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Window - Prophet Ezekiel flanked by Saints John the Evangelist and James the Less
  • Prophet Ezekiel flanked by Saints John the Evangelist and James the Less
    Thomas of Oxford
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Prophet Ezekiel flanked by Saints John the Evangelist and James the Less

  • Object:

    Window

  • Place of origin:

    Oxfordshire (made)

  • Date:

    ca. 1393 (made)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Thomas of Oxford (Glazier)
    Thomas of Oxford (maker)

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Clear, coloured and flashed glass with painted details and silver staining.

  • Museum number:

    4237:1 to 9-1855

  • Gallery location:

    Medieval & Renaissance, Room 10, case WS, shelf EXP []

These stained glass panels were made in the workshop of Thomas of Oxford who was commissioned by William of Wykeham, Bishop of Winchester (1366-1404), to make decorated windows for his educational establishments of Winchester College, Winchester, and New College, Oxford. Thomas of Oxford was an important glazier at the end of the 14th century and on into the early years of the 15th century. He headed a stained glass workshop which was probably located in Oxford or just outside the city. A document dated 1393 discusses the contract for the Winchester windows and these panels date from that time.

These three panels were originally located in the side windows closest to the altar in the Chapel of Winchester College. The east window of this Chapel was filled with glass depicting the genealogy of Jesus Christ in the form of a 'Tree of Jesse'. The side windows contained images of saints, the twelve Apostles and Old Testament prophets. The figures here represent the Apostles St John the Evangelist and St James the Less and the Old Testament prophet Ezekiel.

Between 1821 and 1828, the Chapel windows were taken down to be restored by the firm of Betton and Evans of Shrewsbury. However, the firm decided to replace the originals with copies. The V&A’s panels are original and were purchased from the studio by the Rev. W.G. Rowland who intended to install them in St. Mary’s Shrewbury but instead sold them. In 1855, the museum bought them from the current owner.

This figure of the prophet Ezekiel stands on a pedestal base which bears the name of Sophonias. It is believed that during the restoration in the early 19th century, the section of glass bearing the name ‘Sophonias’ was mistakenly inserted into the base of the panel with the figure of Ezekiel.

Physical description

Window in 3 lights. The Prophet Ezekiel (centre) flanked by St. John the Evangelist (left), and St. James the Less (right), under canopies. The central panel figure stands on a pediment which bears the inscription 'Sophonias' (Zephaniah). However, this pediment originally belonged to another figure and was probably put under the figure of Ezekiel mistakenly during its removal in 1825 or while in the workshops of the firm Betton and Evans.

Place of Origin

Oxfordshire (made)

Date

ca. 1393 (made)

Artist/maker

Thomas of Oxford (Glazier)
Thomas of Oxford (maker)

Materials and Techniques

Clear, coloured and flashed glass with painted details and silver staining.

Marks and inscriptions

STS Johannus
Sanctus Johannus / Saint John

Sophonias

Scs Jacobus
St James

Dimensions

Height: 360.7 cm maximum, Width: 166.9 cm maximum

Object history note

These three window lights were originally located in the windows nearest the altar of the Chapel of Winchester College in Winchester.
The three figures were not next to one another. They were separate lights from a larger composition which consisted of the 12 Apostles and prophet figures.
In 1825 the window was removed by the firm Betton and Evans of Shrewsbury for restoration. However, the windows were not reinstated and instead the firm made copies which are still in the Chapel today. The Ezekiel, John the Evangelist and James the Less panels are original and were sold by Betton and Evans and came to the V&A (South Kensington Museum) in 1855.
Contemporary records indicate that the panels for these windows were brought from Oxford (from the workshop of Thomas the Glazier) to Winchester in 1393. There were repairs made to the windows in 1412/13.

