September thumbnail 1
September thumbnail 2
Image of Gallery in South Kensington
On display at V&A South Kensington
Medieval & Renaissance, Room 10a, The Françoise and Georges Selz Gallery

September

Roundel
ca. 1480 (made)
Artist/Maker
Place Of Origin

This roundel is one of three acquired by the museum in 1931 (Museum nos.C.133-135-1931). Originally they would have formed part of a set of 12 roundels depicting the ‘Labours of the Months’. Another roundel from this set, depicting the month of January or February is now in the Burrell Collection in Glasgow. The original location of these roundels is unknown but they are believed to have come from the old parsonage at St Michael-at-Coslany in Norwich.

The depiction of the months and occupations associated with them appear early in the Medieval period on church facades and interiors. They also appear in illuminated manuscripts and start to become more common in stained glass in the 14th and, especially, the 15th century.

The occupations depicted in these ‘Labours of the Months’ are mostly agricultural and are thus intimately associated with the landed class and their agricultural labourers. These ‘Labours’ are found all throughout Europe and the occupations depicted are fairly standard but do vary in accordance with the local climate. Harvesting, for instance, began earlier in the year in Southern Europe. Feasting and drinking scenes, mostly aristocratic in form, appear in either December or January in all European countries as these months are traditionally associated with major festivals in the Church year and the slaughtering of animals for winter food.

Some of the ‘Labour of the Months’ stained glass roundels believed to have been painted in England share the same imagery. This imagery must have come from a common source, most likely from a series of woodblock engravings which may have circulated between the glazing workshops.

The figure of a young man wearing a short purple tunic and blue hose occupies the centre of the roundel. His hair is tied back with a white scarf. He is in the process of cutting grapes from the vines in a vineyard. Behind him, on the left of the roundel, is a wicker basket filled with bunches of grapes. On many roundels the particular month being illustrated is indicated by some text but not on this roundel. The wine harvest has long been associated with the month of September in 'Labours of the Months' and it is most likely that that is the month illustrated in this roundel.

Because of their small size roundels were within the means of a large number of consumers at the end of the medieval period. The majority of roundels that have survived, both in England and on the Continent, are executed simply in silver stain and brown-black pigment. These were the most affordable of this type of roundel. The roundel here incorporates coloured (pot-metal) glass which would therefore require more labour and skill in its construction. Also, the price of coloured glass (most likely imported from the continent) was higher than clear glass. These types of small stained glass panels are considered to be ‘deluxe roundels’.


object details
Categories
Object Type
Additional TitleThe Labours of the Months (popular title)
Materials and Techniques
Clear and coloured glass with painted details and yellow (silver) stain.
Brief Description
Roundel of clear and coloured glass with yellow (silver) stain and brown painted details. Depicting a young man cutting grapes off the vine and illustrating the month of September, from a series of the Labours of the Months. Made in England (Norwich), ca.1480.
Physical Description
The figure of a young man wearing a pot-metal purple short tunic and blue hose occupies the centre of the roundel. His hair is bound with a knotted cloth with flowing ends. In front of him are the growing vines. He holds a knife and is cutting a bunch of grapes from a vine. Behind him a wicker basket filled with bunches of grapes.
Dimensions
  • Diameter: 23.0cm
  • Sight height: 22.6cm
  • Sight width: 23.0cm
  • Display frame height: 27.6cm
  • Display frame width: 27.2cm
  • Display frame depth: 3.2cm
Measured for the Medieval and Renaissance Galleries
Gallery Label
Gothic Three roundels showing the Labours of the Months About 1480-1500 The roundels are a fine example of Norwich glass painting. Intended for a domestic glazing scheme, they follow the traditional practice of representing the months with an appropriate action. In winter a man warms his foot by the fire. In late summer he picks grapes. In autumn he sows seeds. Stained and painted glass Made in Norwich Formerly in the parsonage of the church at St. Michael-at-Coslany Norwich a) January or February Glasgow Museums: The Burrell Collection b) September V&A: C.133-1931 c) October V&A: C.134-1931 Cat. 160(2003)
Object history
C.133-140-1931

Group of roundels bought from Canon Lanchester, The Shrublands, ?, Norwich

31/6149



Believed to have come from the old parsonage at St Michael-at-Coslany, Norwich.

(1932) Note in Register: This roundel and Nos.134-140 came from the school of St. Michael's, Coslany, Norwich (information of Mr. John A. Knowles). Dr. Philip Nelson informed me (11 Feb.1932) that he had known these roundels many years and that he believed them to have come from St. Michael's Coslany Church. In his collection he has a quarry, also from East Anglia, with a similar rendering (without inscription) of the month of November (compare no. C.135-1931).
Historical context
This roundel is one of three acquired by the museum in 1931 (Museum nos.C.133-135-1931). Originally they would have formed part of a set of 12 roundels depicting the ‘Labours of the Months’. Another roundel from this set, depicting the month of January or February is now in the Burrell Collection in Glasgow. The original location of these roundels is unknown but they are believed to have come from the old parsonage at St Michael-at-Coslany in Norwich.



The depiction of the months and occupations associated with them appear early in the Medieval period on church facades and interiors. They also appear in illuminated manuscripts and start to become more common in stained glass in the 14th and, especially, the 15th century.



