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  • image SG85

A scene from the life of Saint Martha, stained glass panel, German, Rhineland, 17th century

Clear glass with brown paint, yellow stain, blue, red, green and purple enamels, with yellow rim

Height: 235mm
Width: 180mm

Museum number: SG85

Curatorial note

Saint Martha appears as a vigorous figure at the front of the scene, holding an aspergillum in her right hand and a vessel for holy water in the other. Her halo has a fringed edge. The dragon behind her twists to look up toward the Saint. A green field with trees creates a low horizon in the middle ground, while quite separately at the top of the panel, the sky is indicated by stylised rounded blobs of cloud with blue in between. The pavement upon which the Saint stands is inscribed S. Martha.

This format, where a named Saint with attributes is seen posed on a pavement before a shallow landscape within an arched panel framed with yellow stain, is similar to a number of other German panels. Five can be found in the Chapel at Farleigh Hungerford Castle (Somerset), namely St Anne teaching the Virgin to read, St James the Less, St Lazarus, St Matthias, and St Peter. All share the characteristic painting of the clouds and vegetation, figure drawing, enamels and lettering. Another example in this series, illustrating St Matthew, is at Longleat House, Warminster, Wiltshire. There is also some similarity with panels of St Helena and St Anthony of Padua in the Victoria and Albert Museum, London, which are attributed to the Cologne school, and with one of St Martin and the Beggar originally from Schloss Mespelbrunn in the middle Rhineland and now at the Hessisches Landesmuseum in Darmstadt. Related panels of St Gudula? and St Cyprian, dated 1650-1670 and said to be from southern Germany, are in the J. B. Speed Art Museum, Louisville (USA), and two of Charlemagne and St Peter in the Pierpont Morgan Library, New York, are dated 1600-1650.


Suzanne Beeh-Lustenberger, Glasmalerei um 800-1900 im Hessischen Landesmuseum in Darmstadt. Frankfurt: Hans Peters Verlag,1973 Inv. Kg 30:28
William Cole, A Catalogue of Netherlandish and North European Roundels in Britain. Oxford: OUP for The British Academy, 1993 630, 663, 664, 665, 667, 954
Timothy B. Husband, Stained Glass Before 1700 in American Collections, Vol. 39, CVMA Checklist IV. Washington: National Gallery of Art, 1991, 83
Bernard Rackham, A Guide to the Collections of Stained Glass, Victoria and Albert Museum. London: V&A Department of Ceramics, 1936 C56-57 1919
Catalogue of the Stained Glass in Sir John Soane's Museum, Special Issue of the Journal of Stained Glass 2004, p 218

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