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Title: Windows, A Book About Stained & Painted Glass
Author: Day, Lewis F.
Language: English
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Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

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  WINDOWS
  a book about
  STAINED
  & PAINTED GLASS

  by

  LEWIS F. DAY
  author of Nature
  in Ornament &
  other Text-books
  of Design.

  1897  LONDON
  B·T·BATSFORD   94 High Holborn, W.C.



  BRADBURY, AGNEW, & CO. LD., PRINTERS,
  LONDON AND TONBRIDGE.



     TO THOSE WHO KNOW NOTHING OF STAINED GLASS; TO THOSE WHO KNOW
     SOMETHING, AND WANT TO KNOW MORE; TO THOSE WHO KNOW ALL ABOUT IT,
     AND YET CARE TO KNOW WHAT ANOTHER MAY HAVE TO SAY UPON THE
     SUBJECT;--I DEDICATE THIS BOOK.



PREFACE.


A stained glass window is itself the best possible illustration of the
difference it makes whether we look at a thing from this side or from
that. Goethe used this particular image in one of his little parables,
comparing poems to painted windows, dark and dull from the market-place,
bright with colour and alive with meaning only when we have crossed the
threshold of the church.

I may claim to have entered the sanctuary, and not irreverently. My
earliest training in design was in the workshops of artists in stained
glass. For many years I worked exclusively at glass design, and for over
a quarter of a century I have spent great part of my leisure in hunting
glass all Europe over.

This book has grown out of my experience. It makes no claim to
learnedness. It tells only what the windows have told me, or what I
understood them to say. I have gone to glass to get pleasure out of it,
to learn something from it, to find out the way it was done, and why it
was done so, and what might yet perhaps be done. Anything apart from
that did not so much interest me. Those, therefore, who desire minuter
and more precise historic information must consult the works of Winston,
Mr. Westlake, and the many continental authorities, with whose learned
writings this more practical, and, in a sense, popular, volume does not
enter into any sort of competition.

My point of view is that of art and workmanship, or, more precisely
speaking, workmanship and art, workmanship being naturally the beginning
and root of art. We are workmen first and artists afterwards--perhaps.

What I have tried to do is this: In the first place (Book I.), I set
out to trace the course of _workmanship_, to follow the technique of the
workman from the twelfth century to the seventeenth, from mosaic to
painting, from archaism to pictorial accomplishment; and to indicate at
what cost of perhaps more decorative qualities the later masterpieces of
glass painting were bought.

In the second place (Book II.), I have endeavoured to show the course of
_design_ in glass, from the earliest Mediæval window to the latest glass
picture of the Renaissance.

Finally (Book III.), I have set apart for separate discussion questions
not in the direct line either of design or workmanship, or which, if
taken by the way, would have hindered the narrative and confused the
issue.

The rather lengthy chapter on "_Style_" is addressed to that large
number of persons who, knowing as yet nothing about the subject, may
want _data_ by which to form some idea as to the period of a window when
they see it: the postscript more nearly concerns the designer and the
worker in glass.

In all this I have tried to put personality as much as possible aside,
and to tell my story faithfully and without conscious bias. But I make
no claim to impartiality, as the judge upon the bench understands it. We
take up art or law according to our temperament. I can pretend to judge
only as one interested, to be impartial only as an artist may.

  LEWIS F. DAY.

  13, MECKLENBURGH SQUARE, LONDON.
  _January 29th, 1897._



_NOTE IN REFERENCE TO ILLUSTRATIONS._


_Theoretically the illustrations to a book about windows should be in
colour. Practically coloured illustrations of stained glass are out of
the question, as all who appreciate its quality well know. It may be
possible, although it has hardly proved so as yet, to print adequate
representations of coloured windows, but only at a cost which would
defeat the end here in view._

_The_ EFFECT _of glass is best suggested by process renderings of
photographs from actual windows or from very careful water-colour
drawings, such as those very kindly placed at my disposal by Mr. T. M.
Rooke (pages 128, 159, 337) and Mr. John R. Clayton (pages 51, 74, 98,
186, 207, 252, 286, 304, 342), an artist whose studio has been the
nursery of a whole generation of glass designers._

_Details of_ DESIGN _are often better seen in the reproductions of
tracings or slight pen-drawings, little more than diagrams it may be,
but done to illustrate a point. That is the intention throughout, to
illustrate what is said, not simply to beautify the book._

_The direction of the pen-lines gives, wherever it was possible, a key
to the colour scheme. Red, that is to say, is represented by vertical
lines, blue by horizontal, yellow by dots, and so on, according to
heraldic custom._



TABLE OF CONTENTS.


  BOOK I.
  THE COURSE OF CRAFTSMANSHIP.

  CHAP.                                                          PAGE
     I. THE BEGINNINGS OF GLASS                                    1
    II. THE MAKING OF A WINDOW                                     5
   III. GLAZING                                                   15
    IV. EARLY MOSAIC WINDOWS                                      32
     V. PAINTED MOSAIC                                            43
    VI. GLASS PAINTING (MEDIÆVAL)                                 59
   VII. GLASS PAINTING (RENAISSANCE)                              67
  VIII. ENAMEL PAINTING                                           77
    IX. THE NEEDLE-POINT IN GLASS PAINTING                        87
     X. THE RESOURCES OF THE GLASS WORKER (A RECAPITULATION)      95

  BOOK II.
  THE COURSE OF DESIGN.

     XI. THE DESIGN OF EARLY GLASS                               111
    XII. MEDALLION WINDOWS                                       123
   XIII. EARLY GRISAILLE                                         137
    XIV. WINDOWS OF MANY LIGHTS                                  151
     XV. MIDDLE GOTHIC DETAIL                                    162
    XVI. LATE GOTHIC WINDOWS                                     178
   XVII. SIXTEENTH CENTURY WINDOWS                               201
  XVIII. LATER RENAISSANCE WINDOWS                               220
    XIX. PICTURE WINDOWS                                         236
     XX. LANDSCAPE IN GLASS                                      251
    XXI. ITALIAN GLASS                                           260
   XXII. TRACERY LIGHTS AND ROSE WINDOWS                         272
  XXIII. QUARRY WINDOWS                                          283
   XXIV. DOMESTIC GLASS                                          296
    XXV. THE USE OF THE CANOPY                                   311
   XXVI. A PLEA FOR ORNAMENT                                     317

  BOOK III.
  BY THE WAY.

   XXVII. THE CHARACTERISTICS OF STYLE                           322
  XXVIII. STYLE IN MODERN GLASS (A POSTSCRIPT)                   354
    XXIX. JESSE WINDOWS, AND OTHER EXCEPTIONS IN DESIGN          360
     XXX. STORY WINDOWS                                          371
    XXXI. HOW TO SEE WINDOWS                                     380
   XXXII. WINDOWS WORTH SEEING                                   385
  XXXIII. A WORD ON RESTORATION                                  404



WINDOWS, A BOOK ABOUT STAINED GLASS



BOOK I.



CHAPTER I.

THE BEGINNINGS OF GLASS.


The point of view from which the subject of stained glass is approached
in these chapters relieves me, happily, from the very difficult task of
determining the date or the whereabouts of the remote origin of coloured
windows, and the still remoter beginnings of glass itself. The briefest
summary of scarcely disputable facts bearing upon the evolution of the
art of window making, is here enough. We need not vex our minds with
speculation.

White glass (and that of extreme purity) would seem to have been known
to the Chinese as long ago as 2300 B.C., for they were then already
using astronomical instruments, of which the lenses were presumably of
glass. Of coloured glass there is yet earlier record. Egyptologists tell
us that at least five if not six thousand years ago the Egyptians made
jewels of glass. Indeed, it is more than probable that this was the
earliest use to which stained glass was put, and that the very _raison
d'être_ of glass making was a species of forgery. In some of the most
ancient tombs have been found scarabs of glass in deliberate imitation
of rubies and emeralds, sapphires and other precious stones. The glass
beads found broadcast in three quarters of the globe were quite possibly
passed off by Phoenician traders upon the confiding barbarian as
jewels of great price. At all events, glass beads, according to Sir
John Lubbock, were in use in the bronze age; and, if we may trust the
evidence of etymology, "bedes" are perhaps as ancient as praying.

Apart from trickery and fraud, to imitate seems to be a foible of
humanity. The Greeks and their Roman successors made glass in imitation
of agate and onyx and all kinds of precious marbles. They devised also
coloured glass coated with white glass, which could be cut
cameo-fashion--a kind of glass much used, though in a different way, in
later Mediæval windows.

The Venetians carried further the pretty Greek invention of embedding
vitreous threads of milky white or colour in clear glass, the most
beautiful form of which is that known as _latticelli_, or _reticelli_
(reticulated or lace glass), from the elaborate twisting and interlacing
of the threads; but nothing certain seems to be known about Venetian
glass until the end of the eleventh century, although by the thirteenth
the neighbouring island of Murano was famous for its production. The
Venetians found a new stone to imitate, aventurine, and they imitated it
marvellously.

So far, however, glass was used in the first instance for jewellery, and
in the second for vessels of various kinds. Its use in architecture was
confined mainly to mosaic, originally, no doubt, to supply the place of
brighter tints not forthcoming in marble.

Of the use of glass in windows there is not very ancient mention. The
climate of Greece or Egypt, and the way of life there, gave scant
occasion for it. But at Herculaneum and Pompeii, there have been found
fair sized slabs of window glass, not of very perfect manufacture,
apparently cast, and probably at no time very translucent. Remains also
of what was presumably window glass have been found among the ruins of
Roman villas in England. In the basilicas of Christian Rome the arched
window openings were sometimes filled with slabs of marble, in which
were piercings to receive glass (which may or may not have been
coloured), foreshadowing, so to speak, the plate tracery of Early Gothic
builders. According to M. Lévy, the windows of Early Mediæval Flemish
churches were often filled in this Roman way with plaques of stone
pierced with circular openings to receive glass.

Another Roman practice was to set panes of glass in bronze or copper
framing, and even in lead. Here we have the beginning of the practice
identified with Mediæval glaziers.

There is no reason to suppose that the ancients practised glass painting
as we understand it. Discs of Greek glass have been found which are
indeed painted, but not (I imagine) with colour fused with the material;
and certainly these were not used for windows.

The very early Christians were not in a position to indulge in, or even
to desire, luxuries such as stained glass windows, but St. Jerome and
St. Chrysostom make allusion to them. It is pretty certain that these
must have been simple mosaics in stained glass, unpainted: one reads
that between the lines of the records that have come down to us.

Stained and painted glass, such as we find in the earliest existing
Mediæval windows, may possibly date back to the reign of Charlemagne
(800), but it may safely be said not to occur earlier than the Holy
Roman Empire. A couple of hundred years later mention of it begins to
occur rather frequently in Church records; and there is one particular
account of the furnishing of the chapel of the first Benedictine
Monastery at Monte Cassino with a whole series of windows in 1066--which
fixes the date of the Norman Conquest as a period at which stained glass
windows can no longer have been uncommon. The Cistercian interdict,
restricting the order to the use of white glass (1134), argues something
like ecclesiastical over-indulgence in rich windows before the middle of
the next century.

Fragments, more or less plentiful, of the very earliest glass may still
remain embedded in windows of a later period (the material was too
precious not to have been carefully preserved); but archæologists appear
to be agreed that no complete window of the ninth or tenth century has
been preserved, and that even of the eleventh there is nothing that can
quite certainly be identified. After that doctors begin to differ. But
the general consensus of opinion is, that there is comparatively little
that can be incontrovertibly set down even to the twelfth century. The
great mass of Early Gothic Glass belongs indubitably to the thirteenth
century; and when one speaks of Early Glass it is usually thirteenth
century work which is meant.

The remote origin of glass, then, remains for ever lost in the mist of
legendary days. There is even a fable to the effect that it dates from
the building of the Tower of Babel, when God's fire from heaven
vitrified the bricks employed by its too presumptuous builders.

Coloured glass comes to us from the East; that much it is safe to
conclude. From ancient Egypt, probably, the art of the glass-worker
found its way to Phoenicia, thence to Greece and Rome, and so to
Byzantium, Venice, and eventually France, where stained glass windows,
as we know them, first occur.

It is probably to the French that Europe owes the introduction of
coloured windows, a colony of Venetian glass-workers having, they say,
settled at Limoges in the year 979.

Some of the earliest French glass is to be found at Chartres, Le Mans,
Angers, Reims, and Châlons-sûr-Marne; and at the _Musée des Arts
Décoratifs_, at Paris, there are some fragments of twelfth century work
which may be more conveniently examined than the work _in sitû_. The
oldest to which one can assign a definite date is that at St. Denis
(1108) but its value is almost nullified by expert restoration.

In Germany the oldest date is ascribed to some small windows at
Augsburg, executed, it is said, by the monks of Tegernsee about the year
1000. There is also a certain amount of twelfth century work
incorporated in the later windows at Strasbourg. The oldest remains of
glass in England are, in all probability, certain fragments in the nave
of York Minster. The more important windows at Canterbury, Salisbury,
and Lincoln are of the thirteenth century.



CHAPTER II.

THE MAKING OF A WINDOW.


Since it is proposed to approach the subject of stained glass in the
first place from the workmanlike and artistic, rather than the
historical or antiquarian, point of view, it may be as well to begin by
explaining precisely what a stained glass window is.

It is usual to confound "stained" with "painted" glass. Literally
speaking, these are two quite distinct things. Stained glass is glass
which is coloured, as the phrase goes, "in the pot;" that is to say,
there is mixed with the molten white glass a metallic oxide which stains
it green, yellow, blue, purple, and so on, as the case may be; for which
reason this self-tinted glass is called "pot-metal." This is a term
which will recur again and again. Once for all, "pot-metal" is glass in
which the colour is _in_ the glass and not painted _upon_ it.

It goes without explanation that, each separate sheet of pot-metal glass
being all of one colour, a varicoloured window can only be produced in
it by breaking up the sheets and putting them together in the form of a
mosaic: in fact, that is how the earliest windows were executed, and
they go by the name of mosaic glass. The glass is, however, not broken
up into tesseræ, but shaped according to the forms of the design. In
short, those portions of it which are white have to be cut out of a
sheet of white glass, those which are blue out of a sheet of blue glass,
those which are yellow out of a sheet of yellow, and so on; and it is
these pieces of variously tinted glass, bound together by strips of
lead, just as the tesseræ of a pavement or wall picture are held in
place by cement, which constitute a stained glass window. The artist is
as yet not concerned in painting, but in glazing--that is to say,
putting together little bits of glass, just as an inlayer does, or as a
mosaic worker puts together pieces of wood, or marble, or burnt clay, or
even opaque glass.

There is illustrated opposite a piece of Old Burmese incrusted
decoration, a mosaic of white and coloured glass bound together by
strips of metal, which, were it but clear instead of silvered at the
back, would be precisely the same thing as an early mosaic window, even
to the completion of the face by means of paint--of which more
presently. In painted glass, on the other hand, the colour is not in the
glass but upon it, more or less firmly attached to it by the action of
the fire. A metallic colour which has some affinity with glass, or which
is ground up with finely powdered glass, is used as a pigment, precisely
as ceramic colours are used in pottery painting. The painted glass is
then put into a kiln and heated to the temperature at which it is on the
point of melting, whilst the colour actually does melt into it. By this
means it is possible to paint a coloured picture upon a single sheet of
white glass, as has been proved at Sèvres.

Strictly speaking, then, stained and painted glass are the very opposite
one to the other. But in practice the two processes of glazing and
painting were never kept apart. The very earliest glass was no doubt
pure mosaic. It was only in our own day that the achievement (scientific
rather than artistic) of a painted window of any size, independent of
glazier's work, was possible. Painting was at first always subsidiary to
glazier's work; after that, for a time, glazier and painter worked hand
in hand upon equal terms; eventually the painter took precedence, and
the glazier became ever more and more subservient to him. But from the
twelfth to the seventeenth century there is little of what we call,
rather loosely, sometimes "stained" and sometimes "painted" glass, in
which there is not both staining and painting--that is to say, stained
glass is used, and there is painting upon it. The difference is that in
the earlier work the painting is only used to help out the stained
glass, and in the later the stained glass is introduced to help the
painting.

[Illustration: 1. INCRUSTED GLASS MOSAIC, BURMESE (B. M.).]

That amounts, it may be thought, to much the same thing; and there does
come a point where staining and painting fulfil each such an important
part in the window that it is difficult to say which is the
predominating partner in the concern. For the most part, however, there
is no manner of doubt as to which practice was uppermost in the
designer's mind, as to the idea with which he set out, painting or
glazing; and it makes all the difference in the work--the difference,
for example, between a window of the thirteenth century and one of the
sixteenth, a difference about which a child could scarcely make a
mistake, once it had been pointed out to him.

Here perhaps it will be as well to describe, once for all, the making of
a mosaic window, and the part taken in it by the glazier and the painter
respectively. It will be easier then to discriminate between the two
processes employed, and to discuss them each in relation to the other.

The actual construction of an early window is very much like the putting
together of a puzzle. The puzzle of our childhood usually took the form
of a map. It has occurred to me, therefore, to show how an artist
working strictly after the manner of the thirteenth century--the period,
that is to say, when painting was subsidiary to glazing--would set about
putting into glass a map of modern Italy. In the first place, he would
draw his map to the size required. This he would do with the utmost
precision, firmly marking upon the paper (the mediæval artist would have
drawn directly on his wooden bench) the boundary line of each separate
patch of colour in his design. Then, according to the colour each
separate province or division was to be, he would take a separate sheet
of "pot-metal" and lay it over the drawing, so as to be able to trace
upon the glass itself the outline of such province or division. That
done, he would proceed to cut out or shape the various pieces of glass
to the given forms. In the case of a simple and compact province, such
as Rome, Tuscany, Umbria (overleaf), that would be easy enough. On the
other hand, a more irregular shape, say the province of Naples, with its
promontories, would present considerable difficulties--difficulties
practically insuperable by the early glazier, to whom the diamond as a
cutting instrument was unknown, and whose appliances for shaping were of
the rudest and most rudimentary.

If with the point of a red-hot iron you describe upon a sheet of glass a
line, and then, taking the material between your two hands, proceed to
snap it across, the fracture will take approximately the direction of
the line thus drawn. That is how the thirteenth century glazier went to
work, subsequently with a notched iron instrument, or "grozing iron" as
it was called, laboriously chipping away the edges until he had reduced
each piece of glass to the precise shape he wanted.

It will be seen at once that the simpler the line and the easier its
sweep the more likely the glass would be to break clean to the line,
whereas in the case of a jagged or irregular line there would always be
great danger that at any one sharp turn in it the fracture would take
that convenient opportunity of going in the way it should not. For
example, the south coast of Italy would be dangerous. You might draw the
line of the sole of the foot, but when it came to breaking the glass the
high heel would be sure to snap off (there is a little nick there
designed as if for the purpose of bringing about that catastrophe), and
similarly that over-delicate instep would certainly not bear the strain
put upon it, and would be bound to give way. It should be mentioned that
even were such pieces once safely cut (which would nowadays be possible)
the glass would surely crack at those points the first time there was
any pressure of wind upon the window, and so the prudent man would still
forestall that event by designing his glass as it could conveniently be
cut, without attempting any _tour de force_, and strengthening it at the
weak points with a line of lead, as has been done in the glass map
opposite. There is a jutting promontory on the coast of Africa, which,
even if safely cut, would be sure to break sooner or later at the point
indicated by the dotted line.

