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image SG62

Benjamin takes leave of his father, stained glass panel, German, Rhineland, c.1600

Clear glass with black paint, the inscription in yellow stain on black

Height: 263mm
Weight: 204mm

Museum number: SG62

Curatorial note

This panel illustrates a scene from the story of Joseph and his brothers as told in the Old Testament Book of Genesis, Chapters 42-47. A youthful Benjamin takes leave of his elderly father Jacob, who is shown bearded and with a walking stick on the right of the composition. Benjamin's left hand is being pulled by his brother who prepares to hurry him off with three other persons. Gothic stone buildings and a tower appear on the right. The inscription at the base of the panel, scratched out from the black background and highlighted in yellow stain, reads: Beniamin der Jungste von Allen/ Wirt zum Konigh hingefürt/….. Benjamin the youngest of all/ Is led to the King/……. (Transcription and translation provided by Paul Sharpling, because of legibility problems this is tentative). The drawing of the figures is reminiscent of the work of Georg Pencz. The style of painting is similar to SC64, Joseph and his Brothers, which is based on an engraving in the Thesaurus Sacrarum of 1585, but this scene with Benjamin does not appear in the British Museum’s copy of that work.

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.


Giulia Bartrum, German Renaissance Prints 1490-1550. Exh. cat. London: British Museum Press, 1995
Catalogue of the Stained Glass in Sir John Soane's Museum, Special Issue of the Journal of Stained Glass 2004, p. 189

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