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image SG87

The Seven Sorrows of the Virgin Mary, stained glass panel, German, Rhineland, 17th or18th century

Clear glass with brown paint and yellow stain with a yellow stain rim. Red and blue enamel

Height: 305mm
Width: 225mm

Museum number: SG87

Curatorial note

The Virgin, wearing a simple blue hooded mantle over a red gown, stands on a low plane in the central foreground with her palms outstretched, beseeching. Seven swords enter her breast In the far distance on the left is a town with domed buildings and across on the right are two crosses on a hilltop. The Virgin’s large striated halo is set against a sky modelled with clouds and rays.

A related panel, in which the swords, striated halo and modelling of the clouds are similar, is The Pietà with the Virgin of Sorrows in the Victoria and Albert Museum in London. There are also similarities in style with a pair of panels of saints in the Schnütgen Museum in Cologne (dated 1723, from the Pfarrkirche in Olef in der Eifel in the Rhineland), and with German panels of saints in the Chapel at Farleigh Hungerford Castle (Somerset).

Popham has suggested the influence of the Rubens school. Other examples showing this influence on German glass painters have been noted in related panels in the Hessisches Landesmuseum in Darmstadt and in Frankfurt. However, the source is more likely the 1635 St Sebastian altarpiece by Johann Hulsmann in St Gereon’s church in Cologne. See also SG77, SG103, SG105, SG133 and SG135.


Suzanne Beeh-Lustenberger, Glasmalerei um 800-1900 im Hessischen Landesmuseum in Darmstadt. Frankfurt: Hans Peters Verlag, 1973 364
Suzanne Beeh-Lustenberger, Glasgemälde aus Frankfurter Sammlungen. Frankfurt: Verlag Waldemar Kramer, 1965 Inv. X 17073
William Cole, A Catalogue of Netherlandish and North European Roundels in Britain. Oxford: OUP for The British Academy, 1993 634, 656
Brigitte Lymant, Die Glasmalerei des Schnütgen Museums. Köln: Das Museum, 1982 M 352-354
Bernard Rackham, A Guide to the Collections of Stained Glass, Victoria and Albert Museum. London: V&A Department of Ceramics, 1936 C945-1907
Catalogue of the Stained Glass in Sir John Soane's Museum, Special Issue of the Journal of Stained Glass 2004, pp 220-221

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