The scale of execution would determine whether each or any province
could be cut out of a single sheet of glass, but the lines of latitude
and longitude would give an opportunity of using often three or four
pieces of glass to a province without introducing lines which formed no
part of the design. That, however, would be contrary to early usage,
which was never to make use of the leads as independent lines, but only
as boundaries between two colours. There is a reason for this reticence.
You will see that in the surface of the sea, where the latitudinal and
longitudinal lines come in most usefully, it is necessary to use also
other leads, which mean nothing but that a joint is there desirable.
These constructional leads, when they merely break up a background, are
quite unobjectionable--they even give an opportunity of getting variety
in the colour of the ground--but when some of the leads are meant to
assert themselves as drawing lines and some are not, the result is
inevitably confused.

[Illustration: 2. THE WAY A WINDOW IS GLAZED.]

All that the glass gives us in our mosaic map is the local colour of
sea and land--the sea, let us say, dark blue, the countries, provinces,
and islands each of its own distinctive tint. When it comes to giving
their names, it would be possible indeed on a very large scale to cut
the letters out of glass of darker colour, and glaze them in as shown in
the title word "Italy." That would involve, as will be seen, a network
of connecting lead lines. On a much smaller scale there would be nothing
for it but to have recourse to the supplementary process, and paint
them. The words Germany, Austria, Turkey, Naples, Sicily, and the rest
would have to be simply painted in opaque colour upon the translucent
glass.

But, once we have begun to use paint, there are intermediate ways
between these two methods of inscription, either of which would be
adopted according to the scale of the lettering. These are shown in the
names of the seas. In the word "Mediterranean" each separate letter
would be cut out of a piece of glass, corresponding as nearly as
possible to its general outline or circumference, and its shape would be
made perfect by "painting out"--that is to say, by obscuring with solid
pigment that part of the glass (indicated by dots in the drawing) which
was meant to retire into the background. Presuming this wording to be in
a light colour and the background darkish, this amount of painting
would, as a matter of fact, be quite lost in the dark colour. In the
lesser descriptions "Tyrrhenian" and "Adriatic Sea," each separate word,
instead of each letter, would be cut out of one piece of glass (or
perhaps two in the longer words), and the background would be painted
out as already described.

Paint would further be used to indicate the rivers, the mountains, the
towns, or any other detail it was necessary to give, as well as to mark
such indentations in the coastline as were too minute to be followed by
the thick lead. As a matter of practice, it is usual to paint a marginal
line of opaque colour round the glass representing just a little more
than that portion eventually to be covered by the flange of the lead, so
as to make sure that that will not by any chance cut off from view what
may be an important feature in the design.

For example, the mere projection of a lead which too nearly approached
the delicate profile of a small face might easily destroy its outline.
The glazier's lead, it should be explained, is a wire of about a quarter
of an inch diameter, deeply grooved on two sides for the insertion of
the glass. Imagine the surfaces exposed to view on each face of the
window to be flattened, and you have a section very much like the letter
=H=, the uprights representing the flanges, and the cross-bar the "core,"
which holds them together and supports the glass mosaic.

The process of painting employed so far is of the simplest; it consists
merely in obscuring the glass with solid paint. This is laid on with a
long-haired pencil or "tracing brush." The paint itself may be mixed
with oil or gum and water, or any medium which will temporarily attach
it to the glass and disappear in the kiln; for the real fixing of the
paint is done solely by the action of the fire. The pigment employed
consists, that is to say, of per-oxides of iron and manganese ground up
with a sufficient amount of powdered flint-glass or some equivalent
silicate, which by the action of the fire is fused with the glass
(reduced to very nearly red heat), and becomes practically part and
parcel of it.

Whenever a glass painter speaks of painted glass that is what he
means--viz., that the colour is thus indelibly burnt in. After the
middle of the sixteenth century various metallic oxides were used to
produce various more or less transparent pigments (enamel colours as
they are called to distinguish them from the pot-metal colours), but in
the thirteenth century transparent enamel colours were as yet unknown to
the glass painter, and he confined himself to the solid deep brown
pigment already spoken of--an enamel also, strictly speaking, but by no
means to be confounded with the enamel colours of later centuries. Those
were colours used for colour's sake; this is simply an opaque substance
used solely on account of its capacity to stop out so much of the colour
of pot-metal glass as may be necessary in order to define form and give
the drawing of detail; and in effect the brown, when seen against the
light, does not tell as colour at all but merely as so much blackness.
The only colour in the window is the colour of the various component
pieces of glass. Thus in the case of an early figure (page 33) the face
would be cut out of a sheet of pinkish glass and the features painted
upon it in brown lines; each garment would be cut out of the tint it was
meant to be, and the folds of the drapery outlined upon the pot-metal.
In like manner a tree would be cut out of green glass, its stem perhaps
out of brown, and only the forms of the leaves, and their veining, if
any, would be traced in paint. In the execution of the map there is no
occasion for further painting than this simplest and fittest kind of
work, little more than the glazier would himself have done had his means
allowed him. And in the very earliest glass the painter was almost as
sparing of paint as this: he did, however--it was inevitable that he
should--use lines, whether in drawing the features of a face or the
folds of drapery, which were not quite solid, and which consequently
only deepened the colour of the pot-metal, and did not quite obscure it:
he went so far even as to pass a smear of still thinner colour, a half
tint or less, over portions of the glass which he wished to lower in
tone. He began, in fact, however tentatively, to introduce shading.
Happily he was careful always to use it only as a softening influence in
his design, and never to sacrifice to it anything of the intrinsic
beauty and brilliancy of his glass.

The glass duly painted and burnt, the puzzle would be put together again
on the bench, and bands of lead, grooved at each side to admit and hold
the glass, would be inserted between the two pieces. These would be
soldered together at the joints where two leads met; a putty-like
composition or "cement" would be rubbed into the interstices between
lead and glass to stiffen it, and make it air-and water-tight; and, that
done, the window was finished.

It would only remain (what would in practice have been done before
cementing) to solder to the leads at intervals sundry loose ends of
copper-wire, eventually to be twisted round the iron saddle bars let
into the stone framework of the window to support it; it would then be
ready to be fixed in its place.

In contradistinction to the mosaic method of execution adopted by the
thirteenth century glazier, a glass painter of the eighteenth century,
and perhaps of the seventeenth, would, even though there were no
necessity for longitudinal and latitudinal lines, cut up his window into
oblong pieces of convenient size, only, of course, parallel and at right
angles to one another.

The sea he might or might not glaze in blue glass; here and there
perhaps, but not necessarily at all, an occasional province might be
leaded in with a piece of pot-metal; but for the most part he would use
panes of white glass, and rely for the colour of the provinces upon
enamel. He would have no need to separate his enamel colours by a line
of lead, and where he wanted a dividing line he would just paint it in
opaque brown. This method of glass painting forms an altogether separate
division of the subject, not yet under discussion. It is referred to
here only by way of contrast, and to emphasise the fact that, though we
are in the habit of using the term stained glass rather loosely--though
a stained glass window is almost invariably helped out to some extent by
painting (unless it be what is technically known as "leaded glass" or
"plain glazing"), and though a painted window is seldom altogether
innocent of glass that is stained--there are, as a matter of fact, two
methods of producing coloured windows, the mosaic and the enamelled; and
that however customary it may be to eke out either method by the other
more or less, windows divide themselves into two broad divisions,
according as it is pot-metal or enamel upon which the artist relies for
his effect.

Between these two widely different ideals there are all manners and all
degrees of compromise, and methods were employed which, to describe at
this point, would only complicate matters. It will be my purpose
presently to describe in detail the steps by which mere glazing
developed into painted glass, and how painting came to supersede
glazing; to show in how far painting was a help to the glazier, and in
how far it was to his hurt; to describe, in short, the progress of the
glass painter's art, to better and to worse; and to distinguish, as far
as may be, the principles which govern or should govern it.

[Illustration: 3. ANCIENT ARAB WINDOW.]



CHAPTER III.

GLAZING.


The art of the glass painter was at first only the art of the glazier.
To say that may seem like self-contradiction. But it is not so. On the
contrary, it is almost literally the truth; and it is difficult to find
words which would more vividly express the actual fact.

We are accustomed to think of a painter as using pigment always in some
liquid form, and applying it to wood or plaster, canvas or paper, with a
brush. Should he lay it on with a palette knife, as he sometimes does,
it is painting still. If he could by any possibility put together his
colours in mid-air without the aid of paper, canvas, or other solid
substance, it would still be painting. This is very much what the worker
in stained glass, by the help of strips of intervening lead, practically
succeeded in doing.

As a painter places side by side dabs of paint, so the glazier put side
by side little pieces of coloured glass. (Glass, you see, was the medium
in which his colour was fixed, just as oil, varnish, wax, or gum is the
vehicle in which the painter's pigment is ordinarily held in
suspension.) He could execute in this way upon the bench or the sloped
easel quite an elaborate pattern in coloured glass; and although, in
order to hold the parts together in a window frame, he had perforce to
resort to some sort of binding, in lead or what not, he may still
reasonably be said, if not actually to have painted in glass, at all
events to have worked in it. In fact, until about the twelfth century,
there were no glass painters, but only glaziers. Nay, more, it is to
glaziers that we owe the glory of the thirteenth century windows, in
which, be it remembered, each separate touch of colour is represented by
a separate piece of glass, and each separate piece of glass is bounded
by a framework of lead connecting it with the neighbouring pieces,
whilst the detail added by the painter goes for not very much.

[Illustration: 4. ARAB WINDOW LATTICE, GEOMETRIC.]

No strictly defined, nor indeed any approximate, date can safely be
given at which the art of the glass-worker sprang into existence. Arts
do not spring into existence; they grow, developing themselves in most
cases very slowly. The art of working in stained glass can only have
been the result of a species of evolution. The germ of it lay in the
circumstance that glass was originally made in comparatively small
pieces (there were no large sheets of glass a thousand years or more
ago), and so it was necessary, in order to glaze any but the smallest
window opening, that these small pieces should be in some way cemented
together. It followed naturally, in days when art was a matter of
every-day concern, the common flower of wayside craftsmanship, that the
idea of putting these pieces together in more or less ornamental
fashion, should occur to the workman, since they must be put together
somehow; and so, almost as a matter of course, would be developed the
mosaic of transparent glass, which was undoubtedly the form stained
glass windows first took.

It has been suggested that in some of the earliest windows the glazing
is meant to take the form of tesseræ; but the examples instanced in
support of that idea afford very little ground for supposing any such
intention on the part of the first glass-workers. It may more reasonably
be presumed that any resemblance there may be between early glass and
earlier wall mosaic comes of working in the same way; like methods
inevitably lead to like results.

It is by no means certain, even, that the first glaziers were directly
inspired by mosaic, whether of marble or of opaque glass. They were
probably much more immediately influenced by the work of the enameller.

That may appear at the first mention strange, considering what has been
said about the absolute divergence between mosaic and enamelled glass.
But it must be remembered that enamelling itself among the Lombard
Franks, the Merovingians, and the Anglo-Saxons, was a very different
thing from what the Limousin made it in the sixteenth century. It was,
in fact, a quite different operation, the only point in common between
the two being that they were executed in vitreous colour upon a metal
ground. The enamel referred to as having probably influenced the early
glazier is of the severer kinds familiar in Byzantine work, and known as
_champlevé_ and _cloisonné_. In the one, you know, the design is scooped
out of the metal ground, in the other its outline is bent in flat wire
and soldered to the ground. In either case the resulting cells are
filled with coloured paste, which, under the action of the fire,
vitrifies and becomes embodied with the metal. In _champlevé_ enamel
naturally the metal ground is usually a distinguishing feature. In
_cloisonné_ the ground as well as the pattern is, of course, in enamel;
but in either case the outlines, and, indeed, all drawing lines, are in
metal. In _cloisonné_ enamel the metal "_cloisons_," as they are called,
fulfil precisely the function of the leads in glass windows; and it
would have been more convenient to have left altogether out of account
the sister process, were it not that, in the painting of quite early
glass, the strokes with which the lines of the drapery and suchlike are
rendered, bear quite unmistakable likeness to the convention of the
Byzantine worker in _champlevé_. For that matter, one sees also in very
early altar-pieces painted on wood, where gold is used for marking the
folds of drapery, the very obvious inspiration of Byzantine enamel--but
that is rather by the way.

[Illustration: 5. ARAB LATTICE, GEOMETRIC.]

The popular idea of an early window is that of a picture, or series of
pictures, very imperfectly rendered. It may much more justly be likened
to a magnified plaque of Byzantine enamel with the light shining through
it. The Byzantine craftsman, or his descendants, at all events, did
produce, in addition to the ordinary opaque enamel, a translucent kind,
in imitation presumably of precious stones; and it might very well be
that it was from thence the glazier first derived the idea of coloured
windows. Quite certainly that was nearer to his thoughts than any form
of painting, as we understand painting nowadays; and, what is more, had
he aimed deliberately at the effect of enamel (as practised in his day),
he could not have got much nearer to it. His proceeding was almost
identical with that of the enamel worker. In place of vitreous pastes he
used glass itself; in place of brass, lead; and, for supplementary
detail, in place of engraved lines, lines traced in paint. Side by side
with the early European window glazing, and most likely before it, there
was practised in the East a form of stained glass window building of
which no mention has yet been made. In the East, also, windows were from
an early date built up of little pieces of coloured glass; but the
Mohammedan law forbidding all attempt at pictorial representation of
animate things, there was no temptation to employ painting; the glazier
could do all he wanted without it. His plan was to pierce small openings
in large slabs of stone, and in the piercings to set numerous little
jewels of coloured glass. The Romans, by the way, appear also to have
sometimes filled window spaces with slabs of marble framing discs of
coloured glass, but these were comparatively wide apart, more like
separate window-lets, each glazed with its small sheet of coloured
glass. The Oriental windows, on the contrary, were most elaborately
designed, the piercings taking the form of intricate patterns, geometric
or floral. Sometimes the design would include an inscription ingeniously
turned to ornamental use after the manner of the Moorish decorators of
the Alhambra (page 15). A further development of the Oriental idea was
to imbed the glass in plaster, a process easy enough before the plaster
had set hard. This kind of thing is common enough in Cairo to this day,
and specimens of it are to be found at the South Kensington Museum.

M. Vogué illustrates in his book, _La Syrie Centrale_, an important
series of windows in the Mosque of Omar (Temple of Jerusalem), erected
in 1528, by Sultan Soliman. The plaster, says M. Vogué, was strengthened
by ribs of iron and rods of cane imbedded in the stouter divisions of
the framework, a precaution not necessary in the smaller Cairene
lattices (measuring as a rule about four superficial feet), in which the
pattern is simply scooped out of the half-dry plaster.

[Illustration: 6. ARAB LATTICE, FLORAL.]

The piercings in these Oriental windows and window lattices are not made
at right angles to the slab of stone or plaster, but are cut through at
an angle, varying according to the position and height of the window,
with a view to as little interference as possible with the coloured
light. The glass, however, being fixed nearest the outside of the
window, there is always both shadow and reflection from the deep sides
of the openings, much to the enhancement of the mellowness and mystery
of colour. In the Temple windows referred to, still further subtlety of
effect is arrived at by an outer screen or lattice of _faïence_. Thus
subdued and tempered, even crude glass may be turned to beautiful
account.

Whence the mediæval Arabs got their glass, and the quality of the
material, are matters of conjecture. If we may judge by the not very
ancient specimens which reach us in this country, the glass used in
Cairene lattices is generally thin and raw; but set, as above described,
in jewels as it were, isolated each in its separate shadow cell, the
poorest material looks rich. The lattices here illustrated are none of
them of very early period; but, where the character of design is so
traditional and changes so slowly, the actual date of the work, always
difficult to determine, matters little.

[Illustration: 7. ARAB GLAZING IN PLASTER.]

It is more than probable, it is almost certain, that the Venetian
glass-workers, who in the tenth century brought their art to France,
were familiar with the coloured lattices of the Levant; for, as we know,
in the middle-ages Venice was the great trading port of Italy, in
constant communication with the East. If that was so, the Italians,
always prone to imitate, would be sure to found their practice, as they
did in other crafts, more or less upon Persian and Arabian models. At
all events, there is every reason to suppose that at first they,
practically speaking, only did in lead what the Eastern artificer did in
stone or plaster, and that the windows which, according to various
trustworthy but vague accounts, adorned the early Christian basilicas as
early as the sixth century, bore strong likeness to Mohammedan
glass--Christianised, so to speak. This is not to unsay what was before
said about the affinity of early glass to enamel. A river has not of
necessity one only and unmistakable source; and though we may not be
able to trace back through the distant years the very fountain of this
craft, we may quite certainly affirm that its current was swollen by
more than one side-stream, and that its course was shaped by all manner
of obstinate circumstances and conditions of the time, before it went to
join the broad and brimming stream of early mediæval art.

[Illustration: 8. ARAB GLAZING IN PLASTER.]

One more source, at least, there was at which the early glazier drew
inspiration--namely, the art of jewel setting. Coloured glass, as was
said a while ago, was itself probably first made only in imitation of
precious stones, and, being made in small pieces, it had to be set
somewhat in the manner of jewellery. In all probability the enameller
himself wrought at first only in imitation of jewellery, and afterwards
in emulation with it.

Just as white glass was called crystal, and no doubt passed for it, so
coloured glass actually went by the name of ruby, sapphire, emerald, and
so on. It is recorded even (falsely, of course) how sapphires were
ground to powder and mixed with glass to give it its deep blue colour;
indeed, this wilful confusion of terms goes far to explain the mystery
of the monster jewels of which we read in history or the fable which not
so very long ago passed for it. Stories of diamond thrones and emerald
tables seem to lead straight into fairyland; but the glass-worker
explains such fancies, and brings us back again to reality.

Bearing in mind, then, the preciousness of glass, and the well-kept
secrecy with regard to its composition, it is not beyond the bounds of
supposition that the glazier of the dark ages not only intended
deliberately to imitate jewellery, but meant that his glass should pass
with the ignorant (we forget how very ignorant the masses were) for
veritably precious stones.

Even though we exempt glaziers from all charge of trickery, it was
inevitable that they should attempt to rival the work of the jeweller,
and to do in large what he had done only in small. That certainly they
did, and with such success that, even when it comes to glass of the
twelfth, and, indeed, of the thirteenth century, when already pictorial
considerations begin to enter the mind of the artist, the resemblance is
unmistakable.

[Illustration: 9. ARAB GLAZING IN PLASTER.]

Try to describe the effect of an early mosaic window, and you are
compelled to liken it to jewellery. Jewelled is the only term which
expresses it. And the earlier it is the more jewel-like it is in effect.

So long as the workman looked upon his glass as a species of jewellery,
it followed, as a matter of course, from the very estimation in which he
held his material, that he did not think of obscuring it by
paint--defiling it, as he would have held. It is not so much that he
would have been ashamed to depend on the painter to put his colour
right, as that the thought of such a thing never entered his mind; he
was a glazier. It was the painter first thought of that, and his time
had not yet come.

Possibly it may have occurred to the reader, _apropos_ of the diagram on
page 10, in which it was shown how far the glazier could go towards the
production of a map in glass, that that was not far. Certainly he does
not go very far towards making a chart of any geographical value, but he
does go a long way towards making a window; for the first and foremost
qualities in coloured glass are colour and translucency--and for
translucent colour the glazier, after the glass-maker, is alone
responsible. It is in some respects very much to be deplored that the
Gothic craftsman so early took to the use of supplementary painting,
which in the end diverted his attention from a possible development of
his craft in a direction not only natural to it but big with
possibilities never to this day realised.

