The Workshops that made the Windows for the Carmelite Church at Boppard.

The stained glass from Boppard is fairly well researched and published but information about the makers of the windows is rather sparse and patchy.

There are two distinct design styles which have led scholars to conclude that two different workshops were involved in the making of the glazing scheme. The general consensus is that one of the workshops is most likely to have been based in the upper Rhine area while the other was based in the area of Cologne.

The differences in style are obvious when comparing a stained glass window from the Cloisters in New York with one of the windows at the Burrell:

Burrell and Cloisters

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Characteristics of the Cologne workshop:

 

Cloisters figure & face

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

There is a high proportion of white glass especially in backgrounds and the panels are surrounded by border fillets. The figures are elongated with a dignified and slightly ethereal elegance. In this window the figure is positioned on a pedestal and surrounded by elaborate architectural and sculptural detail.

 

In painting and sculpture, this style is referred to as International Gothic or “Weicher Stil” (“Soft style”) in German.

Characteristics of the workshop from the Upper Rhine:

Burrell figure & face

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The windows made by this workshop are characterised by the intense use of colour and ornament throughout. There are no border fillets. The scenes are often surmounted by elaborate architectural canopies. The figures are “short and stocky with heavy, expressive facial features and lively gestures”.  (Jane Hayward Met Museum Journal 1969)

PROP.171

The people depicted are from all walks of life, rich and poor and their status is shown by their clothes and accessories.

In painting this style with hard and angular folds in the garments is referred to (in German) as the “Knitter-stil” and the workshop responsible was clearly influenced by this more modern style of painting.

All the Burrell glass from Boppard is by this workshop – as is the window in the Detroit Institute of Art. “The Three Marys” shows a haloed woman that has an uncanny resemblance to the figure in a painting by an unknown artist referred to as the Upper Rhenish Master. It shows how closely stained glass workshops were linked with the current art scene and is a trail worth exploring further!

stained glass and painting

A final word on the outcome of our faces survey

You recognised the Virgin Mary immediately, and 61% of the survey results picked her out correctly by face alone, which was very impressive!

marys

The devil was recognised by only 56%, which was surprising as I thought almost everyone would get him right with his elongated nose and animal-like ears to make him stand out:

devil

Apart from the devil, I found recognising the faces extremely difficult. Especially the faces of God and Jesus which were harder to distinguish from the many faces of the good and the pious depicted in the Boppard panels.

There is a cartoon-like feel to the Boppard faces, which brings them to life in my opinion – what do you think? They remind me of the English angels (Oxford and Norwich Schools) of a similar date, such as the ones below.

45.43 Censing Angel on display at the Burrell Collection in the Hutton Drawing Room
45.43 Censing Angel on display at the Burrell Collection in the Hutton Drawing Room
45.87 Feathered Angel on display at the Burrell Collection
45.87 Feathered Angel on display at the Burrell Collection

Repairing Fractures II

We have been investigating alternative methods of consolidating glass fractures. The techniques we have tested are inspired by methods used in other conservation disciplines.

Japanese paper applied with wheat starch is a standard treatment used by paper and paintings conservators and it has also been used to repair very fragile and corroded archaeological glasses as well as other objects.

We tried this technique to temporarily secure fractured glass in situ in an early 16th century stained glass panel from Fawsley Hall. This was initially intended to be a temporary repair, but two years on the repair is unchanged and still very effective in supporting the broken glass. We are monitoring the panel to assess the durability of the repair over time, although we do plan to replace the paper at some later stage.

Japanese paper

Japanese paper repairs to 45.317 Shield of Skenard from Fawsley Hall on display in the Burrell Collection Restaurant

The Japanese paper is barely noticeable in transmitted light, but in reflected light it is clearly visible. This makes it acceptable as it does not interfere with the imagery of the panel from the front, but it can be easily identified as a repair when viewed from the back.

Wheat starch as an adhesive is easily reversed using moisture, which is great if the stained glass is in a protected and accessible display, but obviously not suitable for stained glass displayed in a damp building. The other draw back of wheat starch is that the paste is organic and a potential food source for micro organisms, so again it will be less useful in a damp environment and in locations where the glass will not be looked at for years.

Fabrics

Based on our success with paper we decided to test materials that are stronger and more durable than paper but similarly transparent and without too much distracting texture.

