Explore Collections Explore The Collections
You are here: CollectionsOnline  /  Fragment of the 'Charity' window made for Sir John Soane's Tivoli Recess but destroyed during World War II
top left corner
top right corner
bottom left corner
bottom right corner
image SG74
'Charity' window made for Sir John Soane's Tivoli Recess. SM SG74.

Fragment of the 'Charity' window made for Sir John Soane's Tivoli Recess but destroyed during World War II

Stained glass

Museum number: SG74

Curatorial note

Soane commissioned a copy of the famous 'Charity' figure from the stained glass window in New College Chapel designed by Sir Joshua Reynolds for hisTivoli Recess in c.1832. The copy was made by the glass painter William Collins, who also worked for Soane at Freemasons Hall and elsewhere.

The New College window, made by Thomas Jervais, was already celebrated when Soane commissioned his copy. Reynolds' design was said to have been based on an engraving of an antique statue of Niobe for which the actress Mrs Sheridan served as a model.

The window was in the east wall of the Tivoli Recess, off the main staircase of Soane's house. When the recess was remodelled (reduced in depth) in the 1890s the window was moved to a new opening in the north wall of the Shakespeare Recess. Parts of it appear in early photographs of the staircase taken by Walter Spiers c.1911.

This fragment, along with SG74.A, is one of only two sections to survive the blast that destroyed the window in World War II. Both surviving sections are from the lower panel, of which this was the central ornament, depicting a foliate scroll set against a rich Imperial porphyry background. This lower panel was designed for Soane - the original New College window had a gothic arcade below the figures.

This central panel was restored by Keith Barley at his workshop in York and reinserted into the reconstruction of the 'Charity' window installed in the restored Tivoli Recess in 2012-13. The rest of the window was re-painted by the stained glass painter Jonathan Cooke, one of the world's leading experts in the technology of Georgian Glass painting.

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