Of richly jewelled Gothic glass all innocent of paint, no single window
remains to us; but there are fairly numerous examples extant of pattern
windows glazed in white glass, whether in obedience to the Cistercian
rule which forbade colour, or with a view to letting light into the
churches--and it is to churches, prevalent as domestic glass may once
have been, we must now go for our Gothic windows.

[Illustration: 10. GLAZING IN PLASTER, SOUTH KENSINGTON MUSEUM.]

Some of this white pattern work is ascribed to a period almost as early
as that of any glass we know; but it is almost impossible to speak
positively as to the date of anything so extremely simple in its
execution; in which there is no technique of painting to tell tales; and
which, when once "storied" windows came into fashion, was probably left
to the tender mercies of lesser craftsmen, who may not have disdained to
save themselves the trouble of design, and to repeat the old, old
patterns.

The earlier glazier, it was said, painted, figuratively speaking, in
glass. It is scarcely a figure of speech to say that he drew in
leadwork.

This mode of draughtsmanship was employed in all strictly mosaic glass;
but it is in the white windows (or the pale green windows, which were
the nearest he could get to white, and which it is convenient to call
white) that this drawing with the leads is most apparent--in patterns,
that is to say, in which the design is formed entirely by the leadwork.

You have only to look at such patterns as Nos. 11 to 17, to see how this
was so; they are all designed in outline, and the outline is given in
lead. It is perfectly plain there how every separate line the glazier
laid down in charcoal upon his bench stood for a strip of lead. And,
looking at the glass, we see that it is the lead which makes the
pattern. It is no straining of terms to call this designing in the
lead. The ingenuity in designing such patterns as those below and
opposite, which is very considerable, consists in so scheming them that
every lead line shall fulfil alike a constructive and an artistic
function; that is to say, that every line in the design shall be
necessary to its artistic effect, that there shall be no lead line which
is not an outline, no outline which is not a lead.

[Illustration: 11. PLAIN GLAZING, BONLIEU.]

It is not always that the glazier was so conscientious as this. M.
Viollet le Duc pointed out, in the most helpful article in his famous
Dictionary of Architecture, under the head of _Vitrail_, how in the
little window from Bonlieu, here illustrated, the mediæval craftsman
resorted to a dodge, more ingenious than ingenuous, by which he managed
to economise labour. Each separate lead line there does not enclose a
separate piece of glass. The lines are all of lead; but some of them are
mere dummies, strips of metal, holding nothing, carried across the face
of the glass only, and soldered on to the more businesslike leads at
each end. The extent of _bonâ fide_ glazing is indicated in the
right-hand corner of the drawing. I confess I was inclined at first to
think that Viollet le Duc might, in ascribing this glass to the twelfth
century, very possibly have dated it too far back; for this is the kind
of trick one would more naturally expect from the later and more
sophisticated workman; but I have since come upon the same device
myself, both at Reims and Châlons, in work certainly as old as the
thirteenth century. You see, cutting the glass was the difficulty in
those days, and sometimes it was shirked.

It should be noted that the subterfuge employed at Bonlieu and in the
specimens from Châlons, opposite, was not in order to evade any
difficulty in glazing--the designs present none--but merely to save
trouble. There would have been more occasion for evasion in executing
the design from Aix-la-Chapelle (14), where the sharp points of the
fleur-de-lys give background shapes difficult for the glazier to cut. It
will be noticed that to the left of the panel one of the points joins
the necking-piece, which holds the fleur-de-lys together. That is a much
more practical piece of glazing than the free point, which presents a
difficulty in cutting the background, indicative of the late period to
which the glass belongs. The earlier mediæval glazier worked with
primitive tools, which kept him perforce within the bounds of simplicity
and dignified restraint.

[Illustration: 12. CHÂLONS.]

In white windows, so called, he did not by any means confine himself
wholly to the use of what it is convenient to call "white glass." From a
very early date, perhaps from the very first, he would enrich it with
some slight amount of colour. Having devised, as it were, a lattice of
white lines, as in the left-hand pattern from Salisbury (overleaf), it
was a very simple thing to fill here and there a division of his design
with a piece of coloured instead of white glass, as in the pattern next
to it in order. The third pattern, to the right, shows how he would even
introduce a separate jewel of colour, perhaps painted, which had to be
connected with the design by leads forming no part of the pattern.

[Illustration: 13. CHÂLONS.]

Colour spots are more ingeniously introduced in the example from
Brabourne Church, Kent, (said to be Norman) where the darker tints are
ingeniously thrown into the background. But here again, although this is
perhaps as early a specimen of glazing as we have in this country, the
glazier resorts in his central rosettes to the aid of paint.

[Illustration: 14. AIX-LA-CHAPELLE.]

[Illustration: 15. SOUTH TRANSEPT, SALISBURY.]

It will be observed that in the marginal lines which frame this window,
and again in the white bands in two out of the three patterns from
Salisbury, leads are introduced which have only a constructional use,
and rather confuse the design. That they do not absolutely destroy it is
due to its marked simplicity, and to the proportion of the narrow bands
to the broad spaces. This is yet more clearly marked in the very
satisfactory glazing designs from S. Serge at Angers. The fact is, there
is a limit to the possibilities of design, such as that from Sens (page
96), in which literally only four leads (viz., those from the points of
the central diamond shape) are introduced wholly and solely for
strength; and when it comes to windows of any considerable size, such as
clerestory windows, to which plain glazing is peculiarly suited, leads
which merely strengthen become absolutely necessary. The art of the
designer consists in so scheming them that they shall not seriously
interfere with the pattern.

[Illustration: 16. BRABOURNE CHURCH KENT.]

Were the pattern in lines of colour upon white, the crosslines
strengthening them would of course be lost in the darker tint; but, as
it happens, we do not find in the earliest glazing lines of interlacing
colour, though they occur by way of border lines, as at S. Serge
(below), where a marginal line of yellow is enclosed between strips of
white.

[Illustration: 17. S. SERGE, ANGERS.]

The interlacing character of several of the white glazing patterns
illustrated betrays of course Romanesque influence; but there would not
have been so many designs consisting of interlacing bands of white upon
a white ground, enclosing, at intervals more or less rare, what had best
be called jewels of colour, had it not been that the forms of
interlacing strapwork lend themselves kindly to glazing.

Every time a strap disappears, as it were, behind another, you have just
the break in its continuity which the glazier desires, and if only the
interlacings are frequent enough (as on page 96) they give him all he
wants.

So far the examples illustrated are, for the most part, in outline; that
is to say, on a ground of white the pattern appears as a network of
leads, flowing or geometric as the case may be, emphasised here and
there by a touch of dark colour, focussing them as it were. Without such
points of colour a design looks sometimes too much like a mere outline,
meant to be filled in with colour, and, in short, unfinished; but as yet
the darker and lighter tints of white are not used to emphasise the
pattern, as they would have done if, for example, the interlacing straps
had been glazed in a slightly purer white than the ground. On the
contrary, notwithstanding the very great variety in the tints of
greenish-white, which resulted from the chemically imperfect manufacture
of the glass, they were employed very much at haphazard, and so far from
ever defining the design, go to obviate anything harsh or mechanical
there may be in it. There is else, of course, a tendency in geometric
pattern to look too merely geometric. One wants always to feel it is a
window that is there, and not just so many feet of diaper.

Another practical form of design is that in which it is not the network
of leads, but the spaces they inclose, which constitutes the pattern;
where lines are not so much thought of as masses; where the main
consideration is colour, and contour is of quite secondary account. The
leads fulfil still their artistic function of marking the division of
the colours, as they fulfil the practical one of binding the bits of
coloured glass together; the glazier still draws in lead lines; but
attention is not called to them especially; indeed, with identically the
same lead lines one could produce two or three quite different effects,
according as one emphasised by stronger colour one series of shapes or
another. In the case of a framework of strictly geometric lines,
straight or curved, one gets patterns such as we see in marble inlay.
The slab of marble mosaic and the stained glass border opposite are more
than alike; the one is simply a carrying further of the other. The glass
design might just as well have been executed in marble, or the marble
design in glass. In the upper church at Assisi are some borders of
geometric inlay, one of which is given on page 96, identical in
character with the minute geometric inlay (which, by the way, was also
in glass, though opaque), with which the Cosmati illuminated, so to
speak, their marble shrines and monuments. This species of pattern work,
appropriate as it is to glass mosaic, transparent as well as opaque,
does not seem to have been much used in glass, even in Italy; where it
does occur it is in association, as at Assisi and Orvieto, with painted
work of the thirteenth or fourteenth century, though from its Byzantine
character it might as well be centuries earlier. It appears that this,
which was, theoretically, the simplest and most obvious form of leaded
pattern work, and might, therefore, well have been the earliest, was
never adopted to anything like the extent to which interlacing ornament
was carried.

[Illustration: 18. MARBLE MOSAIC, ROMAN.]

[Illustration: 19. GLASS, ORVIETO.]

Mediæval glaziers did not attempt anything like foliated ornament in
leaded glass, and for good reason. In such work the difficulty of doing
without lines detrimental to the design is greatly increased, whereas
abstract forms you can bend to your will, as you can bend your strip of
lead. The more natural the forms employed the more nature has to be
considered in rendering them, and nature declines to go always in the
direction of simple glazing. It might seem easy enough (to those who do
not know the difficulty) to glaze together bits of heart-shaped green
glass for leaves, and red for petals, with a dot of yellow for the eye
of the flower, and to make use of the lead not only for outlines but for
the stalks of the leaves and so on, all on a paler ground; but it is not
so easy as that. The designer cannot go far without wanting other
connecting leads (besides those used for the stalk); and when some leads
are meant very emphatically to be seen and some to be ignored, there is
no knowing what the actual effect may be: the drawing lines may be quite
lost in a network of connecting leads. Again, the mediæval glazier did
not, so far as we have any knowledge, build up in lead glazing a boldly
pronounced pattern, light on dark or dark on light. This he might
easily have done. On a small scale plain glazing must perforce be
modest; but, given a scale large enough, almost any design in silhouette
can be expressed in plain glazing. You may want in that case plenty of
purely constructional leads, not meant to be seen, or in any case meant
to be ignored; but if the contrast between design and background be only
strong enough (say colour on white or white on colour), they do not in
the least hurt the general effect. On the contrary, they are of the
utmost use to the workman who knows his materials, enabling him to get
that infinite variety of colour which is the crowning charm of glass.

What the designer of leaded glass had to consider was, in the first
place, the difficulty of shaping the pieces. That is now no longer very
great, thanks to the diamond, which makes cutting so easy that there is
even a danger lest the workman's skill of hand may outrun his judgment,
and tempt him to indulge in useless _tours de force_. The absurdity of
taking the greatest possible pains to the least possible purpose is
obvious. The more important consideration is now, therefore, the
substantiality of the window once made. Think of the force of a gale of
wind and its pressure upon the window: it is tremendous; and glazing
does not long keep a smooth face before it. Except there is a solid iron
bar to keep it in place, it soon bulges inwards, and presents a surface
as undulous, on a smaller scale, as the pavement of St. Mark's; and, as
it begins to yield, snap go the awkwardly shaped pieces of glass which
the glazier has been at such pains to cut. The mediæval artist,
therefore, exercised no more than common sense, when he shaped the
pieces of glass he employed with a view to security, avoiding sharp
turns or elbows in the glass, or very long and narrow strips, or even
very acutely pointed wedge-shaped pieces. No doubt the difficulty of
cutting helped to keep him in the way he should go; probably, also, he
was under no temptation to indulge in pieces of glass so large that,
incapable of yielding, they were bound to break under pressure of the
wind. That he sometimes used pieces so small as in time to get clogged
with dust and dirt, was owing to the natural desire to use up the
precious fragments which, under his clumsy system of cutting, must have
accumulated in great quantity. Where most he showed his mastery was, in
foreseeing where the strain would come, and introducing always a lead
joint where the crack might occur, anticipating and warding off the
danger to come. He was workman enough frankly to accept the limitations
of his trade. Occasionally (as at Bonlieu) he may have shirked work; but
he accommodated himself to the nature of his materials. Never pretending
to do what he could not, he betrayed neither its weakness nor his own.

Mere _glazing_ has here been discussed at a length which perhaps neither
existing work of the kind nor the modern practice of the craft (more is
the pity) might seem to demand. It is the most modest, the rudest even,
of stained glass; but it is the beginning and the foundation of glass
window making, and it affects most deeply even the fully developed art
of the sixteenth century.

The leading of a window is the framework of its design, the skeleton to
be filled out presently and clothed in colour; and, if the anatomy is
wrong, nothing will ever make the picture right. The leads are the
bones, which it is necessary to study, even though they were
intrinsically without interest, for on them depends the form which shall
eventually charm us. Beauty is not skin deep: it is the philosophy of
the poet which is shallow.



CHAPTER IV.

EARLY MOSAIC WINDOWS.


It has been explained already at how very early a period "stained" glass
begins also to be "painted" glass more or less.

But for the fond desire to be something more than an artist--to teach,
to preach, to tell a story--the glazier would possibly have been quite
content with the mere jewellery of glass, and might have gone on for
years, and for generations, using his pot-metal as it left the pot. As
it was, working always in the service of the Church, in whose eyes it
was of much more importance that a window should be "storied" than that
it should be "richly dight," he found it necessary from the first to
adopt the use of paint--not, as already explained, for the purpose of
giving colour, but of shutting it out, or at most modifying it. His work
was still essentially, and in the first place, mosaic. He conceived his
window, that is to say, as made up of a multiplicity of little pieces of
coloured glass, the outlines supplied, for the most part, by the strong
lines of connecting leadwork, and the details traced in lines of opaque
pigment. He still designed with the leads, as I have expressed it, and
throughout the thirteenth century (though less emphatically than in the
twelfth) his design is commonly quite legible at a distance at which the
painted detail is altogether lost; but in designing his leads he had
always in view, of course, that they were to be helped out by paint.

In the late thirteenth century or early fourteenth century figure from
Troyes, on page 336, which depends very little indeed upon any painted
detail to be deciphered, the lighter figure glazed upon a ground of dark
trellis-work is not only readable, but suggestive of considerable
feeling; and in the undoubtedly fourteenth century figure on page 241,
where, with the exception of the hands and face, there is absolutely no
indication of the paint with which the artist eventually completed his
drawing, there is no mistaking the recumbent figure of Jesse, even
without any help of colour. But the earlier the glass, the less was
there of painting, and the more the burden of design fell upon the
glazier. The two figures from Le Mans, here given (generally allowed to
belong to about the year 1100) show very plainly both the amount and the
character of the painting used, and the extent to which the design
depends upon it. There is no mistake about the value of the lead lines
there, or the extreme simplicity of the painted detail.

[Illustration: 20. FIGURES FROM ASCENSION, LE MANS.]

It will be seen that paint is there used for three purposes: to paint
out the ground round about the feet, hands, and faces; to mark the folds
of the drapery, and just an indication of shading upon it; and to
blacken the hair. It was only in thus rendering the human hair that the
earliest craftsman ever used paint as local colour. In that case he had
a way of scraping out of it lines of light to indicate detail. If such
lines showed too bright, it was easy to tone them down with a film of
thinner paint. In these particular figures from Le Mans the artist had
not yet arrived at that process; but from the very first it was a quite
common custom, instead of painting very small ornamental detail, to
obscure the glass with solid pigment, and then scrape out the ornament.

[Illustration: 21. HITCHIN CHURCH.]

The fact is, that in early windows a much larger proportion of the glass
is obscured, and had need to be obscured, than would be supposed. It
will be seen what a considerable area of paint surrounds the feet of the
two apostles on page 33. This is partly owing to the then difficulty of
exactly shaping the pieces of glass employed; but it is largely due to
the actual necessity of sufficient area of dark to counteract the
tendency of the lighter shades of glass, such as the brownish-pink
employed for flesh tints, to spread their rays and obliterate the
drawing. Not only would the extremely attenuated fingers, shown in the
scraps from Hitchin Church above look quite well fleshed in the glass,
but it was essential that they should be so painted in order to come out
satisfactorily--that is, without the aid of shading, to which painters
did not yet much resort. On the contrary, they were at first very chary
of half tint--employing it, indeed, for the rounding of flesh and so on,
but not to degrade the colour of the glass, small though their palette
was.

[Illustration: 22. S. REMI, REIMS.]

Something, however, had to be done to prevent especially the whites,
yellows, and pale blues, and in some degree all but the dark colours,
from taking more than their due part in the general effect. It was not
always possible to reduce the area of the glass of an aggressive tint to
the dimensions required. To have reduced a line of white, for example,
to the narrowness at which it would tell for what was wanted, would have
been to make it so narrow that the accumulation of dust and dirt
between the leads would soon have clogged it and blotted it out
altogether. What they did was to paint it heavily with pattern. For
example, they would paint out great part of a white line and leave only
a row of beads, with so much paint between and around them that
certainly not more than one-third of the area of the glass was left
clear, and the effect at the right distance (as at Angers, page 116)
would be that of a continuous string of pearls. They would in the same
way paint a strip of glass solid, and merely pick out a zig-zag or some
such pattern upon it, with or without a marginal thread of light on each
side (Le Mans). Rather than lower the brightness of the glass by a tint
of pigment they would coat it with solid brown, and pick out upon it a
minute diaper of cross-hatched lines and dots, by that means reducing
the volume of transmitted light without much interfering with its purity
(S. Remi, Reims, below). Diaper of more interesting kind afforded a
ready means of lowering shades of glass which were too light or too
bright for the purpose required, and for supplying in effect the
deficiencies of the pot-metal palette. Overleaf are some fragments of
diaper pattern so picked out, from Canterbury, which would possibly
never have been devised if the designer had had to his hand just the
shade of blue glass he wanted. Something certainly of the elaboration of
pattern which distinguishes the earliest glass comes of the desire to
qualify its colour. Viollet le Duc endeavours to explain with scientific
precision which are the colours which spread most, and how they spread.
His analysis is useful as well as interesting; but absolute definition
of the effect of radiation is possible only with regard to a rigidly
fixed range of colours to which no colourist would ever confine himself.
A man gets by experience to know the value of his colours in their
place, and thinks out his scheme accordingly. He puts, as a matter of
course, more painting into pale draperies than into dark, and so on; but
to a great extent he acts upon that subtle sort of reasoning which we
call feeling. Intuition it may be, but it is the intuition of a man who
knows.

The simple method of early execution went hand in hand with equal
simplicity of design--the one almost necessitated the other--and the
earlier the window the more plainly is its pattern pronounced, light
against dark, or, less usually, (as in some most interesting remains of
very early glass from Châlons now at the _Musée des Arts Décoratifs_ at
Paris) in full, strong colour upon white. In twelfth century work
especially, figures and ornament alike are always frankly shown _en
silhouette_. Witness the design on pages 33 and 115. Similar relief or
isolation of the figure against the background is shown in the
thirteenth century bishops, occupying two divisions of a rose window at
Salisbury, on page 275; and again in the little subject from Lyons,
where S. Peter is being led off by the gaoler to prison.

[Illustration: 23. CANTERBURY CATHEDRAL.]

