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Unusual historic glass
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keithhill



Joined: 01 Jan 1970
Posts: 18

PostPosted: Sun May 13, 2007 10:39 am    Post subject: Unusual historic glass Reply with quote

My image shows a small tracery light in a West Kent church. It's high up - almost hidden from view.
When drawing up a condition report on the stained glass I gave this top priority because of its precarious state.(I have now been instructed to carry out the work asap).
The subject is a bit of a puzzle - I have my own ideas but what do you think?
--Keith Hill



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geoffreywallace



Joined: 24 Sep 2006
Posts: 7
Location: Melbourne Australia

PostPosted: Mon May 14, 2007 2:49 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

It looks like a hell hound to me Keith! Certainly wouldn't want to meet up with it on a dark night. Perhaps the river Styx on the left, flames at the bottom and a bell tolling for the sinful dead?

Geoffrey Wallace
Melbourne Australia
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keithhill



Joined: 01 Jan 1970
Posts: 18

PostPosted: Tue May 15, 2007 9:25 pm    Post subject: unusual historic glass Reply with quote

Thanks for your suggestion Geoffrey. It's a bit of a mystery and you might well be right.
My best guess at the present time is the desert Pariah dog (aka Pi dog).
I think it is tethered to a large weight rather than a bell.
The painting style is "different". I have seen similar drawing in early examples of scrimshaw art, but never on glass.
Hopefully I'll learn more when I get the glass onto my workbench later in the year.
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pennyhebginbarnes



Joined: 22 Sep 2006
Posts: 9
Location: Wilmslow, Cheshire

PostPosted: Wed May 16, 2007 9:12 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Very unusual.
Do you know if there are any local families who bore this or a similar creature as a crest? It looks as if it's derived from a heraldic emblem to me, especially given the collar, chain & weight.
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pennyhebginbarnes



Joined: 22 Sep 2006
Posts: 9
Location: Wilmslow, Cheshire

PostPosted: Wed May 16, 2007 6:33 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I thought it seemed familiar - look at this!


This fragment, in which the creature is used as a border motif, is in Liverpool Museum. It's from the collection of the late Philip Nelson (d.1953). Sadly, like most of Nelson's pieces it is unprovenanced. But I've seen speculation - which seemed until now to be unfounded - that it came from a Kent church.
Next time I go near a copy of Fairbairn's Crests I'll look it up. It's so distinctive, I'm pretty sure it's derived from a heraldic crest.
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keithhill



Joined: 01 Jan 1970
Posts: 18

PostPosted: Wed May 16, 2007 9:53 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Wow!!! what a great match -consider yourself well and truly hugged (this really shows the value of the forum).

This is what I have discovered to date:
Lingfield church (7 mls from Hever where the glass is located) has a chancel tomb that bears several images in stone and brass of the same (or v similar)canine. Pevsner described it as "a sea-wolf with an evil grin". The tomb is for Sir Reginald Cobham (1382-1446) - he fought at Agincourt.
There is a historical link between Hever and the Cobhams. A daughter of Sir Wm de Hever conveyed the castle in marriage to the Cobham family - who later sold the Hever estate to Sir Geoffrey Boleyn.
I have written to the present Lord Cobham to see if he can throw light on the matter.
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tonybenyon



Joined: 01 Jan 1970
Posts: 22

PostPosted: Thu May 17, 2007 9:23 am    Post subject: Unusual Historic Glass Reply with quote

Are the leads original or do you think this fabulous glass painting has been cut down from a larger panel and moved from another location?
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keithhill



Joined: 01 Jan 1970
Posts: 18

PostPosted: Thu May 17, 2007 4:51 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Only the mend-lead is visible - it's 10mm flat, narrow heart. Probably not original; difficult to date but there just might be an inscription in the heart. I don't think there is a perimeter lead.
Edges of the painted glass are partly visible along all three sides, and also along the mend-lead where its flanges have been prized up. None of the visible edges has been grozed.
Traces of old lime mortar are visible on all 3 sides.
Externally the piece has been plated with plain sheet glass - secured with bevels of Portland cement.
This might have saved the damaged glass from falling away. My guess is that the plating dates from mid- 20th century.
Hever church is included in the CVMA archive (online) showing a few scraps of medieval glass- nothing like the piece here. Maybe they decided it was not old enough. If I had to give it a date my suggestion at this stage would be 17th or early 18th century.
It might possibly have been moved at some time from Hever Castle which is adjacent. I am looking into this possibility.
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pennyhebginbarnes