We considered a variety of fabrics with advice from textile conservator colleagues, and decided to compare light weight nylon, silk, polyester and glass fibre fabric alongside Japanese tissue. We applied the samples with Klucel G (wheat starch paste) and Paraloid B72 (a thermoplastic resin) to investigate the pros and cons of each adhesive.

Fabric tests on glass
fabric and paper tested on glass

Our first test results are unambiguous: in terms of ease of application and quality of the results the samples applied with wheat starch paste look much better than those applied with Paraloid B72. We plan to carry out more tests with Paraloids in a variety of solutions to see if we can achieve a satisfactory result. Using a resin would make the method more suitable to use in a wider variety of display conditions.

As for the fabrics: we found that the honeycomb pattern of the light weight nylon net was visually distracting against a piece of transparent glass.

Nylon mesh
Nylon mesh

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Silk crepeline has a fine, hardly noticeable texture and is semi transparent, but is awkward to apply and tends to distort. It is a natural fibre and while it is initially quite strong, it is not very durable and deteriorates in daylight.

Silk
Silk

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The woven glass fibre fabric also has a tendency to distort during the application process, and it frays easily at the edges. We were initially quite positive about using this material – it seems logical to use a glass based fabric on glass – but we actually found that it was more visually intrusive than many of the other fabrics.

Glass fibre
Glass fibre

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Based on our sample tests we found that a polyester fabric is structurally stable and provides good support, it has good durability and it does not have a distracting texture.

Polyester
Polyester

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We therefore decided to test it on some fractured stained glass. In the next blog we will discuss the results.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Faces in the Boppard Panels – Identification and results of the survey

In this blog, we are identifying the faces and showing the percentage of the forms completed that selected faces as good or bad, and more specifically, God, Jesus, Mary and the Devil. Our next faces blog will be a more general discussion of the faces in the Boppard panels.

Many thanks to all who took part in our survey!

Faces45-485-1a

Faces45-485-1c

FacesIndex1w

Faces from Agony in the Garden and Christ Before Pilate panels:

Face # Good or Bad? % correct Identity % correct
1 Good 11% Angel
2 Bad 15% Judas Iscariot
3 Good 6% Disciple
4 Good 6% Disciple
5 Good 16% Disciple
6 Good 5% Jesus 33%
7 Debatable! 9% Pilate
8 Bad 23% Calling for death of Jesus
9 Bad 17% Calling for death of Jesus
10 Good 2% Jesus 53%
11 Bad 63% Calling for death of Jesus
12 Bad 28% Calling for death of Jesus
13 Bad 12% Calling for death of Jesus

Faces45-489-1a

Faces45-489-2a

FacesIndex2w

 

Faces from Annunciation, Birth of Mary and top of the Christ Before Pilate panels:
Face # Good or Bad? % correct Identity % correct
14 Good 20% God 25%
15 Good 2% Angel Gabriel
16 Good 7% Virgin Mary 57%
17 Bad 59% Calling for death of Jesus
18 Good 2% St Ann
19 Good 15% Baby Mary 8%
20 Good 12% Nurse
21 Good 9% Nurse

Faces45-489-3a

Faces45-489-3c

FacesIndex3w

 

Faces from Annunciation, Birth of Mary and top of the Christ Before Pilate panels:
Face # Good or Bad? % correct Identity
22 Good 6% Jesus 27%
23 Good 12% St Peter
24 Good 0% Angel
25 Good 5% Jesus 45%
26 Good 4% Angel

Faces45-489-1ab

Faces45-489-1ce

FacesIndex4w

Faces from Ninth Commandment and Virgin & Child panels:
Face # Good or Bad? % correct Identity % correct
27 Good 2% God 1%
28 Bad 76% Devil 56%
29 Bad 6% People coveting their neighbour’s house
30 Bad 32% People coveting their neighbour’s house
31 Bad 51% People coveting their neighbour’s house
32 Bad 62% People coveting their neighbour’s house
33 Good 4% People looking to heaven
34 Good 6% People looking to heaven
35 Good 4% People looking to heaven
36 Good 4% People looking to heaven
37 Good 0% Angel
38 Good 33% Baby Jesus
39 Good 4% Virgin Mary 61%

Faces45-489-1fg

Faces45-489-2

FacesIndex5w

Faces from a canopy and the Siegfried von Gelnhausen panels:
Face # Good or Bad? % correct Identity % correct
41 Good 11% Praying man
42 Good 4% Praying man
43 Good 24% Siegfried
44 Good 4% Siegfried’s wife