In proportion as the aim of the artist becomes more pictorial he groups
his figures more in clumps (you see indications of that at Canterbury),
whence comes much of the confusion of effect characteristic of the
thirteenth century as it advances, not in this respect in the direction
of improvement. In his haste to tell a story he tells it less
effectively. Where an early subject is unintelligible (supposing it to
be in good preservation) it is almost invariably owing to the figures
not being clearly enough cut out against the background. Isolation of
the design seems to be a necessary condition of success in glass of the
simple, scarcely painted, kind. In ornament, where the artist had
nothing to think of but artistic effect, he invariably and to a much
later period defined it unmistakably against contrasting colour. That is
illustrated on page 117, part of a thirteenth century window at
Salisbury, and in the border below, as well as various others of the
period, pages 129, 130, and elsewhere.

[Illustration: 24. POITIERS CATHEDRAL. (Compare with 59.)]

It is the almost unanimous verdict of the inexpert that the lead lines
very seriously detract from the beauty of early windows. How much more
beautiful they would be, it is said, without those ugly black lines!
Possibly the expert and the lover of old glass have unconsciously
brought themselves not to see what they do not want to see; and the
leads may, soberly and judiciously speaking, seriously interfere with
the form of the design. But, in the first place, the beauty of early
glass is in its colour, not in its form. That is very clearly shown in
the illustrations to this chapter and the next; which give,
unfortunately, nothing of the beauty and real glory of the glass, but
only its design and execution; they appear perhaps in black and white so
merely grotesque, that it may be difficult to any one not familiar with
the glass itself to understand why so much should be said in its praise.
In reality the lack of beauty, especially apparent in the figure drawing
of the early glass painters when reduced to monochrome, taken in
conjunction with the magnificent effect of many of the earliest windows
(which no colourist has ever yet been known to deny) is proof in itself
how entirely their art depended upon colour--colour, it should be added,
of a quality quite unapproachable by any other medium than that of
translucent glass or actual jewellery. No one who appreciates at
anything like its full value the magnificence of that colour will think
the interference of occasional lead lines a heavy price to pay for it.

[Illustration: 25. S. KUNIBERT, COLOGNE.]

For--and this is the second point to be explained in reference to
leading--the leads, were they never so objectionable, are actually the
price we pay for the glory of early glass. It is by their aid we get
those mosaics of pot-metal, the depth and richness of which to this day,
with all our science of chemistry, we cannot approach by any process of
enamelling. Moreover, though merely constructional leads, taking a
direction contrary to the design, may at times disturb the eye, (they
scarcely ever disturb the effect) they add to the richness of the glass
in a way its unlearned admirers little dream. Not only is the depth and
intensity of the colour very greatly enhanced by the deep black setting
of lead, a veritable network of shade in which jewels of bright colour
are caught, but it is by the use of a multiplicity of small pieces of
glass (instead of a single sheet, out of which the drapery of a figure
could be cut all in one piece--the ideal of the ignorant!), that the
supreme beauty of colour is reached. Examine the bloom of a peach or of
a child's complexion, and see how it is made up of specks of blue and
grey and purple and yellow amongst the pink and white of which it is
supposed to consist. Every artist, of course, knows that a colour is
beautiful according to the variety in it; and a "Ruby" background (as it
is usually called), which is made up of little bits of glass of various
shades of red, not only crimson, scarlet, and orange, but purple and
wine-colour of all shades from deepest claret to tawny port, is as far
beyond what is possible in a sheet of even red glass as the colour of a
lady's hand is beyond the possible competition of pearl powder or a pink
kid glove. Not only, therefore, were the small pieces of glass in early
windows, and the consequent leads, inevitable, but they are actually at
the very root of its beauty; and the artificer of the dark ages was
wiser in his generation than the children of this era of enlightenment.
He did not butt his head against immovable obstacles, but built upon
them as a foundation. Hence his success, and in it a lesson to the
glazier for all time--which was taken to heart (as will be shown
presently) by craftsmen even of a period too readily supposed to have
been given over entirely to painting upon glass.

Let there be no misunderstanding about what is claimed for the earliest
windows. The method of mosaic, eked out with a minimum of tracing in
opaque pigment, does not lend itself very kindly to picture; and it is
in ornament that the thirteenth century glazier is pre-eminent. There is
even something barbaric about the splendour of his achievement. Might it
not be said that in all absolutely ornamental decoration there is
something of the barbaric?--which may go to account for the rarity of
real ornament, or any true appreciation of it, among modern people.

We might not have to scratch the civilised man very deep to reach the
savage in him, but he is, at all events, sophisticated enough to have
lost his unaffected delight in strong bright colours and "meaningless"
twistings of ornament. Be that as it may, the figure work of the
thirteenth century window designer is distinctly less perfect than his
scrolls and suchlike, partly, it is true, because of his inadequate
figure drawing, but partly also because his materials were not well
adapted to anything remotely like pictorial representation. The figures
in his subjects have, as before said, to be cut out against the
background in order to be intelligible. Hence a stiff and ultra-formal
scheme of design, and also a certain exaggeration of attitude, which in
the hands of a _naïve_ and sometimes almost childish draughtsman becomes
absolutely grotesque. This is most strikingly the case in the larger
figures, sometimes considerably over lifesize, standing all in a row in
the clerestory lights of some of the great French cathedrals.

[Illustration: 26. LYONS.]

The scale of these figures gave opportunity (heads all-of-a-piece show
that it did not actually make it a necessity) for glazing the faces in
several pieces of glass; and it was quite the usual thing, as at Lyons
(opposite) to glaze the flesh in pinkish-brown, the beard in white or
grey or yellow or some dark colour--not seldom blue, which had at a
distance very much the value of black--and the eyes in white. Sometimes
even, as at Reims, the iris of the eye was not represented by a blot of
paint but was itself glazed in blue. The effect of this might have been
happier if the lines of the painting had been more of the same strength
as the leads, and so strong enough to support them. As it is, the great
white eyes start out of the picture and spoil it. They have a way of
glaring at you fixedly; there is no speculation in their stare; they
look more like huge goggles than live eyes. And it is not these only
which are grotesque; the smaller figures in subject windows are, for the
most part, rude and crude, to a degree which precludes one, or any one
but an archæologist _pur sang_, from taking them seriously as figure
design. They are often really not so much like human figures as
"bogies," ugly enough to frighten a child. What is more to be deplored
is that they are so ugly as actually to have frightened away many a
would-be artist in glass from the study of them--a study really
essential to the proper understanding of his _métier_; for repellant as
those bogey figures may be, they show more effectually than later, more
attractive, and much more accomplished painting, the direction in which
the glass painter should go, and must go, if he wants to make figures
tell, say, in the clerestory of a great church.

Apart from the halo of sentiment about the earliest work--and who shall
say how much of that sentiment we bring to it ourselves?--apart from the
actual picturesqueness--and how much of that is due to age and
accident?--there _is_ in the earliest glass a feeling for the material
and a sense of treatment seldom found in the work of more accomplished
glass painters. If there is not actually more to be learnt from it than
from later and more consummate workmanship, there is at least no danger
of its teaching a false gospel, as that may do.

From the grossest and most archaic figures, ungainly in form and
fantastic in feature, stiff in pose and extravagant in action, out of
all proportion to their place in the window, there are at least two
invaluable lessons to be learnt--the value of broad patches of
unexpected colour, interrupting that monotony of effect to which the
best-considered schemes of ornament incline, and the value of
simplicity, directness, and downright rigidity of design. Severity of
design is essential to largeness of style; it brings the glass into
keeping with the grandeur of a noble church, into tune with the solemn
chords of the organ. Modern windows may sometimes astound us by their
aggressive cleverness, the old soothe and satisfy at the same time that
they humble the devout admirer.

The confused effect of Early glass (except when the figures are on a
very large scale) is commonly described as "kaleidoscopic." That is not
a very clever description, and it is rather a misleading one. For,
except in the case of the rose or wheel windows, common in France, Early
glass is not designed on the radiating lines which the kaleidoscope
inevitably gives. It is enough for the casual observer that the effect
is made up of broken bits of bright colour; and if they happen to occupy
a circular space the likeness is complete to him. But to know the lines
on which an Early Gothic window was built, is to see, through all
confusion of effect, the evidence of design, and to resent the
implication of thoughtless mechanism implied in the word kaleidoscopic.
Nevertheless, little as the mediæval glaziers meant it--they were lavish
of the thought they put into their art--their glass does often delight
us, something as the toy amuses children, because the first impression
it produces upon us is a sense of colour, in which there is no too
definite form to break the charm. There comes a point in our
satisfaction in mere beauty (to some it comes sooner than to others--too
soon, perhaps) at which we feel the want of a meaning in it--must find
one, or our pleasure in it is spoilt; we even go so far as to put a
meaning into it if it is not there; but at first it is the mysterious
which most attracts the imagination.

And even afterwards, when the mystery is solved, we are not sorry to
forget its meaning for a while, to be free to put our own interpretation
upon beauty, or to let it sway us without asking why, just as we are
moved by music which carries us we know not where, we care not.



CHAPTER V.

PAINTED MOSAIC GLASS.


The glass so far vaguely spoken of as "Early" belongs to the period when
the glazier designed his leads without thinking too much about painting.

[Illustration: 27. CHARTRES.]

There followed a period when the workman gave about equal thought to the
glazing and the painting of his window.

Then came a time when he thought first of painting, and glazing was a
secondary consideration with him.

[Illustration: 28. S. KUNIBERT, COLOGNE.]

According as we contemplate glass painting from the earlier or the later
standpoint, from the point of view of glass or of painting, we are sure
to prefer one period to the other, to glory perhaps in the advance of
painting, or to regret the lesser part that coloured glass eventually
plays in the making of a window. To claim for one or the other manner
that it is the true and only way, were to betray the prejudice of the
partizan. Each justifies itself by the masterly work done in it, each is
admirable in its way. It is not until the painter began, as he
eventually did, to take no thought of the glass he was using, and the
way it was going to be glazed, that he can be said with certainty to
have taken the downward road in craftsmanship. We shall come to that
soon enough; meanwhile, throughout the Gothic period at least, he kept
true to a craftsmanlike ideal, and never quite forsook the traditions of
earlier workmanship; and until well into the fourteenth century he
began, we may say, with glazing. In the fourteenth century borders
overleaf and in the figure on page 47, no less than in the earlier
examples on pages 43 and 46, the glazing lines fulfil a very important
part in the design, emphasising the outlines of the forms, if they do
not of themselves form an actual pattern. Naturally, once the glazier
resorted to the use of paint, he schemed his leads with a view to
supplementary painting, and had always a shrewd idea as to the details
he meant to add; but it will be clear to any one with the least
experience in design that a man might map out the leadwork of such
borders as those shown below with only the vaguest idea as to how he was
going to fill them in with paint, and yet be sure of fitting them with
effective foliage. So the architectural canopies on pages 134, 135, 154,
were pretty surely first blocked out according to their lead lines; and
not till the design was thus mapped out in colour did the designer begin
to draw the detail of his pinnacles and crockets. The invariable
adherence to a traditional type of design made it the easier for him to
keep in mind the detail to come. For he had not so much to imagine as to
remember. He was free, however, always to follow any spontaneous impulse
of design.

[Illustration: 29. S. OUEN, ROUEN.]

It was told in Chapter IV. how, in the beginning, pigment was used only
to paint out the light, to emphasise drawing, and to give detail--such
as the features of the face, the curls of the hair, and so on. That was
the ruling idea of procedure. In practice, however, it is not very easy
to paint perfectly solid lines on glass. At the end of a stroke always,
and whenever the brush is not charged full of colour, the lines
insensibly get thin, not perfectly opaque, that is to say; and so, in
spite of himself, the painter would continually be obtaining something
like translucency--a tint, in fact, and not a solid brown. Not to have
taken advantage of this half tint, would have been to prove himself
something less than a good workman, less than a reasonable one; and he
did from the first help out his drawing by a smear of paint, more or
less in the nature of shading. In flesh painting of the twelfth century
(or attributed to that early date) there are indications of such
shading, used, however, with great moderation, and only to supplement
the strong lines of solid brown in which the face was mainly drawn. The
features were first very determinedly drawn in line ("traced" is the
technical term), and then, by way of shade, a slight scum of paint was
added.

Still, in thirteenth century work, there is frequently no evidence of
such shading; the painter has been quite content with the traced line.
In the fourteenth century a looser kind of handling is observed. The
painter would trace a head in not quite solid lines of brown, and then
strengthen them here and there with perfectly opaque colour, producing
by that means a much softer quality of line. In any case, the painting
until well into the century was at the best rude, and the half tint,
such as it was, used, one may say, to be smeared on. Here again practice
followed the line of least resistance. It was difficult with the
appliances then in use to paint a gradated tint which would give the
effect of modelling; and accordingly very little of the kind was
attempted. Eventually, however, the painter began to stipple his smear
of shadow, at once softening it and letting light into it.

Towards the end of the century this stippling process was carried a step
further. It occurred to the workman to coat his glass all over (or all
of it except what was meant to remain quite clear) with thin brown, and
then, with a big dry brush, dab it until it assumed a granular or
stippled surface (darker or lighter, according to the amount of
stippling). This was not only more translucent than the smeared colour
but more easily graduated, and capable of being so manipulated, and so
softened at the edges, as readily to give a very fair amount of
modelling. This shading was often supplemented by dark lines or
hatchings put in with a brush, as well as by lines scraped out of the
tint to lighten it. But in any case there was for a while nothing like
heavy shading. Even in work belonging to the fifteenth century, and
especially in English glass, as at York, Cirencester, Ross, &c., it is
quite a common thing to find that the drawing is mainly in line, very
delicately done, helped out by the merest hint of shading in tint. This
glass is sometimes a little flat in effect, and it is not equal in force
to contemporary foreign work; but it is peculiarly refined in execution,
and it has qualities of glass-like sparkle and translucency which more
than make amends for any lack of solidity in painting. Solidity is just
the one thing we can best dispense with in glass.

[Illustration: 30. SALISBURY.]

A comparison of the two borders on pages 38 and 175, both German work,
will show how little difference of principle there was between the
thirteenth century craftsman and his immediate successor. The difference
in style between the two is strikingly marked--the one is quite
Romanesque in character, the detail of the other is comparatively
naturalistic; but when you come to look at the way they are executed,
the way the glazing is mapped out, the way the leads emphasise the
outlines, whilst paint is only used to make out details which lead could
not give--you will see that the new man has altered his mind more with
regard to what he wants to do in glass than as to how he wants to do it.
Very much might be said with regard to the two figures on this page and
the opposite. The French designer has departed from the archaic
composition of the earlier Englishman, and put more life and action into
his figure, but there is very little difference in the technique of the
two men, less than appears in the illustrations; for, as it happens, one
drawing aims at giving the lines of the glass, the other at showing its
effect. The fourteenth century figure on page 51 relies more than these
last upon painting. The folds of the saint's tunic, for example, are not
merely traced in outline, but there is some effect of modelling in them.

It will be instructive also to compare the fourteenth century hop
pattern on page 173 with the fourteenth century vine on page 364, and
the fifteenth century example on page 345. In the first the method of
proceeding is almost as strictly mosaic as though it had been a scroll
of the preceding century. Leaves, stalks, and fruits are glazed in light
colour upon dark, and bounded by the constructional lines of lead. In
the second, though the main forms are still outlined by the leads, much
greater use is made of paint: the topmost leaf is in one piece of glass
with the stalk of the tree, and all the leaves are relieved by means of
shading. In the third the artist has practically drawn his vine scroll,
and then thought how best he could glaze it; and the leads come very
much as they may.

This last-mentioned proceeding is typical of a period not yet under
discussion, but the second illustrates very fairly the supplementary use
of paint made in the fourteenth century.

[Illustration: 31. S. URBAIN, TROYES.]

A rather unusual but suggestive form of fourteenth century glazing is
shown on page 176. It was the almost invariable practice at this period,
as in the preceding centuries, to distinguish the pattern, whether of
scroll or border, by relieving it against a background of contrasting
colour, usually light against dark; but here the border is varicoloured,
without other ground than the opaque pigment used for painting out the
forms of the leaves, etc., and filling in between them. The method lends
itself only to design in which the forms are so closely packed as to
leave not too much ground to be filled in. A fair amount of solid paint
about the leaves and stalks does no harm. A good deal was used in Early
work, and it results in happier effects than when minute bits of
background are laboriously leaded in. The main point is--and it is one
the early glaziers very carefully observed--that the glass through which
the light is allowed to come should not be made dirty with paint. It was
mentioned before (page 35) how, from the first, a background would be
painted solid and a diaper picked out of it. Further examples of that
are shown overleaf and on pages 88 and 103, though, as will be seen, a
considerable portion of the glass is by this means obscured, the effect
is still brilliant; and in proportion as lighter and brighter tints of
glass came into use, it became more and more necessary; in fact, it
never died out. The diaper opposite belongs to the fifteenth century,
and the minuter of the three diapers above, as well as those on pages 88
and 103, belong to the sixteenth century.

[Illustration: 32. DIAPERS SCRATCHED OUT.]

Now that the reader may be presumed to have a perfectly clear idea of
the process of the early glazier, and to realise the distinctly mosaic
character of old glass, it is time mention should be made of two
important intermediate methods of glass staining which presently began
to affect the character of stained glass windows.

Allusion has been made (page 2) to the Roman practice of making glass in
strata of two colours, which they carved cameo-fashion in imitation of
onyx and the like; at least, one _tour de force_ of this kind is
familiar to every one in the famous Portland vase, in which the outer
layer of white glass is in great part ground away, leaving the design in
cameo upon dark blue. The mediæval glass-blower seems from the first to
have been acquainted with this method of coating a sheet of glass with
glass of a different colour. As the Roman coated his dull blue with
opaque white glass, so he coated translucent white with rich pot-metal
colour. It was not a very difficult operation. He had only to dip his
lump of molten white into a pot of coloured glass, and, according to
the quantity of coloured material adhering to it, so his bubble of glass
(and consequently the sheet into which it was opened out) was spread
with a thinner or thicker skin of colour. The Gothic craftsman took
advantage of this facility, in so far as he had any occasion for its
use. The occasion arose owing to the density of the red glass he
employed, which was such that, if he had made it of the thickness of the
rest of his glass, it would have been practically opaque. To have made
it very much thinner would have been to make it more fragile; and in any
case, it was easier to make a good job of the glazing when the glass was
all pretty much of a thickness. A layer of red upon white offered a
simple and practical way out of the difficulty.

What is called "ruby" glass, therefore, is not red all through, but only
throughout one half or a third of its thickness. The colour is only, so
to speak, the jam upon the bread; but the red and the white glass are
amalgamated at such a temperature as to be all but indivisible, to all
intents and purposes as thoroughly one as ordinary pot-metal glass.

[Illustration: 33. DIAPER SCRATCHED OUT.]

For a long while glass painters used this ruby glass and a blue glass
made in the same way precisely as though it had been self-coloured. But
in shaping a piece of ruby glass, especially with their inadequate
appliances, they would be bound sometimes to chip off at the edges
little flakes of red, revealing as many little flaws of white. This
would be sure to suggest, sooner or later, the deliberate grinding away
of the ruby stratum in places where a spot of white was needed smaller
than could conveniently be leaded in. As to the precise date at which
some ingenious artist may first have used this device, it may be left to
archæology to speculate. It must have been a very laborious process; and
the early mediæval ideal of design was not one that offered any great
temptation to resort to it during the thirteenth or even the fourteenth
century. It was not, in fact, until the painting of windows was carried
to a point at which there was some difficulty in so scheming the lines
of the lead that they should not in any way mar its delicacy, that the
practice of "flashing" glass, as it is termed, became common. That is
why no mention of it has been made till now. It will be seen that it is
a perfectly practical and workmanlike process, rendering possible
effects not otherwise to be got in glass, but lending itself rather to
minuteness of execution and elaboration of detail than to splendour of
colour or breadth of effect.

