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image SG61

A scene from the life of Saint Teresa, stained glass panel, after Adriaen Collaert, Netherlandish, 17th century

Clear glass with brown paint

Height: 265 mm
Width: 205mm

Museum number: SG61

Curatorial note

Saint Teresa kneels in prayer before a standing monk (or saint?) who holds an open book towards her. A glimpse of a cloister is visible through the arched opening to the left.

The panel is after an engraving by Adriaen Collaert, printed by Joannes Galle in 1630, Plate 22 of the series Vita St Virginis Teresiae, inscribed Adrian. Collaert sculp. The text follows that of the engraving in its entirety: Verandum Ordinis sui Sanctum conspicit, qui subiecta verba/ in libro quem manibus tenebat exarata, ipsi legenda praebuit. On the open book is written: Temporibus futuris florebit haec Religio multi erunt/ martyres in ea.

The glass painter has extended the top of the composition to give an arched top and increased the height of the window in the print accordingly. This panel is one of a set which includes SG61, SG63, SG65, SG67, SG68, SG86, and SG110. SG91 depicts another scene from the series but in a different format.

The same scene is depicted in the Chapel of Farleigh Hungerford Castle (Somerset) as a rectangular panel in grey, light and dark brown paint and sanguine, but with less precise modelling in the faces. This panel was not catalogued by Cole.

The octagonal lantern in the Breakfast Room retains seven of its original eight glazing panels with subjects set within colour glass borders. Five of these depict scenes from the life of St Teresa of Avila, the other two illustrate biblical subjects from the lives of Joseph and his brother Benjamin. Soane, in his 1830, 1832 and 1835 editions of the Description says In the Dome is an octangular [sic] Lantern with eight scriptural subjects, surmounted by a bell-light.

Teresa of Avila was born in 1515, died in 1582, and was canonised in 1622. She experienced many visions, some ecstatic and heavenly, others with devilish temptations, and she frequently heard voices. The most famous vision of the Saint was the piercing of her heart, or transverberation, by an arrow held by an angel, a scene immortalised by Bernini as St Teresa in Ecstasy in the Cornaro Chapel, Rome. Her story was well documented in her lifetime and there are extant portraits of her from life. The stained glass panels are copied from a series of prints by Adrien Collaert, based closely on her life and documented appearance, which were published in 1630. One of these, SG63, shows her levitation during the celebration of Mass which, despite causing her some embarrassment, did not prevent the bishop bringing his friends to witness the event. In another scene, SG67, she is shown writing while the Holy Spirit in the form of a dove speaks into her ear.

Literature

The complete series of 24 plates in the Witt Print Collection, Courtauld Institute Galleries, London is dated 1630 on the title page. Hollstein IV, Adriaen Collaert, 230-248, lists nineteen plates and a frontispiece dated 1613
Catalogue of the Stained Glass in Sir John Soane's Museum, Special Issue of the Journal of Stained Glass 2004, p. 188


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