 

 

Repairing Broken Glass

Glass fractures are one of the most common forms of damage found in stained glass panels. There are many different ways in which fractures can be repaired, all of which have pros and cons. Below is a selection of tried and tested methods that have been used to repair broken glass:

Repair Leads
The section of painted glass below was severely damaged at some point in it’s history – perhaps by a stone thrown into the window. The glass shattered into many small sections and yet the glaziers commissioned with the repair decided to keep the glass and repair the damage rather than replace the whole section. To replace a large piece of mouthblown red glass would simply have cost too much. Instead, the glaziers dismantled the whole panel and re-leaded it, incorporating the broken section into the lead network. They would have had to reduce each glass piece by a few millimetres to accommodate the lead. This has caused irreversible damage to the panel.

Detail of repair leads in Boppard panel 45.485.2.a-b
Detail of repair leads in Boppard panel 45.485.2.a-b

Repairs using lead are very durable but they interfere with the image and the original design. In order to fit them, the edge of each glass piece has to be grozed – this is irreversible and therefore not something a conservator would do today.

Strap Leads

Strap leads are a good alternative to inserting a whole lead as they are more reversible. A strip of lead is placed across the fracture and soldered to the surrounding leads and puttied into place. Strap leads can provide good support to broken glass but they also interfere with the image and the design of a window. The repair is usually very durable but can become weak, especially if the putty has become dry and crumbly. The putty applied to the glass surface can damage the paintwork – as it dries it shrinks and if it is well adhered it can pull away part of the paint.

Strap lead repar
Strap lead repair

Adhesives

Repairs using modern adhesives such as epoxy resins can produce aesthetically pleasing repairs which are far less noticeable than a repair- or strap lead. Resins can be tinted to match the glass colour and they can be formulated to have a similar refractive index to glass. In the hands of an expert restorer the result can be an almost invisible repair. Resins were introduced to glass conservators around 1975.

At the Burrell there are a number of excellent examples on display:

45.530 Scenes from the Life of St. Francis
45.530 Scenes from the Life of St. Francis
Detail of resin repair in panel 45.530 Scenes from the Life of St. Francis
Detail of resin repair in panel 45.530 Scenes from the Life of St. Francis
45.499 Pageant and Mock Tournament
45.499 Pageant and Mock Tournament
45.75 Princess Cecily
45.75 Princess Cecily

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

For many years resins were extensively used to repair broken glass and the aim of this kind of restoration treatment was to improve the appearance of stained glass and to “restore it to it’s former glory”. However there are increasing concerns about issues surrounding durability, aging characteristics and reversibility. 30 years down the line we are seeing many resins yellowing and also becoming brittle and failing.

The Venetian Tazza, or cup, below was repaired with a resin called Ablebond in 1987. Ablebond was also used a lot in stained glass conservation. The resin produced a good finish when first used but has become dry and brittle over time, and degraded to the point where the bond failed completely.

1896.38.c Venetian Tazza with failed resin repair
1896.38.c Venetian Tazza with failed resin repair

The remaining resin was removed so the cup could be conserved, and was found to be very yellowed and brittle (see image below).

Brittle and yellow resin removed from 1896.38.c Venetian Tazza
Brittle and yellow resin removed from 1896.38.c Venetian Tazza

Here is an example of stained glass where old repair leads were replaced with resin 26 years ago:

45.523 St Francis Receiving the Stigmata
45.523 St Francis Receiving the Stigmata

These repairs were not so successful – the stained glass was very badly damaged already and there were many losses (including those that had been caused by grozing the edges of the glass to fit the repair leads). A lot of resin had to be used to infill the gaps and over 26 years the resin has yellowed and become brittle. The whole treatment will have to be redone in the coming years.

As part of the Boppard Project we have considered alternative options alongside these for repairing or consolidating glass fractures. We have tested a couple of methods, based on their potential for providing support with minimal intervention and ease of reversibility, inspired by techniques seen in other studios and conservation disciplines. We will be looking at these in more detail in our next blog.

Armour in the Boppard Panels

Men in armour are a frequent sight in medieval art, including stained glass, and provide an invaluable source of information to those studying arms and armour. Since it is made of steel that rusts or can be recycled or reused, relatively little of the original plate armour remains, and even rarer are the leather straps and pins that held the pieces together. Images of armour found in stained glass, paintings, tombs and brasses, give vital insight into the the details of the armour and the way in which it was worn.