[Illustration: 34. QUEEN OF SHEBA, FAIRFORD.]

The second intermediate method of staining glass began earlier to affect
the design and execution of windows; and the character of fourteenth
century glass is distinctly modified by it; and, curiously enough,
whilst flashing applied to red and blue glass, this applies to yellow.

It was discovered about the beginning of the fourteenth century that
white glass painted with a solution of silver would take in the kiln a
pure transparent stain of yellow, varying, according to its strength and
the heat of the furnace, from palest lemon to deepest orange. Observe
that this yellow stain is neither an enamel nor a pot-metal colour, but
literally a stain, the only stain used upon glass. In pot-metal the
stain (if it may be so called) is _in_ the glass, this is _upon_ it. But
it is absolutely indelible; it can only be removed with the surface of
the glass itself; time has no more effect upon it than if the glass were
coated with yellow pot-metal. This silver stain was not only of a
singularly pure and delicate colour, compared to which pot-metal yellows
were hot and harsh, but it had all the variety of a wash of
water-colour, shading off by imperceptible degrees from dark to light,
and that so easily that the difficulty would have been in getting a
perfectly flat tint.

[Illustration: 35. S. GREGORY, ALL SOULS' COLLEGE, OXFORD.]

Moreover, it could be as readily traced in lines or little touches of
colour as it could be floated on in broad surfaces. By its aid it was as
easy to render the white pearls on a bishop's golden mitre as to give
the golden hair of a white-faced angel, or to relieve a white figure
against a yellow ground--and all without the use of intervening lead.

[Illustration: 36. DIAPER IN WHITE AND STAIN, ALL SAINTS' CHURCH, YORK.]

It is not surprising that such a discovery had a very important effect
upon the development of the glass painter's practice. By means of it
were produced extraordinarily beautiful effects, as of gold and silver,
peculiarly characteristic of later Gothic work. The crockets and finials
of white canopies would be touched with it as with gold, the hair of
angels and the crowns of kings; or the nimbus itself would be stained,
the head now being habitually painted on one piece of white glass with
the nimbus. The crown and the pearl-edged head-band of the Queen of
Sheba, from Fairford, (page 50), are stained upon the white glass out of
which the head is cut. In the figure of S. Gregory on page 51 the triple
crown is stained yellow, and so is the nimbus of the bull, whose wings
also are shaded in stain varying from light to dark.

Of the elaborate diapering of white drapery, with patterns in rich
stain, more and more resorted to as the fifteenth century advanced, a
specimen is here given, in which the design is figured in white upon a
yellow ground, outlined with a delicately traced line of brown. Stain
was seldom used on white without such outline.

In the end white and stain predominated. Early glass was likened to
jewellery; now the jewels seem to be set in gold and silver. There was a
loss in dignity and grandeur, but there was a gain in gaiety and
brightness. How far stain encouraged the more abundant use of white
glass which prevailed in the fifteenth century it might be rash to say;
at any rate, it fitted in to perfection with the tendency of the times,
which was ever more and more in the direction of light, until the later
Gothic windows became, in many instances, not so much coloured windows
as windows of white and stain enclosing panels or pictures in colour.
Even in these pictures very often not more than about one-third of the
glass was in rich colour. And not only was more white glass used, but
the white itself was purer and more silvery, lighter, and at the same
time thinner, giving occasion and excuse for that more delicate painting
which perhaps was one great reason for the change in its quality. At all
events, the more transparent character of the material necessitated more
painting than was desirable in the case of the hornier texture of the
older make. Hence the prevalence of diaper already referred to.

By the latter half of the fifteenth century painting plays a very
important part in stained glass windows. We have arrived at a period
when it is no longer subsidiary to mosaic; still it has not yet begun to
take precedence of it. The artist is now a painter, and he relies for
much of his effect upon painting; but he is a glazier, too, and careful
to make the most of what glass can do. He designs invariably with a view
to the glazing of his design, and with full knowledge of what that
means. He knows perfectly well what can be done in glass, and what
cannot. He has not yet carried painting to the perfection to which it
came eventually to be carried, but neither has he begun to rely upon it
for what can best be done in mosaic. He can scarcely be said to prefer
one medium to another; he uses both to equally workmanlike purpose. He
does not, like the early glazier, design in lead any longer, but neither
does he leave the consideration of leading till after he has designed
his picture, as painters came subsequently to do.

It amounts, it might be thought, to much the same thing whether the
artist begins with his lead lines and works up to his painting, as at
first he did, or begins with his painting and works up to the leads, as
became the practice,--so long as in either case he has always in mind
the after-process, and works with a view to it. But the truth seems to
be that few men have ever a thing quite so clearly in their minds as
when they have it in concrete form before their eyes. The glazier may
reckon upon the paint to come, but he does not rely upon it quite so
much as the painter who starts with the idea of painting.

[Illustration: 37. NATIVITY, GREAT MALVERN.]

The later Gothic artists gradually got into the way of thinking more and
more of the painting upon their glass. In the end, they thought of it
first, and there resulted from their doing so quite a different kind of
design, apart from change due to modifications of architectural style;
but so long as the Gothic tradition lasted--and it survived until well
into the sixteenth century, in work even which bears the brand of
typical Renaissance ornament--so long the glazing of a window was in no
degree an after-thought, something not arranged for, which had to be
done as best it might. It is apparent always to the eye at all trained
in glass design that the composition even of the most pictorial subjects
was very much modified, where it was not actually suggested, by
considerations of glazing. As more and more white glass came to be used,
it was more and more a tax upon the ingenuity of the designer so to
compose his figures that his white should be conveniently broken up, and
the patches of colour he wanted should be held in place by leads which
in no way interfered with his white glass; for it is clear that, in
proportion as the white was delicately painted, there would be brutality
in crossing it haphazard by strong lines of lead not forming part of the
design; and to the last one of the most interesting things in mediæval
design is to observe the foresight with which the glass-worker plans his
colour for the convenience of glazing.

There is very skilful engineering in the subject from Ross on page 339.
It is not by accident that the hands of the hooded figure rest upon the
shoulders of S. Edward, or that, together with his gold-brocaded surcoat
and its ermine trimming, his hands, and the gilt-edged book he holds in
them, they fall into a shape so easy to cut in one piece. Scarcely less
artful is the arrangement of the head of the bishop with his crosier and
the collar of his robe all in one. The glass painter has only to glance
at such subjects as the Nativity from Great Malvern (page 54), or the
Day of Creation from the same rich abbey church (page 252), or at the
figure of S. Gregory from All Souls', Oxford (page 51), to see how the
colour is planned from the beginning, and planned with a view to the
disposition of the lead lines. In the Nativity, which is reproduced from
a faithful tracing of the glass, and is in the nature of a diagram, the
actual map of the glazing is very clear, in spite of its disfigurement
by leads which merely represent mending, and form no part of the design.
There, too, may clearly be seen how the yellow radiance from the Infant
Saviour is on the same piece of whitish glass on which the figure is
painted. In the Creation and S. Gregory, which are taken from careful
water-drawings, the effect of the glass is given, and it is perceived
how little the leads obtrude themselves upon the observation in the
actual windows.[A]

    Footnote A: These, together with illustrations 35, 44, 54, 142, 156,
    174, 191, 207, 234, are from the admirable collection of studies
    from old glass very kindly placed at my disposal by Mr. John R.
    Clayton, himself a master of design in glass.

The Preaching of S. Bernard from S. Mary's, Shrewsbury, opposite, is
again disfigured by accidental leads, where the glass has been
repaired; but it will serve to show how, even when lead lines are as
much as possible avoided, they are always allowed for, and even
skilfully schemed. Many of the heads, it will be noticed, are painted
upon the same pieces of white which does duty also for architectural
background; or white draperies are glazed in one piece with the
white-and-yellow flooring; yet the lead lines, as originally designed,
seem to fall quite naturally into the outlines of the figures.

[Illustration: 38. S. BERNARD PREACHING, S. MARY'S, SHREWSBURY.]

A very characteristic piece of glazing occurs in the foreground figure,
forming a note of strong colour in the centre of the composition. The
way the man's face is included in the same piece of glass with the
yellow groining of the arch, while his coloured cap connects it with his
body, bespeaks a designer most expert in glazing, and intent upon it
always. The danger in connection with a device of this kind, very common
in work of about the beginning of the sixteenth century--as, for
example, in the very fine Flemish glass at Lichfield--is that, being
merely painted upon a white background, and insufficiently supported by
leads, the head may seem not to belong to the strongly defined, richly
draped figure. It is, of course, very much a question of making the
outline strong enough to keep the leads in countenance. The artist of
the Shrewsbury glass adopts another expedient at once to support the
lead lines, to connect his white and colour, and to get the emphasis of
dark touches just where he feels the want of them. He makes occasional
use of solid black by way of local colour, as may be seen in the hood of
the abbess and the shoes of the men to the right.

[Illustration: 39. S. MARY'S, SHREWSBURY.]

In another subject from Shrewsbury (here given), in the bodice of the
harpist, and the head gear of the figures on page 104, effective use is
made of these points of black. So long as they remain mere points, the
end justifies the means, and there is nothing to be said against their
introduction; they are entirely to the good; but such use of solid
pigment is valuable mainly in subjects of quite small size, such as
these are. It would be obviously objectionable if any considerable area
of white glass were thus obscured.

The glass referred to at Shrewsbury, Malvern, and Oxford is of later
date than much work in which painting was carried further; but there is
here no question of style or period; that is reserved for future
consideration (Book II.). The fact it is here desired to emphasise is,
that there was a time when glazier and painter took something like equal
part in a window, or, to speak more precisely, there were for a while
windows in which the two took such equal part that each seemed to rely
upon the other; when, if the artist was a painter he was a glazier too.
Very likely they were two men. If so, they must have worked together on
equal terms, and without rivalry, neither attempting to push his
cleverness to the front, each regardful of the other, both working to
one end--which was not a mosaic, nor a painting, nor a picture, but a
window.



CHAPTER VI.

GLASS PAINTING (MEDIÆVAL).


The end of the fifteenth century brings us to the point at which
painting and glazing are most evenly matched, and, in so far, to the
perfection of stained-and-painted glass, but not yet to the perfection
of glass painting. That was reserved for the sixteenth century, when art
was under the influence of the Renaissance. Glass painting followed
always the current of more modern thought, and drifted picturewards.
Even in the fourteenth century it was seen that there was a fashion of
naturalism in design, in the fifteenth there was an ever-increasing
endeavour to realise natural form, and not natural form alone; for, in
order to make the figure stand out in its niche, it became necessary to
show the vault in perspective. It was obviously easier to get something
like pictorial relief by means of painting than in mosaic, which
accordingly fell by degrees into subordination, and the reign of the
glass painter began. It must be admitted that at the beginning of the
sixteenth century there was still room for improvement in painting, and
that to the realisation of the then pictorial ideal stronger painting
was actually necessary.

Perhaps the ideal was to blame; but even in Gothic glass, still severely
architecturesque in design, more painting became, as before said,
necessary, as greater use was made of white, and that painting stronger,
in proportion as the material used became thinner and clearer. But
though the aim of the glass painter was pictorial, the pictorial ideal
was not so easily to be attained in glass; and so, though the painter
reigned supreme, his dominion was not absolute. The glazier was in the
background, it is true, but he was always there, and his influence is
very strongly felt. The pictures of the glass painter are, consequently,
still pictures in glass, for the painter was still dependent upon
pot-metal for the greater part of his colour; and he knew it, and was
wise enough to accept the situation, and, if he did not actually paint
his own glass, to design only what could, at all events, be translated
into glass. He not only continued to use pot-metal for his colour, but
he made every possible use of it to his end, finding in it resources
which his predecessors had not developed. His range of colours was
extended almost indefinitely, and he used his glass with more
discretion. He took every advantage of the accidental variety in the
glass itself. No sheet of pot-metal was equal in tint from end to end;
it deepened towards the selvedge, and was often much darker at one end
than the other. It ranged perhaps from ruby to pale pink, from sea-green
to smoky-black.

This gradation of tint wisely used was of great service in giving
something like shadow without the aid of paint, and it was used with
great effect--in the dragons, for example, which the mediæval artist
delighted to depict--as a means of rendering the lighter tones of the
creature's belly. Supposing the beast were red, the glass painter would
perhaps assist the natural inequality of the glass by abrading the ruby,
by which means he could almost model the form in red. If it were a blue
dragon he might adopt the same plan; or, if it were green, by staining
his blue glass at the same time yellow, he could get every variety of
shade from yellow to blue-green.

Every casual variety of colour would be employed to equal purpose. Even
the glass-blower's flukes came in most usefully, not merely, as before,
to break the colour of a background accidentally, but as local colour.
Sheets of glass, for example, which came out, instead of blue or ruby,
of some indescribable tint, streaked and flecked with brighter and
darker colour, until they were like nothing so much as marble, were
introduced with magnificent effect into the pillars of the architecture
which now formed so prominent a feature in window design. The beauty and
fitness of this marble colour is eventually such as to suggest that the
glass-blower must in the end deliberately have fired at this kind of
fluke.

Beautiful as were the effects of white and stain produced in the middle
of the fourteenth century, it was put now to fuller and more gorgeous
use. Draperies were diapered in the most elaborate fashion; a bishop's
cope would be as rich as the gold brocade it imitated; patterns were
designed in two or even three shades of stain, which, in combination
with white and judicious touches of opaque-brown, were really
magnificent. Occasionally, as at Montmorency--but this is rarer--the
painter did not merely introduce his varied stain in two or three
separate shades, nor yet float it on so as to get accidental variety,
but he actually painted in it, modelling his armour in it, until it had
very much the effect of embossed gold.

In some ornamental arabesque, which does duty for canopy work at
Conches, in Normandy, this painting in stain is carried still further,
the high lights being scraped out so as to give glittering points of
white among the yellow. The result of this is not always very
successful; but where it is skilfully and delicately done nothing could
be more brilliantly golden in effect. It is curious that this silver
came to be used in glass just as goldleaf was used in other decorative
painting; in fact, its appearance is more accurately described as golden
than as yellow, just as the white glass of the sixteenth century has a
quality which inevitably suggests silver.

It was stated just now that blue glass could be stained green. It is not
every kind of glass which takes kindly to the yellow stain. A glass with
much soda in its composition, for example, seems to resist the action of
the silver; but such resistance is entirely a question of its chemical
ingredients, and has only to do with its colour in so far as that may
depend upon them.

Apart from glass of such antipathetic constitution, it is quite as easy
to stain upon coloured glass as upon white; and, if the coloured glass
be not too dark in colour to be affected by it, precisely the same
effect is produced as by a glaze or wash of yellow in oil or
water-colour.

Thus we get blue draperies diapered with green, blue-green diapered with
yellow-green, and purple with olive, in addition to quite a new
development of landscape treatment. A subject was no longer represented
on a background of ruby or dense blue, but against a pale grey-blue
glass, which stood for sky, and upon it was often a delicately painted
landscape, the trees and distant hills stained to green. Stain was no
less useful in the foreground. By the use of blue glass stained, instead
of pot-metal green, it was easy to sprinkle the green grass with blue
flowers, all without lead.

It was by the combination of stain with abrasion that the most
elaborately varied effects were produced. The painter could now not only
stain his blue glass green (and just so much of it as he wanted green),
but he could abrade the blue, so as to get both yellow, where the glass
was stained, and white where it was not. Thus on the same piece of glass
he could depict among the grass white daisies and yellow buttercups and
bluebells blue as nature, he could give even the yellow eye of the daisy
and its green calyx; and, by judicious modification of his stain, he
could make the leaves of the flowers a different shade of green from the
grass about them. The drawing of the flowers and leaves and blades of
grass, it need hardly be said, he would get in the usual way, tracing
the outline with brown, slightly shading with half tint, and painting
out only just enough of the ground to give value to his detail.

In spite of the tediousness of the process, abrasion was now largely
used--not only for the purpose of getting here and there a spot of
white, as in the eyes of some fiery devil in the representation of the
Last Judgment, but extensively in the form of diaper work, oftenest in
the forms of dots and spots (the spotted petticoat of the woman taken in
adultery in one of the windows at Arezzo seems happily chosen to show
that she is a woman of the people), but also very frequently in the form
of scroll or arabesque, stained to look like a gold tissue, or even to
represent a garment stiff with embroidery and pearls. Often the pattern
is in gold-and-white upon ruby or deep golden-brown, or in
white-and-gold and green upon blue, and so on. In heraldry it is no
uncommon thing to see the ground abraded and the charge left in ruby
upon white. Sometimes a small head would be painted upon ruby glass, all
of the colour being abraded except just one jewel in a man's cap.

Stain and abrasion, by means of which either of the three primaries can
be got upon white, afford, it will be seen, a workmanlike way of
avoiding leadwork. But there are other ways. There is a window at
Montmorency in which the stigmata in the hands and foot of S. Francis
are represented by spots of ruby glass inlaid or let into the white
flesh, with only a ring of lead to hold them in place. It would never
have occurred to a fourteenth century glazier to do that. He would have
felt bound to connect that ring of lead with the nearest glazing lines,
at whatever risk of marring his flesh painting; but then, his painting
would not have been so delicate, and would not in any case have suffered
so much.

Indeed, the more delicate painting implies a certain avoidance of lead
lines crossing it, and hence some very difficult feats of glazing. This
kind of inlaying was never very largely used, but on occasion not only a
spot but even a ring of glass round it would be let in in this way.
There is a window at Bourges in which the glories of the saints are
inlaid with jewels of red, blue, green, and violet, which have more the
effect of jewellery than if they had been glazed in the usual way.
Whether it was worth the pains is another question.

A more usual, and less excusable, way of getting jewels of colour upon
white glass was actually to anneal them to it. By abrading the ground it
was possible to represent rubies or sapphires, surrounded by pearls, in
a setting of gold, but not both rubies and sapphires. In order to get
this combination they would cut out little jewels of red and blue, fix
them temporarily in their place, and fire the glass until these smaller
(and thinner) pieces melted on to and almost into it; the fusion,
however, was seldom complete. At this date some of the jewels--as, for
example, at S. Michael's, Spurrier Gate, York--are usually missing--but
for which accident one would have been puzzled to know for certain how
this effect was produced. The insecurity of this process of annealing is
inevitable. Glass is in a perpetual state of contraction and expansion,
according to the variation of our changeable climate. The white glass
and the coloured cannot be relied upon to contract and expand in equal
degree; they are seldom, in fact, truly married. The wedding ring of
lead was safer. Sooner or later incompatibility of temper asserts
itself, and in the course of time they fidget themselves asunder.

All these contrivances to get rid of leads are evidence that the painter
is coming more and more to the front in glass, and that the glazier is
retiring more and more into the background. The avoidance of glazing
follows, as was said, upon ultra-delicacy of painting, and dependence
upon paint follows from the doing away with leads. We have thus not two
new systems of work, but two manifestations of one idea--pictorial
glass. The pictorial ideal inspired some of the finest glass
painting--the windows of William of Marseilles, at Arezzo, to mention
only one instance among many. With the early Renaissance glass we arrive
at masterly drawing, perfection of painting, and pictorial design, which
is yet not incompatible with glass. One may prefer to it, personally, a
more downright kind of work; but to deny such work its place, and a very
high place, in art is to write oneself down a bigot at the least, if not
an ass.

