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Philip the Fair

  • Object:


  • Place of origin:

    Flanders (made)

  • Date:

    ca. 1496 (made)

  • Artist/Maker:


  • Materials and Techniques:

    Panel of clear and coloured glass with painted details and yellow (silver) stain.

  • Museum number:


  • Gallery location:

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

Until 1795, the two-light windows of the Chapel of the Holy Blood in Bruges in Belgium contained images of the Dukes of Burgundy and their consorts (wives). The sequence started with Philippe le Hardi, or Philip the Bold (ruled 1364–1404). The Habsburgs were also shown in the case of Maximilian, Holy Roman Emperor from 1493, who married into the Burgundian line. The figures were all identified by coats of arms displayed below them.

The stained glass was removed in 1795 and shortly afterwards sold to a British dealer. Some of it was later installed at Kilburn Grange, a private house in north-west London. This was demolished in 1910. The Museum acquired the present panels (inv. nos C.438 to 439, 441 to 443-1918) in 1918, together with other coats of arms and a late figure of Charles V.

The ducal figures in stained glass now in the Chapel of the Holy Blood were made in the years 1845-7. They were based on watercolours of the originals.

Physical description

Panel. Philip the Handsome, son of the Emperor Maximilian and Mary of Burgundy. Grosvenor Thomas collection.
The figure holds a white carnation in his right hand and in his left he holds a cap with an aigrette attached to it by a jeweled brooch. He is clad in a long doublet of purple, under a white gown, lined with pale green, and hanging to the ground, yet not covering the peaked toes of his crackowes. He wears a girdle with a tasselled gipiciere. The background curtain is ruby coloured.

Place of Origin

Flanders (made)


ca. 1496 (made)



Materials and Techniques

Panel of clear and coloured glass with painted details and yellow (silver) stain.


Height: 189.1 cm framed, Width: 89.7 cm framed, Height: 180.2 cm sight, Width: 80.9 cm sight

Object history note

The Chapel of the Holy Blood was completed in 1482. The archives of the Confraternity of the Holy Blood record several payments for glazing of this Chapel in 1483, 1496 and 1500. Unfortunately, the records do not specify for which glass or windows these payments were made.

In this Chapel there were 9 windows of two lights each. It is believed that 7 of the windows contained portraits and armorials of the first four Dukes of Burgundy and their wives (see list below), Mary of Burgundy and Maximilian of Hapsburg, Philip the Fair and Joanna of Aragon and, lastly, Charles the V and Isabella of Portugal.
Philip the Bold and Marguerite of Flanders
John the Fearless and Margaret of Bavaria
Philip the Good and Isabel of Portugal
Charles the Bold and Isabelle of Bourbon

In 1795 the revolutionary commissioners ordered the dismantling of the Chapel and the sale of the glass. The glass from the Chapel was sold by the municipality of Bruges to a local man for a miniscule sum who then sold them, at great profit, to an English man in the early 19th century. Drawings in the V&A, see David Thomas Powell reference, show that the glass from the Chapel (unknown if all of the glass) was in the possession of the London glass-painting firm of Watson and Bethell. Some of the glass drawn by Powell is not in the V&A's possession and their whereabouts today are not known.

In the 1802/3 account books of the Norwich glass-painter and dealer John Christoph Hampp, there are references to sums received from Watson and Bethell for purchase of imported stained glass. This could indicate their purchase of the Holy Blood glass.

The Holy Blood glass 'disappears' from the records until 1911 when it was purchased by Grosvenor Thomas, the art dealer. Thomas stated that he purchased the stained glass from a house in Kilburn, London, called 'The Grange'. The contents of this house were sold at auction in 1910 but the very detailed sale catalogue makes no reference to stained glass windows of any sort. The house was demolished in 1911. Thomas could have acquired the glass when the house was pulled down. A 1911 article by Aymer Vallance describes this glass as purchased from Kilburn Grange by Grosvenor Thomas.

