Saint Peter thumbnail 1
Image of Gallery in South Kensington
On display at V&A South Kensington
Medieval & Renaissance, Room 9, The Dorothy and Michael Hintze Gallery

Saint Peter

Panel
ca. 1280 (made)
Artist/Maker
Place Of Origin

This panel probably represents the Apostle St Peter. In the Middle Ages, images of saints depicted in glass, stone or wood, or painted on walls, could be identified by the attributes they carry. Jesus Christ gave St Peter the keys of heaven, so he is traditionally depicted holding keys. However, the clear, or white, glass used to make up the key in this panel is later in date, so we cannot be sure if the original glass depicted a key.

We can be sure that this figure was one of the Apostles because we know that it came from a band window in the clerestory (upper part of the main walls) of the north transept of Sées Cathedral in Normandy. There are still some stained-glass panels depicting Apostles there, and they are very similar in style to this one. Band windows are composed of panels of single figures sandwiched between areas of clear glass with painted details (grisaille glass).

Jean de Bernières, Bishop of Sées 1278–96, probably commissioned the windows. His image appears in a window lower down, in the north transept chapel.


object details
Categories
Object Type
Materials and Techniques
Clear, flashed and coloured glass with painted details
Brief Description
Clear, flashed and coloured glass with painted details depicting St. Peter. Originally from Seés Cathedral. French, c.1280.
Physical Description
Panel composed of clear, flashed and coloured glass with painted details, in two sections. Central image of an elongated, s-curved, figure of a tonsured and barefooted man representing St. Peter. He wears a long gown composed of yellow and red glass, over which is a long green cloak fixed centrally at the neck. He holds in his right hand a long key of clear glass (not original glass) and his left hand is raised in blessing. The background is composed of red flashed glass. The whole encased in a border of alternating green and yellow pot metal glass; the yellow painted with brown/black pigment depicting four-leaved stylised flowers and towered edifices - perhaps representing the cathedral. Outside this border is another border, modern, composed of clear glass.
Dimensions
  • Framed height: 120.7cm
  • Framed width: 53.8cm
  • Framed depth: 3.2cm
  • Framed weight: 13.68kg
  • Sight height: 119.6cm
  • Sight width: 52.5cm
Gallery Label
  • St. Peter This figure panel originally comes from a band window in the north transept clerestory of Sées Cathedral in Normandy. Band windows consist of strips or bands of figures interspersed with plainer grisaille glass. This simple arrangement is a stylistic innovation on earlier, denser, window schemes in which both whole scenes and single figures formed the theme. French (Normandy), c.1280 From Sées Cathedral Museum no. C.727-1909; purchased from Grosvenor Thomas((2004) TB)
  • St Peter The imagery of medieval stained glass was Not purely decorative. It was intended to convey a message. This panel depicts St Peter holding his special symbol, the keys to the kingdom of heaven. Jesus granted Peter these keys when he named him as the foundation stone (Latin 'petra') of the Christian Church. Later, Peter became the first pope. France (Normandy), about 1280 Clear, coloured and flashed glass, with paint From Sèes Cathedral Museum no. C.727-1909(2004 (PW))
Credit line
Purchase from Grosvenor Thomas
Object history
Bishop Jean de Bernieres (1278-1296) commissioned stained glass for the north transept. An image of the bishop still exists in glass in the north transept chapel. The style of painting and the construction method of these panels, including the V&A St Peter, indicate they were made in the same workshop.



The panel was originally located in the 2nd bay clerestory window of the north transept.



Glass repairs were made at Seés in 1817-18, 1827 and 1837.

There are records describing the medieval glass in the cathedral in 1860 and the St Peter panel is not mentioned. There are less complete reports from 1837 and the panel was not mentioned then. It is assumed that the panel was removed before 1837.
Historical context
This panel was made from a workshop cartoon. Several versions of the figure still survive in the cathedral.
Production
Originally from the east side of the north transept of Seés Cathedral.
Subjects depicted
Summary
This panel probably represents the Apostle St Peter. In the Middle Ages, images of saints depicted in glass, stone or wood, or painted on walls, could be identified by the attributes they carry. Jesus Christ gave St Peter the keys of heaven, so he is traditionally depicted holding keys. However, the clear, or white, glass used to make up the key in this panel is later in date, so we cannot be sure if the original glass depicted a key.



We can be sure that this figure was one of the Apostles because we know that it came from a band window in the clerestory (upper part of the main walls) of the north transept of Sées Cathedral in Normandy. There are still some stained-glass panels depicting Apostles there, and they are very similar in style to this one. Band windows are composed of panels of single figures sandwiched between areas of clear glass with painted details (grisaille glass).



Jean de Bernières, Bishop of Sées 1278–96, probably commissioned the windows. His image appears in a window lower down, in the north transept chapel.
Bibliographic References
  • Williamson, Paul. Medieval and Renaissance Stained Glass in the Victoria and Albert Museum. London, 2003. ISBN 1851774041
  • Lillich. M.P., 'A Stained Glass Apostle from Sees Cathedral.' Burlington Magazine, July 1977, pp.497-500.
  • Rackham, Bernard, A Guide to the Collections of Stained Glass, Victoria & Albert Museum, London, 1936, p.26
  • Lafond, Jean 'Les vitraux de la cathédrale de Seés', Congres archéologique, CXIe session (1953)
  • Lafond, Jean, 'Le vitrail en Normandie', Bulletin monumental, CXI (1953)
  • De Gaumont in Bulletin monumental, III (1837), p.337
  • Hilary Wayment, King's College Chapel Cambridge. The side-chapel glass, The Cambridge Antiquarian Society, 1988 (CerLib 1C58)
Collection
Accession Number
C.727-1909

About this object record

Explore the Collections contains over a million catalogue records, and over half a million images. It is a working database that includes information compiled over the life of the museum. Some of our records may contain offensive and discriminatory language, or reflect outdated ideas, practice and analysis. We are committed to addressing these issues, and to review and update our records accordingly.

You can write to us to suggest improvements to the record.

Suggest Feedback

record createdJuly 27, 1998
Record URL