It is not until the painter took to depending upon paint for strength as
well as delicacy of effect, trusting to it for the relief of his design,
that it is quite safe to say he was on the wrong tack.

Towards the sixteenth century much more pronounced effects of modelling
are aimed at, and reached, by the painter. Even in distinctly Gothic
work the flesh is strongly painted, but not heavily. In flesh painting,
at all events, the necessity of keeping the tone of the glass
comparatively light was a safeguard, as yet, against overpainting.

The actual method of workmanship became less and less like ordinary oil
or water-colour painting. It developed into a process of rubbing out
rather than of laying on pigment. It was told how the glass painter in
place of smear shadow began to use a stippled tint. The later glass
painters made most characteristic use of "matt," as it was called.
Having traced the outlines of a face, and fixed it in the fire, they
would cover the glass with a uniform matt tint; and, when it was dry,
with a stiff hoghair brush scrub out the lights. The high lights they
would entirely wipe out, the half tints they would brush partly away,
and so get their modelling, always by a process of eliminating shadow.
The conscientious painter who meant to make sure his delicate tints
would stand would submit this to a rather fierce fire, out of which
would come, perhaps, only the ghost of the face. This he would
strengthen by another matt brushed out in the same way as before, and
fire it again. Possibly it would require a third painting and a third
fire; that would depend upon the combined strength and delicacy at which
he was aiming, and upon the method of the man. For, though one may
indicate the technique in vogue at a given time, no one will suppose
that painters at any time worked all in the same way. Some men no doubt
could get more out of a single painting than others out of two; some
were daring in their method, some timid; some made more use than others
of the stick for scraping out lines of light; some depended more upon
crisp touches with the sable "tracer," necessary, in any case, for the
more delicate pencilling of the features; some would venture upon the
ticklish operation of passing a thin wash of colour over matt or
stippling before it was fired, at the risk of undoing all they had
done--and so on, each man according to his skill and according to his
temperament. But with whatever aid of scratching out lights, or touching
in darks, or floating on tints, the practice in the sixteenth century
was mainly, by a process of scrubbing lights out of matted or washed
tints of brown, to get very considerable modelling, especially in flesh
painting and in white draperies.

It is impossible in illustrations of the size here given to exemplify in
any adequate manner the technique of the Early Renaissance glass
painters, but it is clear that the man who painted the small subject
from the life of S. Bonnet, in the church dedicated to that saint at
Bourges, (page 210) was a painter of marked power. A still finer example
of painting is to be found in the head of William de Montmorency
(opposite) from the church of S. Martin at Montmorency near Paris,
really a masterpiece of portraiture, full of character, and strikingly
distinguished in treatment. There is at the Louvre a painting of the
same head which might well be the original of the glass. If the glass
painter painted the picture he was worthy to rank with the best painters
of his day. If the glass painter only copied it, he was not far short of
that, for his skill is quite remarkable; and the simple means by which
he has rendered such details as the chain armour and the collar, and the
Order of S. Michael, supplementing the most delicate painting with
touches of opaque colour, which in less skilful hands would have been
brutal, show the master artist in glass painting.

Here, towards the end of the first quarter of the sixteenth century, we
have glass painting carried about as far as it can go, and yet not
straying beyond the limits of what can best be done in glass. The
apologists for the Renaissance would attribute all such work as this to
the new revival. That would be as far wide of the mark as to claim for
it that it was Gothic. The truth is, there is no marked dividing line
between Gothic and Renaissance. It is only by the character of some
perhaps quite slight monumental or architectural detail that we can
safely classify a window of the early sixteenth century as belonging to
one or the other style. It belongs, in fact, to neither. It is work of
the transition period between the two. Gothic traditions lingered in the
glass painter's shop almost as long as good work continued to be done
there; so much so, that we may almost say that with those Gothic
traditions died the art itself. For all that, it is not to be disputed
that the most brilliant achievements in glass painting were certainly in
the new style and inspired by the new enthusiasm for art.

[Illustration: 40. GUILLAUME DE MONTMORENCY, MONTMORENCY.]



CHAPTER VII.

GLASS PAINTING (RENAISSANCE).


The quality _par excellence_ of Renaissance glass was its painting; its
dependence upon paint was its defect. Until about the middle of the
sixteenth century the painter goes on perfecting himself in his special
direction, neglecting, to some extent, considerations of construction on
the one hand, and of colour upon the other, which cannot with impunity
be ignored in glass, but achieving pictorially such conspicuous success
that there may be question, among all but ardent admirers of glass that
is essentially glass-like, as to whether the loss, alike in depth and in
translucency of colour, as well as of constructional fitness, may not be
fully compensated for by the gain in fulness of pictorial expression.
According as we value most the qualities of glass in glass, or the
qualities of a picture in no matter what material, will our verdict be.
But there comes a point when the painter so far oversteps the limit of
consistency, so clearly attempts to do in glass what cannot be done in
it, so plainly sacrifices to qualities which he cannot get the qualities
which stained glass offers him, that he ceases to be any longer working
in glass, and is only attempting upon glass what had very much better
have been done in some other and more congenial medium.

The event goes to prove the seductiveness of the pictorial idea, and
illustrates once more the danger of calling to your assistance a rival
craft, which, by-and-by, may oust you from your own workshop. The
consideration of the possibilities in the way of pictorial glass is
reserved for a chapter by itself. It concerns us for the moment only in
so far as the pictorial intention affected, as it very seriously did,
the technique of glass painting.

In pursuit of the pictorial the painter strayed from his allegiance to
glass. He learnt to depend upon his manipulation instead of upon his
material; and that facility of his in painting led him astray. He not
only began to use paint where before he would, as a matter of course,
have glazed-in coloured glass, but to lay it on so heavily as seriously
to detract from that translucency which is the glory of glass.

It is rash to say, at a glance, whether glass has been too heavily
painted or not. I once made a careful note, in writing, that certain
windows in the church of S. Alpin, at Châlons, were over-painted. After
a lapse of two or three years I made another equally careful note to the
effect that they were thin, and wanted stronger painting. It was not
until, determined to solve the mystery of these contradictory memoranda,
I went a third time to Châlons, that I discovered, that with the light
shining full upon them the windows were thin, that by a dull light they
were heavy, and that by a certain just sufficiently subdued light they
were all that could be desired. There is indiscretion, at least, in
painting in such a key that only one particular light does justice to
your work; but the artist in glass is always very much at the mercy of
chance in this respect. He cannot choose the light in which his work
shall be seen, and the painter of Châlons may have been more unfortunate
than in any way to blame. There comes, however, a degree of heaviness in
painted glass about which there can be no discussion. When the paint is
laid on so thick that under ordinary conditions of light the glass is
obscure, or when it is so heavy that the light necessary to illuminate
it is more than is good for the rest of the window, the bounds of
moderation have surely been passed. And in the latter half of the
sixteenth century it was less and less the custom to take heed of
considerations other than pictorial; so that by degrees the translucency
of glass was sacrificed habitually to strength of effect depending not
so much upon colour, which is the strength of glass, as upon the relief
obtained by shadow--just the one quality not to be obtained in glass
painting. For the quality of shadow depends upon its transparency; and
shadow painted upon glass, through which the light is to come, must
needs be obscure, must lack, in proportion as it is dark, the mysterious
quality of light in darkness, which is the charm of shadow. The misuse
of shading which eventually prevailed may best be explained by reference
to its beginnings, already in the first half of the century, when most
consummate work was yet being done. For example, in the masterpieces of
Bernard van Orley, at S. Gudule, Brussels--one of which is illustrated
overleaf; it is a mere diagram, giving no idea of the splendour of the
glass, but it is enough to serve our purpose.

The execution of the window is, in its kind, equal to the breadth and
dignity of the design. The painter has done, if not quite all that he
proposed to do, all that was possible in paint upon glass. Any fault to
find in him, then, must be with what he meant to do, not what he did. To
speak justly, there is no fault to find with any one, but only with the
condition of things. We have here, associated with the glass painter, a
more famous artist, the greatest of his time in Flanders, pupil of
Michael Angelo, court painter, and otherwise distinguished. It was not
to be expected that he should be learned in all the wisdom of the glass
painter, nor yet, human nature being what it is, that he should submit
himself, lowly and reverently, to the man better acquainted with the
capacities of glass. All that the glass painter could do was to
translate the design of the master into glass as best he might, not
perhaps as best he could have done had there been no great master to
consult in the matter.

This was not the first time, by any means, that the designer and painter
of a window were two men. There is no saying how soon that much
subdivision of labour entered the glass worker's shop; but so long as
they were both practical men, versed each in his art, and, to some
extent, each in the technique of the other, it did not so much matter.
When the painter from outside was called in to design, it mattered
everything. What could he be expected to care for technique other than
his own? What did he know about it? He was only an amateur so far as
glass was concerned; and his influence made against workmanlikeness. He
may have done marvels; he did marvels; but his very mastery made things
worse. He bore himself so superbly that it was not seen what dangerous
ground he trod on. Lesser men must needs all stumble along in his
footsteps, until they fell; and in their fall they dragged their art
with them.

[Illustration: 41. MOSAIC GLASS, AREZZO.]

The fault inherent in such work as the Brussels windows is neither Van
Orley's nor the glass painter's; it is in the mistaken aim of the
designer striving less for colour in his windows than for relief. He
succeeds in getting quite extraordinary relief, but at the expense of
colour, which in glass is the most important thing. The figures in the
window illustrated are so strongly painted that even the white portions
of their drapery stand out in dark relief against the pale grey sky.
That is not done, you may be sure, without considerable sacrifice of the
light-giving quality of the glass. It is at a similar cost that the
white-and-gold architecture stands out in almost the solidity of actual
stone against the plain white diamond panes above, giving very much the
false impression that it is placed in the window, and that you see
through its arches and behind it into space. Another very striking thing
in the composition is the telling mass of shadow on the soffit of the
central arch. It produces its effect, and a very strong one. The
festoons of yellow arabesque hanging in front of it tell out against it
like beaten gold, and the rather poorish grey-blue background to the
figures beneath it has by comparison an almost atmospheric quality. It
is all very skilfully planned as light and dark; but there is absolutely
no reason why that shadow should have been produced by heavy paint.
Under certain conditions of light there are, it is true, gleams of light
amidst this shadow. You can make out that the roof is coffered, and can
perceive just a glow of warm colour; but most days and most of the day
it is dead, dull, lifeless, colourless. The points to note are: (1) that
this painted shadow must of necessity be dull; and (2) that on work of
this scale at all events (the figures here are very much over lifesize),
this abandonment of the mosaic method was not in the slightest degree
called for. On the contrary, the simpler, easier, and more workmanlike
thing to do would have been to glaze-in the shadow with deep rich
pot-metal glass. That was done in earlier glass, and in glass of about
the same period as this.

[Illustration: 42. RENAISSANCE WINDOW, S. GUDULE, BRUSSELS.]

For example, at Liège, where there are beautiful windows of about the
same period, very similar in design, the glass is altogether lighter and
more brilliant, partly owing to the use of paint with a much lighter
hand, but yet more to greater reliance upon pot-metal. In the Church of
S. Jacques, as at S. Gudule, there are arched canopies with festoons in
bright relief against a background of shadowed soffit; but there the
shadow is obtained by glazing-in pot-metal, which has all the necessary
depth, and is yet luminous and full of colour.

So also the deeply shadowed architectural background to the
representation of the Daughter of Herodias dancing before Herod, in the
Church of S. Vincent, at Rouen (overleaf), is leaded up in deep purple
glass, through which you get peeps of distant atmospheric blue beyond.
And this was quite a common practice among French glass painters of the
early half of the sixteenth century--as at Auch, at Ecouen, at Beauvais,
at Conches, where the architecture in shadow is leaded in shades of
purple or purplish glass, which leave little for the painter to do upon
the pot-metal. At Freiburg, in Germany, there is a window designed on
lines very similar indeed to Van Orley's work, in which the shadowed
parts are glazed in shades of deep blue and purple. In Italy it was the
custom, already in the fifteenth century, to lead-in deep shadows in
pot-metal; and they did not readily depart from it. Surely that is the
way to get strong effects, and not by paint. You may take it as a test
of workmanlike treatment, that the darks have been glazed-in, where it
was possible, and not merely painted upon the glass.

There is some misconception about what is called Renaissance glass.
Glass painting was not native to Italy, and was never thoroughly
acclimatised there, any more than Gothic architecture, to which it
was--the handmaid I was going to say, but better say the
standard-bearer. Much glass was accordingly executed in Italy in
defiance, not only of all tradition, but of all consistency and
self-restraint. But even in Italy you will find sixteenth century glass
as workmanlike as can be. The details from Arezzo and Bologna, above,
overleaf, and on page 266, are pronouncedly Renaissance in type, but the
method employed by the glass painter is as thoroughly mosaic as though
he had worked in the thirteenth century. Not less glazier-like in
treatment are the French Renaissance details from Rouen, on pages 75 and
347, from which it may be seen that a workmanlike treatment of glass
was not confined to Gothic glaziers. It was less a question of style, in
the historic sense, than of the men's acquaintance with the traditions
of good work, and their readiness to accept the situation.

[Illustration: 43. MOSAIC GLASS, AREZZO.]

Possibly the Netherlandish love of light and shade--and especially of
shade--may account for the character of the Brussels glass. Against that
it should be said that, elsewhere in Flanders, splendid glass was being
done about the same time, less open to the charge of being too heavily
painted--at Liège, for example. But everywhere, and perhaps more than
anywhere in the Netherlands, which became presently a great centre of
glass painting, the tendency, towards the latter part of the century,
was in the direction of undue reliance upon paint; of which came
inevitably one of two things--either the shaded parts were heavy, dirty,
and opaque, or they were weak and washy in effect. If, by means of
painting, an artist can get (as he can) something worth getting not
otherwise to be got, though we may differ as to the relative value of
what he gains and what he sacrifices, it would be hard to deny him his
preference, and his right to follow it; but if by painting on glass he
attempts to get what could better be expressed by working in it, then
clearly he has strayed (as Van Orley did) from the straight path, as
glass-workers read the map.

[Illustration: 44. SALOME, S. VINCENT, ROUEN.]

It is rather a curious thing that the avoidance of leading, the
dependence upon glazing and paint, should manifest itself especially in
windows designed on such a scale that it would have been quite easy to
get all that was got in paint, and more, by the introduction of coloured
glass; in windows, for example, on the scale of those at King's College,
Cambridge, with figures much over lifesize, where the artist, you can
see, has been afraid of leading, and has shirked it. Evidently he did
not realise for how little the leads would count in the glass. He
does not in that case fall into the error of painting with too heavy a
hand, but he trusts too much to paint--a trust so little founded that
the paint has oftentimes perished, much to the disfigurement of his
picture.

[Illustration: 45. RENAISSANCE MOSAIC GLASS.]

The French glass painters of about the same period, though working upon
a smaller scale, did not depart in the same way from the use of glazing;
and where they did resort to painting, it was often with a view to a
refinement of detail not otherwise to be obtained, as in the case of the
delicate landscape backgrounds painted upon pale blue, which have a
beauty all their own.

There is here no intention whatever of disparaging such work as that at
S. Gudule. Any one capable of appreciating what is strongest and most
delicate in glass must have had such keen delight in them that there is
something almost like ingratitude in saying anything of them but what is
in their praise. But the truth remains. Here is a branching off from old
use; here the painter begins to wander from the path, and to lead after
him generations of glass painters to come. It takes, perhaps, genius to
lead men hopelessly astray!



CHAPTER VIII.

ENAMEL PAINTING.


The excessive use of opaque paint was not so much a new departure as the
exaggeration of a tendency which had grown with the growth of glass
painting itself. The really new thing in glass painting about this time
was the introduction of enamel.

When glass painters were resorting, not only to opaque painting, but to
abrasion, annealing, or whatever would relieve them from the difficulty
of getting in mosaic glass the pictorial effect which was more and more
their ruling thought, when glazing had become to them a difficulty (to
the early glass-workers it was a resource), it was inevitable that they
should think about painting on glass in colour. Accordingly towards the
middle of the sixteenth century they began to use enamel. This was the
decisive turning-point of the art.

In theory the process of painting in enamel is simple enough. You have
only to grind coloured glass to impalpable dust, mix it with "fat oil,"
or gum-and-water, and paint with it upon white or tinted glass; in the
furnace the medium will be fired away, and the particles of coloured
glass will melt and adhere, more or less firmly, to the heated sheet of
glass to which they have been applied. This theory glass painters began
to put into practice. In the beginning they used enamel only
tentatively, first of all in the flesh tints. It had been the custom
since the fourteenth century to paint flesh always upon white or whitish
glass in the ordinary brown pigment; and something of the simple dignity
and monumental character of old glass is due, no doubt, to that and
similar removedness from nature. Gradually the fashion was introduced of
painting the flesh in red instead of brown. In one sense this was no
such very new thing to do. The ordinary brown pigment spoken of all
along is itself enamel, although it has been thought better not to speak
of it by that name for fear of confusion. Inasmuch, however, as this
was the use of a pigment to get not merely flesh painting but flesh
tint--that is to say, colour--it was a step in quite a new direction.
Pictorially it offered considerable advantages to the painter. He could
not only get, without lead, contrast of colour between a head and the
white ground upon which it was painted, or the white drapery about it,
but he could very readily give the effect of white hair or beard in
contrast to ruddy flesh, and so on. There is a fragment at the _Musée
des Arts Décoratifs_ at Paris, attributed to Jean Cousin, 1531, in which
a turbaned head appears to have been cut out of a piece of purplish-blue
glass, the flesh abraded, and then painted in red, the lips still
redder, whilst the beard is painted on the blue, which shades off into
the cheeks in the most realistic manner. Very clever things were done in
this way, always in the realistic direction; but down to the middle of
the century, and even later, there were always some painters who
remained faithful to the traditional cool brown colour. A rather happy
mean between warm and cold flesh is found at Auch (1513), where warmish
enamel upon grey-blue or greenish glass gives modelling and variety of
colour in the flesh, which is yet never hot. Well-chosen pieces of glass
are made use of, in which the darker half comes in happily for the
bearded part of a man's face. So, also, the head of the Virgin at the
foot of the cross is painted upon grey, which tells as such in her coif,
shaded with a cooler brown, but only deepens and saddens her face, and
intensifies the contrast with the Magdalen. Occasionally one of these
heads comes out too blue, but at the worst it is better than the hot,
foxy flesh painting which became the rule.

Painting in colour upon glass could naturally not stop at flesh red. It
was used for pale blue skies, at first only to get a more delicate
gradation from pale pot-metal colour to white, but eventually for the
sky throughout the picture. In connection with yellow stain it gave a
green for distant landscape.

