technique is known as 'silver stain' and is where we get the term 'stained glass' from.



The interconnecting leaves and stems together with the yellow borders which join the quarries in a lattice-like structure, show that the glazier conceived of the window as a unified whole. This type of construction shows much sophistication and indicates that this window, which only survives in part, was planned for a specific window in a building, probably a church.



Later in the medieval period and especially after the Reformation, grisaille windows are often composed of quarries painted with single images that are not connected to one another. Such quarries were probably mass-produced and came from stocks in the glaziers' workshops.



This panel has borders composed of 'flashed' red glass with insertions of clear glass painted with black/brown pigment and yellow stain. Medieval glass that is coloured all the way through when it is in a liquid state is known as 'potmetal'. However, glass coloured red all the way through is very dense and not much light passes through. A technique known as 'flashing' developed very early in the glass industry. This technique involves coating clear glass with a thin coat of coloured glass. This was very popular for producing a translucent red.



The whole effect of grisaille and flashed glass means that a great deal more light can pass through a window and so dark interiors can be illuminated much more efficiently.
Subjects depicted
Summary
This panel is composed of clear diamond-shaped quarries. They are painted in black/brown pigment with an interconnecting pattern of stylised oak leaves on long stems. This type of simple decoration is known as ‘grisaille’. Each quarry has a thin border painted with a silver compound that, once fired in the kiln, produces a yellow/orange colour that sinks into the clear glass. This technique is known as ‘silver stain’ and is where the term ‘stained glass’ comes from.



The interconnecting leaves and stems, together with the yellow borders that join the quarries in a lattice-like structure, show that the glazier conceived of the window as a unified whole. This type of construction shows much sophistication. It indicates that this window, which survives only in part, was planned for a specific location, probably in a church.



Later in the medieval period, and especially after the Reformation in the 16th century, grisaille windows are often composed of quarries painted with single images that are not connected to one another. Such quarries were probably mass-produced and came from stocks in the glaziers’ workshops.



This panel has borders composed of ‘flashed’ red glass with insertions of clear glass painted with black/brown pigment and yellow stain. Medieval glass that is coloured all the way through when it is in a liquid state is known as ‘pot metal’. However, red pot metal glass is very dense, and not much light can pass through it. A technique known as ‘flashing’ developed at an early date in the glass industry. It involved coating clear glass with thin layers of coloured glass. This was very popular for producing a translucent red.



A great deal more light can pass through a window containing grisaille and flashed glass, which means that dark interiors can be illuminated much more efficiently.
Bibliographic References
  • Williamson, Paul. Medieval and Renaissance Stained Glass in the Victoria and Albert Museum. London, 2003. ISBN 1851774041
  • P. Hebgin-Barnes, The Medieval Stained Glass of the County of Lincolnshire, CVMA Great Britain, Summary Catalogue 3, Oxford, 1996
Collection
Accession Number
C.57-1910

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record createdJanuary 13, 1998
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