There are three main images of armed men in the Burrell Collection Boppard windows, appearing in the Agony in the Garden, Christ before Pilate and Resurrection panels, as shown below.

Detail from Agony in the Garden
Detail from Agony in the Garden
Detail from Christ before Pilate
Detail from Christ before Pilate
Detail from Resurrection Panel
Detail from Resurrection Panel

At the time the Boppard windows were painted (early 15th century), the two most important areas of fine armour production were Germany and Italy (mainly Milan). It is also an important period in armour design, with the transition into full body armour and plate armour.

The detail from Agony in the Garden shows a man wearing a sallet (a war helmet) and a kind of bevor or aventail. The bevor worn with a sallet, protected the throat and neck and was made of solid plate or lames (overlapping strips of steel held together with leather straps to which they were riveted). Interestingly, in this case it would appear that the chin area is in solid plate, but the throat and neck protection are in mail. This would require the bevor to be held in position by attachment to the sallet with straps. In battle, he would pull the sallet down to protect his face, looking through the two slits in the helmet. A selection of German sallets is shown in the image below  by Eugène Viollet-le-Duc, a 19th century French architect and theorist.

German sallets is shown in the image below  by Eugène Viollet-le-Duc
German sallets is shown in the image below by Eugène Viollet-le-Duc

St. Quirinus, carved on a German oak stall end from the Lower Rhine late 15th-early 16th century, shown below and on display in the Burrell, is wearing a very similar sallet. This stall end was possibly made by the woodcarver Heinrich Bernts of Kalkar (d.1509).

 

Burrell Collection German oak stall end with St. Quirinus - Lower Rhine late 15th-early 16th century
Burrell Collection German oak stall end with St. Quirinus – Lower Rhine late 15th-early 16th century

The man in the detail below from Christ before Pilate is wearing a great bassinet, where the helmet, visor, chin and neck protection are all made of plate steel (replacing the mail aventail).

The rounded visor became popular in Germany, as shown in the detail below from a German painting of 1435, by Konrad Witz.

the detail from a German painting of 1435, by Konrad Witz http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Konrad_Witz_Sabobai_And_Benaiah_(1435)_fragment.jpg
the detail from a German painting of 1435, by Konrad Witz
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Konrad_Witz_Sabobai_And_Benaiah_(1435)_fragment.jpg

The small circular metal shield (or Besague) worn by our Boppard knight detailed below, just beneath his left shoulder, differs from the leaf shaped protection on the right side as he would have carried a lance under his right arm.

Detail from Christ before Pilate
Detail from Christ before Pilate

The soldier on the right in the Resurrection panel detailed below, wears a Kastenburst breastplate, with flat surfaces and a sharp angular design. German armour had a more angular design than the more rounded Italian armour, as can be seen in the fabulous Avant Armour in Glasgow’s collection, made in Milan about 1445.

 

Detail from Resurrection Panel
Detail from Resurrection Panel
Avant Armour made in the Corio Workshop in Milan, Italy around 1445 (Glasgow Museums Collection)
Avant Armour made in the Corio Workshop in Milan, Italy around 1445
(Glasgow Museums Collection)

All our soldiers wear a mail skirt to protect the lower body. The armour of the soldier on the right is richly decorated with gilding.

 

The Boppard Faces

We need your help! Please take part in the experiment at the bottom of this blog.

There are over 44 faces in the Burrell Collection Boppard panels, and all display a uniformly consistent style of painting, suggesting that all the panels were painted by the same artist. In the context of the stories displayed in the panels it is easy to discern who is who and the baddies from the goodies. But can you do it from the character of the face alone?

We have cut out 44 of the faces (some are in armour so little of their face is visible) and reoriented them to a standard format. Here they are:

Boppard-Faces_001

Boppard-Faces_002

Boppard-Faces_003

We have setup a webpage to allow you to pick out who are the baddies. You can also have a go at identifying the faces representing God (2 images), Jesus (3 images), Mary (3 images) and the devil (1 image). You can then submit your choices so we can analyse the results in the first blog in June.

Please take part as the more results the better! The button will load a page from my own website (Ayrshire Members’ Centre for the National Trust for Scotland – it has nothing to do with the NTS)

FacesButton