Enamel was used in ornament to give the colour of fruits and flowers in
garlands and the like, and generally for elaboration of detail, which,
if not trivial, was of small account in serious decoration. For a while
there were glass painters who remained proof against its seduction. It
was not till the latter half of the sixteenth century that glass
painters generally began seriously to substitute enamel for pot-metal,
and to rely upon paint, translucent as well as opaque. Even then they
could not do without pot-metal, avoid it as they might. The really
strong men, such as the Crabeth Brothers, at Gouda, by no means
abandoned the old method, but they relied so much upon paint as to
greatly obscure the glory of their glass. The Gouda windows, which bring
us to the seventeenth century, contain among them the most daring things
in glass extant. They prove that a subject can be rendered more
pictorially than one would have conceived to be possible in glass, but
they show also what cannot be done in it; in fact, they may be said to
indicate, as nearly as can be, the limits of the practicable. What
artists of this calibre could not do we may safely pronounce to be
beyond the scope of glass painting, even with the aid of enamel.

[Illustration: 46. THE BAPTISM, GOUDA.]

No skill of painting could make otherwise than dull the masses of
heavily painted white glass employed to represent the deep shade of the
receding architecture in the upper part of the window on page 242; so,
the mass of masonry which serves in the lower half of the window on this
page as a background to the Donor and his patron saint and some shields
of arms, represented as it is by a thick scum of brown paint, could not
but lack lustre. Think of the extent of all that uninteresting paint;
what a sacrifice it means of colour and translucency!

Enamel painting did not lead to much. The colours obtained by that means
had neither the purity nor the richness and volume of pot-metal. They
had to be strengthened with brown, which still further dulled them; and,
the taste for light and shade predominating as it did in the seventeenth
century, the glass painter was eventually lured to the destruction of
all glass-like quality in his glass.

There are some windows in the cathedral at Brussels, in the chapel
opposite that of the Holy Sacrament, where are Van Orley's windows,
which bear witness to the terrible decline that had taken place during
something like a century--not that they are badly executed in their way.
The texture of silk, for example, is given by the glass painter
perfectly; but, in the struggle for picturesque effects of light and
shade, all consistency of treatment is abandoned. The painter is here
let loose; and he can no more withstand the attractions of paint than a
boy can resist the temptation of fresh fallen snow. The one must throw
snowballs at somebody, the other must lay about him with pigment. Here
he lays about him with it recklessly. He is reckless, that is, of the
obscurity of the glass he covers with it. At moments, when the sun
shines fiercely upon it, you dimly see what he was aiming at;
nine-tenths of the time all is blackness. Slabs of white glass are
coated literally by the yard with dense brown pigment through which the
light rarely shines.

It had become the practice now to glaze a window mainly in rectangular
panes of considerable size. Where pot-metal colour was used at all, it
had of necessity to be surrounded with a leaden line; but within the
area of the coloured mass the leading was usually in these upright and
horizontal lines, and not at all according to the folds of the drapery
or what not. If the glazier went out of his way to take a lead line
round a face, instead of across it, that was as much as he would do; if
it was merely the face of a cherub, however delicately painted, he
would, perhaps, as at S. Jacques, Antwerp, cut brutally across it; and
even where structural lead lines compelled him to use separate pieces of
material, he by no means always took advantage of the opportunity of
getting colour in his glass, but, as at Antwerp, contentedly accepted
his rectangular panes of white, as something to paint on--to the
exclusion of no matter how much light. It simplified matters, no doubt,
for the painter thus to throw away opportunities, and just depend upon
his brush; but it resulted at the best only in an imitation of oil
painting, lacking the qualities of oil paint.

[Illustration: 47. S. MARTIN ÈS VIGNES, TROYES.]

The French glass painters were less reckless. At Troyes, indeed, there
is plenty of seventeenth century glass in which a workman can still find
considerable interest. That of Linard Gontier, in particular, has
deservedly a great reputation. He was a painter who could get with a
wash of colour, and seemingly with ease, effects which most glass
painters could only get at by stippling, hatching, and picking out; and
he managed his enamel very cleverly, floating it on with great
dexterity. But it is rarely that he gets what artists would call colour
out of it. Even in the hands of a man of his prodigious skill the method
proclaims its inherent weakness. The work is thinner, duller, altogether
poorer, than the earlier glass of much less consummate workmen, who
worked upon sounder and severer principles. The strength and the
weakness of the painter are exemplified in the group of Donors above.
The painting is admirable, not only in the heads, but in the texture of
the men's cloaks; those cloaks, however, are painted in black paint.
When the light is quite favourable they look like velvet; they never
look like glass.

There is here the excuse, for what it may be worth, of texture and
perhaps other pictorial qualities. Even that is often wanting in
seventeenth century work, as when, at S. Jacques, Antwerp, the
background to a design in white and stain is glazed in panes of white
glass solidly coated with brown paint. This is obscuration out of pure
wilfulness.

It was not only when the artist sought to get strong effects in enamel
painting that the method fell short of success. The delicacy that might
be got by means of it was neutralised by the necessity of some sort of
glazing, and matters were not mended by glazing the windows in panes. It
is impossible to take much satisfaction in the most delicately painted
glass picture when it is so scored over with coarse black lines of lead
or iron that it is as if you were looking at it through a grill. That is
very much the effect seen in Sir Joshua Reynolds' famous window in the
ante-chapel at New College, Oxford (two lights of which are shown
opposite), where the Virtues are seen imprisoned, you may say, within
iron bars. They look very much better there than in the glass, which,
for all the graceful draughtsmanship of the artist and the delicate
workmanship of the painter, is ineffective to the last degree. It has no
more brilliancy or sparkle than a huge engraving seen against the light;
square feet of white glass are muddied over with paint.

It was not Sir Joshua's fault, of course, that the traditions of the
glazier's craft were in his day well-nigh extinct; but Sir Horace
Walpole was quite right when he described these vaunted Virtues as
"washy." To say that they are infinitely more pleasing in the artist's
designs is the strongest condemnation of the glass.

[Illustration: 48. VIRTUES, BY SIR J. REYNOLDS, NEW COLL., OXFORD.]

There was one use made of enamel which promised to be of real help to
the glazier--that of painting the necessary shadows on pot-metal in
shades of the same colour as the glass. Since enamel of some kind had to
be used, why not employ a colour more akin to the glass itself than mere
brown? It would seem as if by so doing one might get depth of colour
with less danger of heaviness than by the use of brown; but the glass
painted in that way (by the Van Lingen, for example, a family of
Flemings established in England, whose work may be seen at Wadham and
Balliol Colleges, Oxford) was by no means free from heaviness. Enamel
then, it will be seen, was never really of any great use in glass
painting, and it led to the degradation of the art to something very
much like the painting of transparencies, as they are called, on linen
blinds.

Let us note categorically the objections to it. A glazier objects to it,
that it is an evasion of the difficulty of working in glass, and not a
frank solution of it. That may be sentimental more or less. A colourist
objects to it, because it is impossible to get in it the depth and
richness of strong pot-metal, or the brilliancy of the more delicate
shades of self-coloured material. That, it may be urged, remains to be
proved, but the enamel painter practically undertook to prove the
contrary, and failed. Admirers of consistency object to it, that it
succeeds so ill in reconciling the delicacy of painting aimed at with
the brutality of the glazing employed. That, again, is a question of
artistic appreciation, not so easily proved to those who do not feel the
discord. Lovers of good work, of work that will stand, object to it that
it is not lasting. This is a point that can be easily proved.

The process of enamel painting has been explained above (page 77). The
one thing necessary to the safe performance of the operation is that the
various glass pigments shall be of such consistency as to melt at a
lower temperature than the glass on which they are painted. That, of
course, must keep its shape in the kiln, or all would be spoilt. The
melting of the pigment is, as a matter of fact, made easier by the
admixture of some substance less unyielding than glass itself--such as
borax--to make it flow. This "flux," as it is called, makes the glass
with which it is mixed appreciably softer than the glass to which it is
apparently quite safely fixed by the fire. It is thus more susceptible
to the action of the atmosphere; it does not contract and expand equally
with that; and in the course of time, perhaps no very long time, it
scales off. Excepting in Swiss work (to which reference is made in
Chapter IX.) this is so commonly so, that you may usually detect the use
of enamel by the specks of white among the colour, where the pigment has
worked itself free, altogether to the destruction of pictorial illusion.
And it is not only with transparent enamel that this happens, but also
with the brown used by the later painters for shading.

The brown tracing and painting colour was originally a hard metallic
colour which required intense heat to make it flow. The glass had to be
made almost red-hot, at which great heat there was always a possibility
that the pigment might be fired away altogether, and the painter's
labour lost. In the case of the thirteenth century painter's work the
danger was not very serious. Thanks to the downright and sometimes even
brutal way in which he was accustomed to lay on the paint, solidly and
without subtlety of shade, his work was pretty well able to take care of
itself in the kiln. It was the more delicate painting which was most in
danger of being burnt away; and in proportion as men learnt to carry
their painting further, and to get delicate modelling, they became
increasingly anxious to avoid all possibility of any such catastrophe.
The easiest way of doing this was (as in the case of transparent enamel)
to soften this colour with flux. That enabled them to fire their glass
at a much lower heat, at which there was no risk of losing the painting,
and they were able so to make sure of getting the soft gradations of
shade they wanted; and the more the painter strove to get pictorial
effects the more he was tempted to soften his pigment; but, according as
the flux made the colour easier to manage in the fire, it made it less
to be depended upon afterwards; and the later the work, and the more
pictorial its character, the more surely the painting proves at this
date to have lost its hold upon the glass. In many a seventeenth century
window the Donors were depicted in their Sunday suits of black velvet
and fur, the texture quite wonderfully given; now their garments are
very much the worse for wear, more than threadbare. The black or brown
is rich no longer, it is pitted with specks of raw white light;
sometimes the colour has peeled off _en masse_. Time has dealt
comparatively kindly with the gentlemen on page 81, but in the glass
there is an air of decay about their sable cloaks which takes
considerably away from their dignity. It is one characteristic of
enamelled windows that they do not mellow with age, like mosaic glass,
but only get shabby.

Any one altogether unacquainted with the characteristics of style is apt
to be very much at fault as to the date of a window. The later windows
are in so much more dilapidated a condition than the earlier that they
are quite commonly mistaken for the older.

It has to be borne in mind that most of the devices adopted by the glass
painters--the use, namely, of large sheets of fragile glass, and the
avoidance of strengthening leads, no less than the resort to soft
enamel, whether for colour or for shading--all go to make it more
perishable.

It may be said that the decay of the later painting is due not so much
to the use of enamel as to the employment of soft flux. That is true.
But when it comes to the painting of texture and the like, the
temptation to use soft colour has generally proved to be irresistible.
One is forced to the conclusion that the aim of the later glass painter
was entirely wrong; that for the sake of pictorial advantages--which
went for very little in a scheme of effective church decoration, even if
they did not always detract from the breadth of the work--he gave up the
qualities which go at once to make glass glorious, and to give it
permanence. Whatever the merits of seventeenth century glass painting
they are not the merits of glass; there is little about it that counts
for glass, little that is suggestive of glass--except the breakages it
has suffered.

What is said of seventeenth century glass applies also to that of the
eighteenth century, only with more force. Sir Joshua and Benjamin West
were quite helpless to raise the art out of the slough into which it had
fallen, for they were themselves ignorant of its technique, and did not
know what could be done in glass. It was not until the Gothic revival in
our own century, and a return to mosaic principles, that stained glass
awoke to new life.



CHAPTER IX.

THE NEEDLE POINT IN GLASS PAINTING.


Allusion has been made to the glass painter's use of the point for
scraping out lights, and especially diapers upon glass coated with
pigment. These are often quite lace-like in their delicacy. That would
be a poor compliment if it meant that the glass painter had had no more
wit than to imitate the effects produced in a material absolutely unlike
glass. But it is not merely for want of a better word that the term
lace-like is used. It is strictly appropriate, and for a very good
reason. It was explained how from the first the glass painter would use
the stick end of his brush to scrape out sharp lights in his painting,
or even diaper patterns out of a tint. The latest glass painters made
more and more use of the point, and of a finer point than the brush end,
until, in Swiss work, they adopted the pen and the needle itself. It is
not surprising, then, that point-work should resemble point-work, though
the one be in thread and the other on glass. The strange thing would
have been if it were not so. Thus it comes about that much of the Swiss
diaper work is most aptly described as lace-like in effect.

The field of a small shield is frequently diapered with a pattern so
fine that it could only have been produced with a fine point. Some of
the diapers opposite may be identified as portions of heraldic shields.
On a shield it may be taken to represent the engraving of the metal
surface of the thing itself; and, indeed, here again is a significant
resemblance between two technical processes.

To scratch with a needle or with a graver is much the same thing; and
thus many a Swiss diaper suggests damascening, and might just as well
have been executed in bright lines of gold or silver filigree, beaten
into lines graven in steel or iron, as scraped out of a tint on glass.

[Illustration: 49. EXAMPLES OF SCRATCHING OUT.]

But the use of the point was by no means reserved for ornamental detail.
It became the main resource of the painter, and so much so, that this
technique, or this development of technique, is the most striking
characteristic of Swiss glass painting--if that should be called
painting which has really more affinity with etching.

For the laying on of the paint in the form of solid colour, or of matted
tint, or of skilfully floated wash, is only the groundwork of the Swiss
glass painter's method. It scarcely needs to be explained how admirably
the point adapted itself to the representation of hair, fur, feathers,
and the like. The familiar bears, for example, the device of the city of
Berne, which occur very frequently in Swiss heraldic work, are rendered
at Lucerne in the most marvellously skilful manner. First a juicy wash
of colour is floated all over the body of the beast, more or less
translucent, but judiciously varied so as to give _à peu près_ the
modelling of the creature. Then with a fine point the lines of the fur
are scraped out, always with an eye to the further development of the
modelling. Finally, the sharp lights are softened, where necessary, with
delicate tint, and a few fine hair-lines are put in with a brush in dark
brown.

By no conceivable method of execution could certain textures be better
rendered than this. A similar process is adopted in rendering the
damascened surface of slightly rounded shields; but in that case the
modelling of the ground is first obtained by means of matt, not wash.

Black as a local colour, whether by way of heraldic tincture or to
represent velvet in costume, was very generally used; but in such small
quantities always as entirely to justify its use. The practice, that is
to say, referred to on page 57, with reference to the German work at
Shrewsbury, was carried further. This was quite a different thing from
what occurs, for example, in a late window at Montmorency, where four
brown Benedictine monks are frocked in muddy paint: that is a fault of
judgment no skill in execution could make good. In the case of black
used by way of local colour the drawing lines were of course scraped out
in clear glass, and toned, if need were, with tint. The hair, cap, and
feathers of the figure opposite illustrate the processes of execution
above described; the chain armour about the man's neck is also very
deftly suggested.

[Illustration: 50. NEEDLE POINT WORK, SWISS.]

The use of the point went further than rendering the texture of hair,
and so on. It was used for the rendering of all texture and the
completion of modelling everywhere. The Swiss glass painter did very
much what is done in large when one draws on brown or grey paper in
white and black; only instead of black chalk he used brown paint, and
instead of putting on white chalk he scraped away a half tint with which
he had begun by coating the glass; and of course he worked in small.

One knows by experience how much more telling the white crayon is than
the black, how much more modelling you seem to get with very little
drawing; and so it is in glass; and so it was that the glass painter
depended so much more upon taking out lights than upon putting in darks.
The difference between the Swiss manner and the process already
described in reference to Renaissance church glass was mainly that,
working upon so much smaller a scale, the artist depended so much more
upon the point. His work is, in fact, a kind of etching. It is the exact
reverse of drawing in pen and ink, where the draughtsman works line by
line up to his darkest shadow. Here he works line by line to clearest
light, precisely as the etcher draws his negative upon copper, only on
glass it is the positive picture which is produced. So far as
manipulation is concerned the two processes are identical. It is indeed
quite within the bounds of possibility that the method of the glass
painter (and not that of the damascener, as generally supposed) may
first have put the etcher upon the track of his technique.

The method of workmanship employed by the painter is shown pretty
clearly on page 90. In spite of a certain granular surface given by the
stone employed by the lithographer in reproducing the design, it is
quite clearly seen how the man's armour and the texture of the silk in
his sleeves is all obtained by the point. The trace of the needle is not
clearly shown in the flesh, except in the hand upon his hip; but on page
93 it is everywhere apparent--in the shading of the architecture, at the
top of the page, in the damascening of the tops of shields below, in the
drawing of the pastoral staff, in the modelling of the mitre and the
representation of the jewels upon it, no less than in the rendering of
the texture of the silk.

This ultra-delicacy of workmanship was naturally carried to its furthest
extent upon white glass or upon white and stain, but the same method was
employed with pot-metal colour; and, during the early part of the
sixteenth century at least, pot-metal colour was used when it
conveniently could be, and the leading was sometimes cleverly schemed,
though the glass employed was often crude in colour. Eventually, in
Switzerland as everywhere, enamel colour succeeded pot-metal, by which,
of course, it would have been impossible correctly to render the
tinctures of elaborately quartered shields on the minute scale to which
they were customarily drawn. At Lucerne, for example, there are some
small circular medallions with coats of arms not much bigger than occur
on the back of an old-fashioned watchcase. Needless to say that there
the drawing is done entirely with a point. This kind of thing is, of
course, glass painting in miniature; it is not meant to say that it is
effective; but it is none the less marvellously done. It was at its
best, roughly speaking, from 1530 to a little later than 1600. Some of
the very best that was ever done, now at the Rath-haus at Lucerne, bears
date from 1606-1609; there is some also at the Hof-kirche there; but
that is out of the reach of ordinary sight, and this is placed where it
can conveniently be studied. The point-work, it should be understood, is
still always scraped out of brown, or it may be black. The enamel that
may be used with it is floated on independently of this; and as time
went on enamel was of course very largely used, especially in the
seventeenth century. To the credit of the Swiss it should be said that,
alone among later glass painters, they were at once conscientious and
expert in the chemistry of their art, and used enamel which has been
proof against time. They knew their trade, and practised it devotedly.
Possibly it was the small scale upon which they worked which enabled
them to fuse the enamel thoroughly with the glass. It is due to them
also to say that, though their style may have been finikin, there was
nothing feeble about their workmanship; that was masterly. And they
remain the masters of delicate manipulation and finish in glass
painting.

Although the needle point was used to most effective purpose in Swiss
glass it did not of course entirely supersede other methods. At the
Germanic Museum at Nuremberg (where there is a fair amount of good work,
1502-1672) there is some matted tint which is shaded and then lined in
brown, much after the manner of one of Dürer's woodcuts. It has very
much the appearance of a pen drawing shaded, as many of the old masters'
drawings were, in brown wash.

[Illustration: 51. NEEDLE-POINT WORK, SWISS.]

A fair amount of simple figure work in white and stain continued to be
done, in which outline went for a good deal, and matted shadow was only
here and there helped out with the point. In landscape backgrounds shade
tint was sometimes broadly and directly floated on. But as often as not
shading was executed to a great extent with the needle, whilst local
colour was painted with enamel. Even in association with admirable
heraldry and figure work, one finds distant figure groups and landscapes
painted in this way. They look more like coloured magic-lantern slides
than painted window glass.

Sometimes subtlety of workmanship was carried rather beyond the bounds
of discretion, as when at Nuremberg (1530) faces were painted in tint
against clear glass, without outline, the mere shading, delicate as it
is, being depended upon to relieve them from the ground. It must be
confessed that, near to the eye, it does that; but the practice does not
recommend itself.

It is remarkable how very faint a matt of colour on the surface of
transparent glass gives a sort of opacity to it which distinguishes it
from the clear ground. Sometimes white enamel is used, sometimes perhaps
a mere coat of flux: it is difficult to say what it is, but there is
often on the lightest portions of the painted glass no more than the
veriest film, to show that it has been painted.

