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image SG5

The Nativity, stained glass roundel, South German, 1480

Clear glass with light brown paint, yellow stain

Diameter: 133mm, approximate

Museum number: SG5

Curatorial note

In a humble open stable Mary and three angels kneel in prayer by the infant Jesus, who lies unclothed on a mat. Both Virgin and Child have decorated haloes without perspective. An ox and an ass are at the back of the stall. Beyond the plump angels stands a broken column before a simple landscape with a bare tree in silhouette. An open book lies on the ground.

Becksmann considers the panel South German, possibly Bavarian. The size and slightly distorted shape of the roundel suggests this is originally from a Vierpass-scheiben or a set of four related scenes set around a central shield. A closely related example of a Nativity scene of 1480, in its complete setting from Oberrheinisch-Schwarbische, formerly in the Königlichen Kunstgewerke-Museums, Berlin, is illustrated by Schmitz.


Hermann. Schmitz, Die Glasgemälde des Königlichen Kunstgewerbemuseums in Berlin. 2 vols. Berlin: Julius Bard, 1913
Professor Dr. Rudiger Becksmann, Personal communication, 2003.
Catalogue of the Stained Glass in Sir John Soane's Museum, Special Issue of the Journal of Stained Glass 2004, p.138

If you have any further information about this object, please contact us: worksofart@soane.org.uk