Historical context note

William of Wykeham, Bishop of Winchester (1366-1404).
Winchester College, Winchester
(1380) Windows made for New College Oxford, founded by William of Wykeham
(1382) Founded by William of Wykeham (Bishop of Winchester, d.1404)
(1387-94) Building work
(1393) Windows delivered
By c.end 14th century or early 15th century the windows were completed.
(1393) Wykeham’s Household expenses records payments for carriage of glass from Esher to Oxford and also to Winchester for windows at the College for 9 days with 12 horses and 6 drivers (19s. 3d.).
Thomas the Glazier carried out the work
(1394) Thomas Glazier visiting Wykeham in London and was paid to take out and replace the glass in the chapel windows of Highclere House, Wykehams’s London residence.
(1395-6) Thomas working at Canterbury College, Oxford.
(1397-8) Worked in Adderbury Church, Oxon.
(1409-10) Worked on the windows of St. Mary’s Church [the same one as in Adderbury?]
Seems to have had a son, John, who carried on his work until 1456.
(1822-8) Glass removed by Sir John Betton and David Evans of Shrewsbury and replaced by copies.

New College Chapel, Oxford glass:
(1380) Foundation stone laid.
(1386) Formally took possession of the buildings – author assumes windows were completed by this time but no building accounts survive for this period
Chapel has a choir of 5 bays and is lit by 5 large windows on each side (no East window).
The 80 main lights contained figures of saints.
Ante-chapel the great West window contained a ‘Tree of Jesse’ and a ‘Doom’.
Two eastern windows: 12 Apostles, 4 representations of Crucified Christ with BVM and St John Evangelist, Old Testament prophets.

NO documentary proof but belief windows were done by Thomas Glazier of Oxford.
Info on Thomas:
(1351-2) Subscription of craftsmen for decoration of St. Stephen’s Chapel, Westminster included stained glass painters Nicholas and Thomas Dadyngton (father and son?) who are assumed to be from Deddington which is between Banbury and Oxford. Some people have tried to connect Thomas Dadyngton with Thomas Glazier of Oxford.
(August 1386) First mention of Thomas Glazier in the New College records – he dined in the Hall. This occurred a few times a year for ten years.
(1416-7) Thomas Glazier’s last recorded work with New College.
(1421-2) Thomas Glazier recorded as repairing the glass at Winchester College.
(1427-8) Thomas Glazier mentioned in a document as deceased.

Winchester glass:
Chapel East Window:
Tree of Jesse and saints beneath canopies

Descriptive line

Composite window, the Prophet Ezekiel flanked by Saints John and James the Less, England, probably ca. 1393, from Winchester College Chapel

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

Williamson, Paul. Medieval and Renaissance Stained Glass in the Victoria and Albert Museum. London, 2003. ISBN 1851774041
Woodforde, Christopher, The Stained Glass of New College, Oxford, Oxford University Press, 1951
Le Couteur, J.D., Ancient Glass in Winchester, Winchester, 1920
Powell, H.J., 'The Picture windows in New College Ante-Chapel', Burlington Magazine, VIII
Rackham, Bernard, 'The Glass of Winchester College Chapel', Journal of the British Society of Master Glass Painters, I, no.4
Rackham, Bernard, Guide to the Collections of Stained Glass in the Victoria anmd Albert Museum, 1936
Harvey, J.H. and G. King, 'Winchester College Stained Glass', Archaeologia, CIII (1971)
Harvey, John H., 'The Strange story of William of Wykenham's stained glass - the real and the copy', The Illustrated London News, April 1, 1950
Object Information File
Alexander, Jonathan, and Paul Binski (eds.), Age of Chivalry: Art in Plantagenet England 1200-1400, London: Weidenfeld and Nicholson, 1987.
Baker, Malcolm, and Brenda Richardson (eds.), A Grand Design: The Art of the Victoria and Albert Museum, London: V&A Publications, 1999.

Materials

Stained glass; Glass

Techniques

Painting; Silver staining

Subjects depicted

Architecture; Saints; Prophets

Categories

Stained Glass; Religion; Christianity

Collection

Ceramics Collection

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