Joined: 22 Sep 2006
Posts: 9
Location: Wilmslow, Cheshire

PostPosted: Thu May 17, 2007 7:51 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

This post was very timely for me as I'm publishing the Liverpool Museum collection in my forthcoming CVMA catalogue of Cheshire & Lancashire glazing, & I can now identify what I'd described only as a grotesque dog as the Cobham sea-wolf, originating in a Kent or Surrey church. I'd date the Liverpool pieces to the 2nd half of the 15th-c; your tracery light is obviously later, but can it be as late as the early 18th-c?

I'll email this link to Nigel Morgan, who's been cataloguing the medieval glass of Kent for many years. He must have seen this tracery light & might possibly have more info about it.
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tonybenyon



Joined: 01 Jan 1970
Posts: 22

PostPosted: Fri May 18, 2007 5:30 pm    Post subject: Unusual historic glass Reply with quote

Why a Sea Wolf or Sea Dog when it hasn't got webbed feet, fins or scales and why would a half sea creature have a heavy weight tied to it's neck, unless it was really depressed with life?
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pennyhebginbarnes



Joined: 22 Sep 2006
Posts: 9
Location: Wilmslow, Cheshire

PostPosted: Fri May 18, 2007 6:56 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Some heraldic creatures bear no relation to their real life equivalents e.g. a heraldic tiger looks like a lion but has tusks & a horn on its nose; a heraldic antelope has a lion's body but a deer's legs; a sea-lion has a lion's trunk & head but a fish tail, etc. The sea wolf is a similar product of a fevered medieval heraldic imagination.

The weight on the chain might have some significance with regard to the Cobham family but I'm only speculating - perhaps Lord Cobham's reply could help here. Either that or when it realised what it looked like it decided to drown itself!
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keithhill



Joined: 01 Jan 1970
Posts: 18

PostPosted: Fri May 18, 2007 7:53 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

This is the alabaster tomb animal (Lingfield church) and you can see why Pevsner called it a sea wolf.

The other versions on this tomb (engraved in brass + plaster escucheons) also have webbed hind feet. However none of them is tethered to a weight.

Going back to the Hever tracery, and also Penny's Liverpool Museum version they both seem NOT to have webbed feet and both are tethered.

I'll let you know as soon as I have a reply from Lord Cobham and hopefully he will make everything crystal clear.



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keithhill



Joined: 01 Jan 1970
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PostPosted: Tue May 22, 2007 8:18 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I visited Hever today to remove the glass - rather sooner than I had originally planned - and can now confirm that the 3 sides had in fact all been skilfully grozed. There is no helpful inscription in the mend-lead.
The blue-green pale tinted glass varies between 2.5mm and 3.0mm in thickness and has extensive micro-pitting on the inside surface, and there are also small areas of this on the outside. Also some traces of backpainting.
It's looking to be quite a bit earlier than I had first thought.
A friend helpfully suggested that the tether and weight might have been added to indicate a marriage Rolling Eyes
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pennyhebginbarnes



Joined: 22 Sep 2006
Posts: 9
Location: Wilmslow, Cheshire

PostPosted: Mon May 28, 2007 8:27 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks for posting the Cobham tomb image.

keithhill wrote:
It's looking to be quite a bit earlier than I had first thought.


That's what I think too. The little clusters of flowers on the ground on which the beast is set are reminiscent of 15th/16th-c quarry designs & I wonder if it could be as early as the 16th-c.

Nigel Morgan tells me he photographed it in the early 1970s. However it was not mentioned by CR Councer who made very detailed notes on the ancient glass of Kent churches in the period 1935-65. Nigel thinks this omission is uncharacteristic of the normally thorough Councer & asks if the glass could have been installed in its present position in the 1950s or 1960s?
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keithhill



Joined: 01 Jan 1970
Posts: 18

PostPosted: Mon Aug 20, 2007 9:02 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

This image shows how the glass looks after completion of conservation work. I believe it to be from the first half of the 16th century.
Unfortunately much of the mystery remains - the enquiry to Lord Cobham proved fruitless.
Penny's find in the Nelson Collection was most helpful.



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