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image SG68

Scene from the life of Saint Teresa: the Saint on her deathbed, stained glass panel, after Adriaen Collaert, Netherlandish, 17th century

Clear glass with brown paint

Height: 264mm
Width: 203mm

Museum number: SG68

Curatorial note

Saint Teresa lies on her deathbed with four angels kneeling at the foot. At the head of the bed are an angel with a man, woman and child. Above the Saint Christ hovers in radiance on a cloud, his arms stretched wide, while seven candles are suspended in the beams of light beyond him. At the bedside is a low table with an open book (Bible?) and rosary.

From an engraving by Adriaen Collaert, printed by Joannes Galle in 1630, in the series Vita St Virginis Teresiae…, Plate 24, inscribed 'Adr. Collaert sculp'. The text follows that of the engraving in its entirety: Amoris feruentissimo impetu vulnerata e viuis exce/ dit å 1589, aetatis suae 68, eiusque morientis lectulo/ cum Angelorum et plurium Sanctorum corona Christus/ assistit, et caelo expanso, ex ore Virginis columba candidissima/ euolat.

It should be noted that Saint Teresa’s year of death was 1582, not 1589 as stated in the inscription. The glass painter has produced an arched top for the panel by extending upwards the radiant cloud and bed hangings [see SG61]. The floor has been given painted tiles. This is one of a set comprising SG61, SG63, SG65, SG67, SG68, SG86, and SG110. SG91 is another from this series but is presented in a different format.

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. 195


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