17 February 2015

Tuesday drawing - stained glass gallery, V&A

A gallery not just of colour but also of considerable bling - all that church plate ... and this enormous casket...

This glass from Fairford church in Gloucestershire, made in London 1500-15, "spoke to me" -
So many missing pieces, like a very old jigsaw puzzle! (It's the avenging angel, or what's left of him.) And it was as difficult to fit together right as any jigsaw puzzle. At this point I nearly gave up -
and at this point, after much erasure, too -
My comment is "recognising when spaces aren't the right shape & not in relation to others - but not knowing how to fix it". Starting again might have been the best course? I added some colour (karisima pencils, no yellow) and got this -
And moved on. Intending to collect a few "typical medieval" motifs, I started with the blue rosette and got carried away by the interlocking colours around it -
 so the placement on the page is awkward, and you see only the hand of St Stephen - the focus is on the faces of his listeners -
The glass was made in Germany in 1260-80. Stunning; that wonderful blue...

One of Sue's drawings was this Head of the Patriarch Semei from Canterbury - also very old, and the glass such wonderful colours -
whereas Janet found some "new" glass, designed by John Piper in the 1950s -
In the original panel, and the photograph on the V&A's site, it's not easy to make out the figures of St Peter and St Paul or even of Christ in the middle; the glass was hard to photograph, but you can see a good image here.

Follow-up/research ... looking at more medieval stained glass on line, finding faces
Stanford-on-Avon (via)
and the companion piece to my Avenging Angel -
The apostle Matthias (via)
the latter in an article about the restoration of the two panels, which along with the rest of the glass in the church "escaped iconoclasm but not the weather" - " in 1703 a storm badly damaged the upper part of the great west window and several windows on the south side of the church. These were subsequently repaired, using the fragments that had been blown out and replacement glass, but in the middle of the nineteenth century further interventions were made which were responsible for the removal of the V&A's figures."

For museum display, the clear glass needed to be painted to mute the light from the lightbox behind, and various mediums were tried; glass paint mixed with water and 20% gum arabic was chosen, to be painted on the back. Also, a colour needed to be chosen: "Tests showed that a mix of brown, green and black provided the right level of colour to make the clear glass recede and the medieval glass stand out. It also intensified the colours of the medieval glass, adding to the dominant effect ."

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