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Saint Peter

  • Object:

    Panel

  • Place of origin:

    England (made)

  • Date:

    1400-50 (made)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Unknown

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Clear, coloured and flashed glass, painted and yellow stain

  • Museum number:

    C.335-1937

  • Gallery location:

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

This panel was originally located in the upper lights (openings) of a larger window. These are known as tracery lights.

St Peter was one of the Twelve Apostles, whom Christ appointed as his special disciples. Peter had pre-eminence among the disciples, because Christ chose him to be the foundation stone (Latin: petra) upon which he would build the Christian church. After Christ’s Resurrection and Ascension, the Apostles spread throughout the lands of the Roman empire preaching the new faith. Peter journeyed to Rome at least twice. There he was martyred during the reign of the Emperor Nero (AD 54–68). Millions visit his tomb in Rome in St Peter’s every year.

In this panel St Peter holds keys, which are his identifying symbol. In the Gospel of St Matthew Christ gave him the ‘keys to heaven’. Peter also bears a scroll with words written in Latin: ‘I believe in God the Father almighty’. This is the first line from the ‘Apostles’ Creed’, a statement of faith in the Christian church. A very early tradition states that the Twelve Apostles gathered together after the Ascension of Christ. The Holy Spirit inspired them to write the Apostles’ Creed, each contributing a line.

The Twelve Apostles often formed part of large decorative schemes in the Middle Ages. They are the backbone upon which the Christian faith spread throughout the world.

Physical description

Panel (tracery light with trefoil top). St. Peter, standing and holding keys and a book. Above, a scroll inscribed: CREDO IN DEUM PATER IN OMNIPOTEM. Blue, ruby, white and gold. Largely restored.

Place of Origin

England (made)

Date

1400-50 (made)

Artist/maker

Unknown

Materials and Techniques

Clear, coloured and flashed glass, painted and yellow stain

Marks and inscriptions

Credo in Deum patrem omnipotentem
I believe in God the Father almighty

Dimensions

Height: 50.7 cm sight, Width: 19.4 cm sight, Height: 61.0 cm wood frame, Width: 29.0 cm wood frame, Depth: 2.2 cm wood frame, Weight: 2.0 kg wood frame

Object history note

The panel was bought from the collection of Mr. F.E. Sidney in 1937. Sidney had collected stained glass panels and had them inserted into the windows of his house in Hampstead, London.

Historical context note

This panel was originally located in the upper lights (openings) of a larger window. These are known as tracery lights.

St Peter is one of the Twelve Apostles, appointed by Christ himself as his special disciples and given charge of the spreading of Christ's teachings after his death. Peter had preeminance amongst the disciples as he was chosen by Christ to be the foundation stone (petra) upon which the church was to be built. After the death of Christ and in accordance with his instructions, the Apostles spread throughout the lands of the Roman Empire preaching the emerging new faith. Peter journeyed to Rome at least twice and it was there that he was martyred during the first imperial-led persecution of the Christians, that of the Emperor Nero (54-68 AD). His tomb is visited by millions every year in St. Peter's Cathedral in Rome.

The saints of the Christian church can often be identified by a device which is known as their 'attribute'. In this panel St Peter holds keys. According to an account in the Gospel of St Matthew, Christ gave Peter the 'keys to heaven'.

St Peter bears a scroll on which are written the words, translated from Latin, 'I believe in Gof the Father almighty'. This is the first line from the 'Apostles' Creed'. This was and still is a statement of faith in the Christian Church. It begins 'I believe in God the Father almighty, maker of heaven and earth…'. A tradition dating back at least to the end of the 4th century, states that the 12 Apostles, gathered together after the death of Christ, were inspired by the Holy Spirit and wrote the Apostles Creed, each contributing a line.

The twelve apostles often formed part of a large decorative schemes in the Middle Ages. They are the backbone upon which the Christian faith was spread throughout the world.

Descriptive line

Panel of clear, coloured and flashed glass with painted details and yellow (silver) stain. Depicting the apostle St Peter. English, c.1400-50

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

Jacobus de Voragine, The Golden Legend, trans WG Ryan, Princeton University Press, 1993
Bernard Rackham, 'Stained Glass in the Collection of Mr. F.E. Sidney', Old Furniture, vols. VII-VIII (1929)
C.R. Councer, 'The Medieval Painted Glass of Mersham', Archaeologia Cantiana, vol.XLVIII (1938), pp.81-90
Curt f. Buhler, 'The Apostles and the Creed', Speculum, XVIII (1953), pp.335-339

Labels and date

SAINT JAMES THE LESS AND SAINT PETER

From tracery lights at the top of a window (together with Museum nos. C.336 and C.337-1937 alongside). Above both figures are scrolls with inscriptions from the Apostles' Creed: A[s]cendit ad celos sedet ad dexter dei ('He ascended into heaven to sit at the right hand of God') and Credo in Deum pater in omnipotentum ('I believe in God, the Father Almighty').

England, about 1400-50
Museum nos. C.334 and C.335-1937 [(PW) 2003]

Materials

Glass

Techniques

Flashing; Painting; Silver staining

Categories

Stained Glass; Religion; Christianity; British Galleries

Collection

Ceramics Collection

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