Little is known of Kilburn Grange. It was built by January 1831 by Samuel Ware, architect to the Duke of Devonshire, who had designed the Burlington Arcade in Piccadilly. Ware built the house as a property speculation and seems never to have occupied it. He had a succession of tenants until 1843 when Thomas Peters, coachbuilder by royal appointment, took up permanent residency. When Ware died in 1867, Thomas Peters' son, John, bought the house outright. John died in 188? and his wife, Ada, inherited the house and contents. From the sale catalogue, it seems that the Peters family had an interest in historic furnishings. For instance, they had panelling said to have come from Christopher Wren's house in Camberwell. We can only assume that the contents, and the panelling, were the purchase and property of the Peters family and were not supplied by Samuel Ware or any of the previous, short-term, tenants.

A news report telegraphed from London to New York on 13 January 1913 states that this glass (11 panels as now in the possession of the V&A) were on their way by boat to New York. Grosvenor Thomas exhibited his stained glass collection at the Charles Gallery on Fifth Avenue in New York City. This glass was exhibited until the Autumn of 1918 when it travelled back to London and was purchased by the V&A.

Between 1845 and 1847, the Confraternity of the Holy Blood in Bruges commissioned a Malines glass painter, J.F. Pluys, to make replacement windows for the Chapel. It is believed that, in the absence of the original panels, he designed his windows based on 16th century watercolour drawings of the windows. These drawings are still in the possession of the Confraternity. Pluys seems to have interpreted the original scheme as being a dynastic display of the Burgundian Dukes and their Hapsburg 'successors' as he filled the last two windows with full-length portraits of Albert Archduke of Austria and and the Empress Maria Therese and her consort Francis I. These latter Hapsburgs may have had a special relationship with Bruges and the Confraternity.

J. F. Gailliard published a history of the Bruges Confraternity in 1846 and included coloured drawings of the windows.

Descriptive line

Panel of clear and coloured glass with painted details and yellow (silver) stain. Depicting Philip the Fair of Burgundy. Originally from the Chapel of the Holy Blood, Bruges. Made in Flanders, c.1496

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

Williamson, Paul. Medieval and Renaissance Stained Glass in the Victoria and Albert Museum. London, 2003. ISBN 1851774041
Bernard Rackham, The Stained Glass in the Chapel of the Holy Blood at Bruges, Actes du XIIe Congres International d'Histoire de l'Art, Bruxelles, 20-29 Septembre, 1930, pp.424-431
J. Gaillard, Recherches historiques sur las chapelle du Saint-Sang a Bruges, Bruges, 1846
Aymer Vallance, 'Some Flemish Painted Glass Panels', Burlington Magazine, XIX (July 1911)
The Grosvenor Thomas Collection of Ancient Stained Glass, catalogue, New York, 1913
David Thomas Powell (ac.1800-c.1837), copies (12) of stained glass from the Chapel of the Holy Blood, Bruges. Watercolours.
Barbara Butts and Lee Hendrix, Painting on Light: Drawings and Stained Glass in the Age of Durer and Holbein, J.Paul Getty Trust, 2000

Labels and date

Stained Glass Panels from the Chapel of the Holy Blood
Probably about 1496

These panels depict Maximilian of Hapsburg and his wife Mary, Duchess of Burgundy; along with their son Philip the Fair and his wife Joanna, heiress to the Kingdom of Spain.
The Chapel of the Holy Blood houses a reliquary containing the blood of Jesus Christ. It is probable that Maximilian commissioned these windows to honour his wife's devotion to the Holy Blood and to publicise his dynastic succession to the Dukes of Burgundy.

Flanders, Bruges
Clear and coloured glass with painted details and silver stain; with later restorations
Museum nos. C.438, 439, 441, 442-1918
Purchased from Grosvenor Thomas from the Capt. HB Murray Bequest [2008 (TAB)]

Production Note

From the Chapel of the Holy Blood, Bruges.




Painting; Silver staining; Pot metal

Subjects depicted

Men; Noblemen; Flowers; Windows; Leaded lights; Coats; Columns; Architecture; Hats


Stained Glass; Royalty


Ceramics Collection

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