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Device and monogram of Anne de Montmorency

  • Object:

    Panel

  • Place of origin:

    Paris (possibly, made)
    Fontainebleau (possibly, made)

  • Date:

    ca. 1548-1550 (made)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Unknown

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Clear glass with painted details and yellow (silver) stain

  • Museum number:

    C.47-1982

  • Gallery location:

    Medieval & Renaissance, Room 62, The Foyle Foundation Gallery, case 15

This panel displays the badge and monogram of Anne de Montmorency (1493-1567) who was Constable of France under King Francois I and Henri II. It is believed that the panel was part of a large scheme of heraldic and figurative painted and stained glass he had commissioned for his Chateau at Ecouen which was built in the middle of the 16th century.

The sword in the centre of the panel was a emblem adopted by Montmorency because in his role of Constable he was permitted to carry an unsheathed sword before the king on ceremonial occasions.

Armorial shields begin to appear in church windows in the 13th century and in the 14th century they begin to be incorporated into the glazing schemes of aristocratic households.

A new range of decorative motifs starts to appear during the Renaissance. The armorial devices in this panel are surrounded by elaborate strapwork, grotesques, birds and cornucopiae. This style is associated with the court school of painters based at Fontainebleau.

Physical description

Rectangular panel of clear glass painted with a wreath in the centre enclosing a sword piercing the monogram AM. This is surrounded by a ferrorierie framework. At the top are two cornucopias flanking a grotesque figure. Below are two standing putti. Beneath them two female grotesques flanking three fanciful animal heads which surmount the central wreath, the lower part of which is in turn flanked by two eagles with outstretched wings. Two horned and winged satyr-like figures with grasshoppers crawling up them flank two cupids which in turn flank a central female grotesque figure. At the base there are two further birds with outstretched wings. There are touches of yellow stain and sanguine throughout.

Place of Origin

Paris (possibly, made)
Fontainebleau (possibly, made)

Date

ca. 1548-1550 (made)

Artist/maker

Unknown

Materials and Techniques

Clear glass with painted details and yellow (silver) stain

Dimensions

Height: 106.4 cm in display frame, Width: 70.6 cm in display frame, Depth: 3.2 cm in display frame, Height: 102.5 cm sight, Width: 66.3 cm sight, Weight: 17 kg

Object history note

Believed to have originally been in the Chateau of Ecouen and probably located in the eastern entrance wing which was demolished in 1787.

At the time of the French Revolution the panel was rescued by Alexandre Lenoir and displayed in the ‘Musée National des Monuments Francais’.

It was probably acquired from Lenoir or from his glass restorer, Tailleur, by J.C. Hampp, Norwich dealer.

At some point after the closure of the Musée National in 1814, it is probable that it was in the possession of William Beckford at Fonthill Abbey in England. If so, in 1823 it was one of ‘three large panels, very fine and curious, the arms and device of the Montmorency family’ included in the Fonthill Abbey sale, lot no.346.

In the 1840s Thomas Willement drew this panel when it was in Davington Priory in Kent. It was then in the possession of Mr. Gibbs who sold this panel shortly before he disposed of Davington Priory where he had lived for a number of years.

Historical context note

Anne de Montmorency (1493-1567) was appointed Constable of France by King Francois I in 1538. As Constable, Montemorency was entitled to carry a naked sword before the King on ceremonial occasions. He built the Chateau of Ecouen for his own use between about 1538 and the 1550s. It stands just outside Paris and was elaborately decorated by artists and craftsmen of the School of Fontainebleau. A prominent feature of the these decorations were the painted windows which were inserted over a number of years between about 1541 and 1559. None survive in their original setting but there are a number in existence, similar to the Museum's panel as well as a famous set showing the story of Cupid and Psyche, now in the Musée Condé, Chantilly. The glazing scheme at the chateau was quite extensive. The Cupid and Psyche windows were composed of 44 panels and where inserted into the structure of the west wing. A description of the chateau dating from 1678 describes the windows in the east wing as grisaille panels with grotesques. From this description it is thought that this panel came from the east wing windows.

The surviving panels from the Chateau indicate that a number of different painters were involved in their execution. They probably worked from cartoons supplied by the artists at the school of Fontainebleau.

There are other panels with the device of Montmorency: one in St. Mark's, Bristol (Lord Mayor's Chapel); one in the Museum of the Renaissance at the Chateau d'Écouen (formerly in the Cluny Museum), one in the parish church at Écouen and one known only from a 19th century illustration.

Descriptive line

Panel of clear glass with painted details and yellow (silver) stain. Depicting the emblem and initials of Anne de Montmorency. French, Paris or Fontainebleau, c.1550.

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

Archer, Michael. Montmorency's Sword. Burlington Magazine. May 1987. pp.298-303.
Perrot, F. Les Panneaux de Vitrerie héraldique du château d'Ecouen au Musée Condé. Le Museé Condé. No.3. October 1972. pp.11-20.
Williamson, Paul. Medieval and Renaissance Stained Glass in the Victoria and Albert Museum. London, 2003. ISBN 1851774041
J. Cornforth, Chateau d'Ecouen, Seine et Oise, part I, Country Life, 12 July 1984, pp.86-89
J. Cornforth, Chateau d'Ecouen, Seine et Oise, part II, Country Life, 19 July 1984, pp.164-7
C. Wainwright, Davington Priory, Kent, part I, Country Life, 9th December 1971, pp.1650-53
C. Wainwright, Davington Priory, Kent, part II, Country Life, 16th December 1971, pp.1716-19

Production Note

Attribution note: One of a number of similar panels from the same commission.

Materials

Glass

Techniques

Staining; Painting

Subjects depicted

Monogram; Cupid; Cornucopia; Satyr; Grasshopper; Sword; Bird; Putti; Grotesque; Devices (symbols); Eagle; Wreath

Categories

Stained Glass

Collection

Ceramics Collection

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