The occupations depicted in these ‘Labours of the Months’ are mostly agricultural and are thus intimately associated with the landed class and their agricultural labourers. These ‘Labours’ are found all throughout Europe and the occupations depicted are fairly standard but do vary in accordance with the local climate. Harvesting, for instance, began earlier in the year in Southern Europe. Feasting and drinking scenes, mostly aristocratic in form, appear in either December or January in all European countries as these months are traditionally associated with major festivals in the Church year and the slaughtering of animals for winter food.



Some of the ‘Labour of the Months’ stained glass roundels believed to have been painted in England share the same imagery. This imagery must have come from a common source, most likely from a series of woodblock engravings which may have circulated between the glazing workshops.



The figure of a young man wearing a short purple tunic and blue hose occupies the centre of the roundel. His hair is tied back with a white scarf. He is in the process of cutting grapes from the vines in a vineyard. Behind him, on the left of the roundel, is a wicker basket filled with bunches of grapes. On many roundels the particular month being illustrated is indicated by some text but not on this roundel. The wine harvest has long been associated with the month of September in 'Labours of the Months' and it is most likely that that is the month illustrated in this roundel.



Because of their small size roundels were within the means of a large number of consumers at the end of the medieval period. The majority of roundels that have survived, both in England and on the Continent, are executed simply in silver stain and brown-black pigment. These were the most affordable of this type of roundel. The roundel here incorporates coloured (pot-metal) glass which would therefore require more labour and skill in its construction. Also, the price of coloured glass (most likely imported from the continent) was higher than clear glass. These types of small stained glass panels are considered to be ‘deluxe roundels’.
Production
Formerly in the parsonage of the church at St. Michael-at-Coslany
Subjects depicted
Summary
This roundel is one of three acquired by the museum in 1931 (Museum nos.C.133-135-1931). Originally they would have formed part of a set of 12 roundels depicting the ‘Labours of the Months’. Another roundel from this set, depicting the month of January or February is now in the Burrell Collection in Glasgow. The original location of these roundels is unknown but they are believed to have come from the old parsonage at St Michael-at-Coslany in Norwich.



The depiction of the months and occupations associated with them appear early in the Medieval period on church facades and interiors. They also appear in illuminated manuscripts and start to become more common in stained glass in the 14th and, especially, the 15th century.



The occupations depicted in these ‘Labours of the Months’ are mostly agricultural and are thus intimately associated with the landed class and their agricultural labourers. These ‘Labours’ are found all throughout Europe and the occupations depicted are fairly standard but do vary in accordance with the local climate. Harvesting, for instance, began earlier in the year in Southern Europe. Feasting and drinking scenes, mostly aristocratic in form, appear in either December or January in all European countries as these months are traditionally associated with major festivals in the Church year and the slaughtering of animals for winter food.



Some of the ‘Labour of the Months’ stained glass roundels believed to have been painted in England share the same imagery. This imagery must have come from a common source, most likely from a series of woodblock engravings which may have circulated between the glazing workshops.



The figure of a young man wearing a short purple tunic and blue hose occupies the centre of the roundel. His hair is tied back with a white scarf. He is in the process of cutting grapes from the vines in a vineyard. Behind him, on the left of the roundel, is a wicker basket filled with bunches of grapes. On many roundels the particular month being illustrated is indicated by some text but not on this roundel. The wine harvest has long been associated with the month of September in 'Labours of the Months' and it is most likely that that is the month illustrated in this roundel.



Because of their small size roundels were within the means of a large number of consumers at the end of the medieval period. The majority of roundels that have survived, both in England and on the Continent, are executed simply in silver stain and brown-black pigment. These were the most affordable of this type of roundel. The roundel here incorporates coloured (pot-metal) glass which would therefore require more labour and skill in its construction. Also, the price of coloured glass (most likely imported from the continent) was higher than clear glass. These types of small stained glass panels are considered to be ‘deluxe roundels’.
Associated Objects
Bibliographic References
  • Kerry Ayre, Medieval English Figurative Roundels, (CVMA), Summary Catalogue 6, British Academy 2002
  • The Burrell Collection, HarperCollins, reprinted 2001
  • E.A. Kent, 'The Seasons in Domestic Glass', Journal of the British Society of Master Glass Painters, iv, 3 (1933-4), pp.19-24
  • G.A.King, drawings (box/folder/drawing) 2/2/23 [C.135-1931], 2/2/24 [C.133-1931], 2/2/25 [C.134-1931]
  • P.Lasco and N.J. Morgan, Medieval Art in East Anglia 1300-1520, Norwich, 1973
  • R. Marks, Stained Glass in England during the Middle Ages, London, 1993
  • Bernard Rackham, A Guide to the Collection of Stained Glass, Victoria & Albert Museum, 1936
  • Paul Williamson, Medieval and Renaissance Stained Glass in the Victoria & Albert Museum, V&A, 2003
  • C.J.W. Winter, A Selection of Illustrations of Norfolk and Norwich Antiquities, 2 vols., Norwich, 1885-88, 1887-88
  • C.Woodforde, The Norwich School of Glass-Painting in the Fifteenth Century, London, 1950
  • Herbert Read, 'The Labours of the Months: A series of stained glass roundels', Burlington Magazine, vol.43, no.247 (Oct.1923), pp.166-8
  • Glass, or Glass-making as a creative art through the ages, Leeds : Temple Newsam House, 1961185
  • Marks, R & Williamson, P. (Eds.), Gothic. Art for England 1400-1547, London, V&A, 2003
Collection
Accession Number
C.133-1931

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record createdMay 5, 1998
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