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image SG79

Saint Margaret and the dragon, stained glass panel, Cologne, German?, c.1500-1530

Clear glass with brown paint, yellow stain

Height: 236 mm
Width: 170mm

Museum number: SG79

Curatorial note

The slim Gothic figure of Saint Margaret stands demurely on a pedestal base which she shares with the dragon. It looks up at her, holding a cloth in its mouth. The Saint wears a simply decorated bodice with an elaborate belt and her hair is shrouded in a cap and hood. She carries a cross and her halo is represented by spikes of light emanating from her head. The panel is framed with a thin Gothic frieze with hanging tracery all set within an illusionistic picture frame. This is a companion piece to Saint John the Baptist, SG80.

Popham dated this panel as 1530? and considered it rather provincial in style, possibly Dutch. Cole believed a panel of St Adrian in a similar style (in a Private Collection) to be German and dated it about 1515. On the other hand, Becksmann is of the opinion that the date is about 1500 and considers the hanging tracery more akin to work of that time from Antwerp. The rather rough-grained stippling within firm trace-lines and the round full-pupilled eyes are generally indications of Cologne as a source. The hanging tracery motif, which was developed in the Netherlands, was taken up in North Germany. The figure on a pedestal is also reminiscent of the style of a series of saints by the German engraver Israhel van Meckenem (died 1503).


A. E. Popham’s comments are MS notes in pencil held at Sir John Soane’s Museum, c.1930.
F. W. H. Hollstein, German Engravings Etchings and Woodcuts 1400-1700. Amsterdam: Riijksmuseum, 1954– XXIV, XXIVA, 408
Hilary Wayment, King's College Chapel Cambridge, The Side-chapel Glass. Cambridge: Cambridge Antiquarian Society and King’s College, 1988 51f2
William Cole, A Catalogue of Netherlandish and North European Roundels in Britain. Oxford: OUP for The British Academy, 1993 152
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. 212

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