It is obvious that glass of the most delicate character described must
be the work of the designer; and it seems clear, from numerous drawings
extant, which are evidently the cartoons for Swiss window panes, that
the draughtsman contemplated carrying out his design himself. At all
events, he frequently left so much out of these drawings, that, if he
trusted to the painting of another, no little of the credit of the
draughtsmanship was due to that other, and he was at least part designer
of the window. In glass where painting is carried to a high state of
perfection it goes without saying that the painter must be an artist
second only to the designer. Invention and technical power do not always
go together. But if the designer can paint his own glass, and will, so
much the better. It is more than probable that the best glass is the
autograph work of the designer.



CHAPTER X.

THE RESOURCES OF THE GLASS PAINTER--A RECAPITULATION.


Having followed the course of technique thus far, it may be as well to
survey the situation and see where we now stand. Suppose an artist
altogether without experience in glass had occasion to design a window.
The first thing he would want to know would be the means at his command
at this present moment, and what dependence he could place upon them.
That is what it is intended briefly to set forth in this chapter, quite
without reference to date or style or anything but the capacities of the
material. The question is, what can be done with it? Not until a man
knows that is he in a position to make up his mind as to what he will
do.

If he ask, as artists will, why cannot he do just what he likes, and as
he likes, the answer is: because glass was not made for him, and will
only do what he wants on condition of his demands upon it being
reasonable. He might find it pleasanter if the world revolved round him;
but it does not. If he would make a window he must go the way of glass;
and the way of glass is this:--

In the first place, it is mosaic. It may be a mosaic of white glass or
of the pearly tints which go to make what is termed grisaille, in which
case the leads which bind the glass together form the pattern, or, at
all events, a feature in it. Or it may be of coloured glass, or of white
and colour, in which case the glass forms the pattern, and the lead
joints are more or less lost in the outline of the design.

If the pattern is in white upon a deep-coloured ground the lead joints
crossing the pattern and not forming part of it are, as it were, eaten
up by the spreading rays of white light, and, supposing them to be
judiciously contrived, do not count for much. On the other hand, the
lead joints crossing the coloured ground are lost in its depth.
Advantage is taken of this to break up the ground more than would be
necessary for convenience of glazing, or of strength when glazed, and so
to get that variety of pot-metal upon which so much of the beauty of
glass colour depends.

[Illustration: 52. PLAIN GLAZING, EARLY FRENCH.]

To give satisfactory colour the best of pot-metal glass is essential.
Structural conditions which a man is bound to take into account in his
design are--that the shapes he draws must be such as can readily be cut
by the glazier; that his lead joints must be so schemed as, where not
lost in the glass, to form part of the design, strengthening, for
example, the outlines; that his plan must at intervals include provision
for substantial iron bars which shall not interfere with the drawing.

He must understand that each separate colour in his composition is
represented by a separate piece of glass, cut out of a sheet of the
required colour. There may, and should, however, be variety in it. A
sheet of glass varies in depth of tone according to its thickness, which
in the best glass is never even; moreover, it may be streaked or
otherwise accidentally varied; and so considerable play of tint may be
got in a well-selected piece of pot-metal. Should a tint be required
which the palette of the glazier does not supply it may sometimes be
obtained by leading up two thicknesses of glass together. This expedient
is called "plating."

[Illustration: 53. MOSAIC GLASS, ASSISI.]

There are two very workmanlike ways in which white and colour may be
obtained in one piece of glass. If the glass is not coloured throughout
its thickness, but only a part of the way through, the coloured part may
be eaten away in places by acid (it used formerly to be tediously
abraded); and so a pattern of white may be traced upon a ground of blue,
for example, or, as is more common, ruby.

A piece of white or pale coloured glass may further be _stained_, but
only, so far, of one colour, yellow. The window opposite is all in white
and golden-yellow. This result is produced by the action of silver upon
it, which, at a sufficient temperature, develops a tint varying from
lemon to orange of beautiful quality, and as imperishable as the glass;
but one cannot be quite certain always as to the precise shade it will
take in the fire. On blue it gives green, and so on.

By the combination of these two processes three tints may be obtained,
or even four upon the same piece of glass--say white, green, and yellow
all upon a blue ground.

There is a third method of avoiding lead glazing. If little jewels of
coloured glass be cut out of various sheets and placed upon white glass
they become fused at a sufficient heat in the kiln, and adhere more or
less firmly to the glass on which they are laid; but this process of
"annealing" is not very safe. Still less to be depended upon is the
fourth process of "enamelling." In that case the coloured glass is
applied in the form of a paint upon a sheet of white. Fusing at a
comparatively low temperature, it rarely gets quite firmly fixed. Nor
has it the depth of pot-metal colour. The three processes of staining,
annealing, and enamelling, entail, it will be seen, the burning of the
glass. Literally this is the limit of what can be done in stained glass.

[Illustration: 54. WINDOW IN WHITE AND STAIN, WARWICK CASTLE.]

The term stained glass, however, is generally used to include painting,
which from the first has been associated with it. This painting (not to
be confounded with the above mentioned enamelling) is a second process,
which the glass undergoes after it is cut and before it is fired. It is
not in the least what a painter understands by painting. It is, in the
first place, a means of giving in solid brown pigment, which effectually
stops out the light, detail smaller than mere glazing would permit, such
as the features of a face or the veining of a leaf: it gives the foils
of the foliage, and marks the individual berries in the border overleaf.
In the next it is used partially to obscure the glass, so as to give
shading. The pigment is not used as colour, but for drawing and shading
only. Local colour is represented by the pieces of pot-metal glass
employed; the painting fulfils precisely the part of the engraving in a
print coloured by hand. The various methods of painting are explained
on pages 45, 64, 89. In some respects they have more affinity with line
drawing, mezzotint, and etching than with oil or water-colour painting.

[Illustration: 55. AUXERRE.]

It is extremely difficult to get delicacy of modelling or high finish at
one painting--to all but a consummate glass painter impossible. Many a
time the work has to be painted several times over, each painting being
separately burnt in, always at some risk. Painting that is not
sufficiently fired peels off in time. If it is fired too much it may be
burnt quite away.

The effect of paint in the form of shading is naturally to obscure the
glass. Up to a certain point there is not much harm in that; it counts
for nothing as compared with the facilities of expression it affords.
But that point is soon reached. Then it becomes a question of the
relative value of, on the one hand, purity and translucency of glass
colour, and, on the other, of pictorial qualities. The problem is to get
the utmost of modelling or expression with the minimum of obscuration.
Much depends upon the method of painting adopted. So long as the light
is allowed to get through it, one may indulge in a fair amount of
shading, but a deep even tint, leaving none of the glass clear, is
inevitably heavy. The more one can represent shadows by deeper tinted
glass the more brilliant the result will be.

This painting, although, strictly speaking, in brown enamel, is not, as
was said, what is usually meant by enamel painting: that is described on
page 77. A window may be painted altogether in enamel; and, when the
mosaic method went out, designs were painted in enamel upon panes of
plain white glass; but, for the most part, since the pieces had to be
connected by lead, it was found convenient to use pot-metal for some of
the stronger colours. In recent times, however, owing to the
introduction of large sheets of thicker glass, to improved glass kilns,
and also to more accurate knowledge of the chemistry of enamel colours,
it is possible to paint a picture-window on one sheet of glass. That has
been done with extraordinary skill at Sèvres. You may see really
marvellous results in this kind in the Chapel of the Bourbons at Dreux.
If you want neither more nor less than a picture upon glass, and are
content with a picture in which the shadows are opaque and the lights
transparent, that is the way to get it. You will not get the qualities
of glass. Within the last two or three years there seems to have been
very considerable improvement in the purity, translucency, and depth of
enamel colours. How far they are lasting remains to be proved. Anyway,
brilliant as they are, they have not by any means the intensity of
pot-metal glass, and it does not seem, humanly speaking, possible that a
film of coloured glass upon a sheet of white can ever compete in
strength and volume with colour in the body of the glass itself.

If, therefore, we want the qualities of deep, rich, luminous and
translucent colour, which glass better than any other medium can give,
we must resort to the use of pot-metal--that is to say, to
glazing--assisted more or less by brown paint, used, not to get colour,
but to stop it out, or to tone it down.

According to the more or less of your dependence upon paint your method
may be described as mosaic or pictorial.

Starting upon the mosaic system, you rough out your design in coloured
glass (or what stands for it upon paper), and then consider how, by use
of paint, as above mentioned, you may get further detail, shading,
harmony of tone.

Starting upon the pictorial system you sketch in your design, shade it,
and colour it, and then bethink you how you can get the glass to take
those lines.

In either case you have, of course, from the first, a very distinct idea
as to the assistance you will get from the supplementary process; but it
makes all the difference whether you think first of the glass or of the
painting. Upon that will depend the character of your window. If you
want all that glass can give in the way of colour, begin with the
mosaic. If you want pictorial effect, think first of your painting. If
you want to get both, balance the two considerations equally in your
mind from the first. Only, to do that, you must be a master of your
trade.

A first consideration in the design of a window are the bars which are
to support it. The skilled designer begins by setting these out upon his
paper, nearer or closer together, according to the width of the opening,
from nine to eighteen inches asunder. In a wide window it may be as well
to make every second or third bar extra strong. Upright stanchions may
also be introduced. Exigencies of design may make it necessary to alter
the arrangement of bars with which you set out. You may have
occasionally to bend one of them to escape a face, or other important
feature; but, if you begin with them, this will not often be necessary.
Bars may be shaped to follow the lines of the design. There is nothing
against that, except that it is rather costly to do; and, on the whole,
it is hardly worth doing. In big windows, such as those at King's
College, Cambridge, raised some feet above the level of the eye, stout
bars have, in effect, only about the value of strong lead lines, whilst
lead lines disappear.

The points to be observed with regard to glazing are these: Since leads
must form lines, it is as well to throw them as much as possible into
outlines. In a cleverly glazed window the design will tell even when the
paint has perished. To glaze a picture in squares, regardless of the
drawing, is mere brutality. Because by aid of the diamond glass may
actually be cut to almost any shape, it is not advisable, therefore, to
design shapes awkward to cut, but rather to design the lead lines of a
window with a view to simplicity of cutting and strength of glazing.
Pieces of glass difficult to cut are the first to break. It is the
business of the designer to anticipate breakage by introducing a lead
just where it would occur. _Tours de force_ in glazing are not worth
doing. It is a mistake to be afraid of leads. Skilfully introduced, they
help the effect; and, except in work which comes very near the eye, they
are lost in the glass.

The quality of pot-metal glass is all important. It should never be
mechanically =flat= and even. The mechanically imperfect material made in
the Middle Ages is so infinitely superior to the perfect manufacture of
our day, that we have had deliberately to aim at the accidents of colour
and surface which followed naturally from the ruder appliances and less
accurate science of those days. There are legends about lost secrets of
glass making, to which much modern produce gives an appearance of truth.
But, as a matter of fact, though old glass undoubtedly owes something of
its charm to weathering, better and more beautiful glass was never made
than is now produced; but it is not of the cheapest, and it wants
choosing.

The choice of glass is a very serious matter. What are called "spoilt"
sheets are invaluable. It takes an artist to pick the pieces. But
without experience in glass the judgment even of a colourist will often
be at fault. Some colours spread unduly, so that the effect of the
juxtaposition of any two is not by any means the same as it would be in
painting. It is only by practical experiment that a man learns, for
example, how much red will, in conjunction with blue, run into purple,
and which shade of either colour best holds its own. Effects of this
kind have been more or less scientifically explained--by M. Viollet le
Duc for one--but, in order to profit by any such explanation, a man must
have experience also.

Referring to "flashed" glass, all kinds of double-glass are now made:
red and blue = purple, yellow and blue = green, and so on; but there is
not, except, perhaps, in work on quite a small scale, much to be gained
by this. In fact, it is not well in work on a fairly large scale to
depend too much upon etching pattern out of coated glass. In a window
breadth of effect is of more account than minuteness of detail. Damask
or other patterns in draperies might, more often than they are, be
leaded up in pot-metal. It would compel simplicity on the part of the
designer, and the effect of the glass would be richer.

With the increasing variety of coloured glass now made, plating becomes
less necessary than once it was. The drawback to the practice is that
dust and dirt may insinuate themselves between the two pieces of glass,
and deaden the colour. The safe plan is to fuse the two pieces of glass
together.

Good glass is more than half the battle. Raw glass may be toned down by
paint, but poor glass cannot be made rich by it. The Italian glass
painters often used crude greens and purples, and softened them with
brown. They might do that with comparative safety under an Italian sky;
but the deeper tones produced that way have not the purity and
lusciousness of juicy pot-metal, and the paint is liable to peel off and
betray the poverty of the cheap material. It is the fundamental mistake
of the painter, because by means of paint he can do so much, to depend
upon it for more than it can do. The toning of local colour with brown
paint is only a makeshift for more thoroughly mosaic work; but it is an
ever-present temptation to the painter, and one against which he should
be on his guard.

The actual technique of glass painting, it has been explained already,
is quite different from painting as the painter understands it; often it
is not so much painting as scraping out paint. The artist may, nay must,
choose his own technique. He will get his effect in the way most
sympathetic to him. What he has to remember is, that, except where he
wants actually to stop out light, he must get light into his
shadows--whether by stippling the wet colour, or by scrubbing it when
dry with a hog tool, or by scraping with a point, is his affair. For
example, if he wants to lower the tint of a piece of glass, the worst
thing he could do would be to coat it with an even film of paint. It
would be better to stipple it so that in parts more light came through.
But the best way of preserving the brilliancy of the glass would be
either to paint the glass with cross-hatched lines, or to scrape bright
lines out of a coat of paint.

In draperies, backgrounds, and so on, this is most effectively done in
the form of a diaper, often as minute as damascening, which scarcely
counts much as pattern. Bold or delicate, a diaper is quite the most
effective means of lowering colour; even hard lines seldom appear hard
in glass, owing to the spreading of the light as it comes through; but
the inevitable hardness of lines scraped out may be mitigated by dabbing
the wet paint so as to make it uneven, or by rubbing off part of the
paint after the lines have been scraped out. Another and yet another
delicate film of paint may be passed over the painted diaper by a
skilful hand, but out of each film lights should be scraped if the full
value of the glass is to be preserved.

[Illustration: 56. SCRATCHED DIAPER.]

Solid pigment as local colour is a thing to indulge in only with extreme
moderation. The strong black lead lines often want lines or touches of
black strong enough to keep them in countenance (that is not
sufficiently remembered, and it is when it is forgotten that the leads
assert their harshness in white glass), and here and there, in work on a
small scale, a point of black (a velvet cap, a bag, a shoe, as shown
overleaf,) is very valuable as local colour; but, when the scale allows,
it is better always to get this mass in dark-toned glass, which gives
the necessary depth of colour most easily, most safely, and with most
luminous effect.

The thing not to do, is to paint the robes of black-draped figures in
black, a common practice in the seventeenth century. On the other hand,
a robe of black richly embroidered with gold and pearls may quite well
be rendered, as it was in late Gothic work, by solid paint, because the
pearls being only delicately painted, and the gold being in great part
perfectly clear yellow stain, plenty of light shines through.

As to the means of getting delicate painting in glass, the utmost
delicacy can be got, but it costs patient labour, and there is risk of
its going for nothing.

The only quite safe way of getting very delicate effects of painting is
to paint much stronger than it is meant to appear. A very fierce fire
will then reduce that to a mere ghost of what it was; possibly it will
burn it away altogether. Upon this ghost of your first painting you may
paint once again, strengthening it (and indeed exaggerating it) in all
but quite the most delicate parts. A strong fire will, as before, reduce
this without affecting the first painting. Possibly a third or even a
fourth painting may be necessary to an effect of high finish. When you
have it, it is as lasting as the glass itself.

[Illustration: 57. S. MARY'S, SHREWSBURY.]

This painstaking process, however, is found to be tedious. A much easier
plan is to add to the pigment a quantity of borax, or other substance
which will make it flow easily in the kiln. That necessitates only a
gentle fire, in which there is no risk of burning away the work done,
and enables you to do in one or two operations what would have taken
three or four. But the gentle fire required to fix soft flux only fixes
it gently. Securely to fix the pigment, the glass should have been
raised to almost red heat, to the point, in fact, at which it just
begins to melt, and the colour actually sinks into it, and becomes one
with it. A heat anything like that would have wiped out soft colour
altogether. Moreover, the borax flux itself is very readily decomposed
by the moisture of a climate like ours. Accordingly the more easily
executed work cannot possibly be fast. It fades, they say. That is not
the case. It simply crumbles off, sooner or later; but eventually the
atmosphere has its way with it. That is how we see in modern windows
faces in which the features grow dim and disappear.

We have got to reckon with this certainty, that if we want our painting
to last we must fire it very severely. What will not stand a fierce oven
will not stand the weather.

In view of the labour and risk involved in very delicate painting it
becomes a question how far it is worth while. That will depend upon the
artist's purpose. But the moral seems to be that, for purposes of
decoration generally, it would be better not to aim at too great
delicacy of effect, which is after all not the quality most valuable,
any more than it is most readily attainable, in glass.

Only those who have had actual experience in glass appreciate the value
of silver stain. It gives the purest and most beautiful quality of
yellow, from lemon to orange, brilliant as gold. There is some risk with
it. One kind of glass will take it kindly, another will reject it; you
have to choose your glass with reference to it. The fire may bring it to
a deeper colour than is wanted. It may even come out so heavy and
obscure that it has to be removed with acid, and renewed. Some all but
inevitable uncertainty as to its tint, renders this peculiar yellow more
suitable for use where absolute certainty of tint is not essential.
Nevertheless, the skilled glass painter makes no difficulty of doubling
the process, and staining a dark yellow upon a lighter, with very
beautiful results. Occasionally a master of his craft has gone so far as
literally to paint in stain, scraping out his high lights in white, and
giving, for example, the very picture of embossed goldsmith's work.

In the diapering of draperies and the like stain is of great service,
and again in landscape upon blue. But it has not been used for all it is
worth as a means of qualifying colour which is not precisely right,
apart altogether from pattern. Many a time where a scum of paint has
been employed to reduce a tint, a judicious blur of stain, not
appreciable as such, would have done it more satisfactorily, without in
the least obscuring the glass.

Nowhere is silver stain more invaluable than in windows of white glass
or _grisaille_, the quality of which is not sufficiently appreciated.
The mother-of-pearl-like tints of what is called white glass lend
themselves, in experienced hands, to effects of opalescent colour as
beautiful in their way as the deeper pot-metal tones.

There is no great difficulty in combining _grisaille_ and colour,
provided the white be not too thin nor the colour too deep; but the
happiest combinations are where one or the other is distinctly
predominant. With very deep rich glass, such as that used in the
thirteenth century, it is most difficult to use white in anything like a
patch (for the flesh, for example, in figure work). Unless very heavily
painted it asserts itself too much, and heavy paint destroys its
quality. Practically the only thing to do is to use glass of really
rather strong tint, which in its place has very much the value of white.
The "whites" in Early windows are a long way from purity. They are
greenish, bone colour, horny; but they have much more the effect of
white than has, for example, pure white glass reduced by paint to a
granular tint of umber.

Flesh tints present a difficulty always, unless you are content to
accept a quite conventional rendering of it. In connection with strong
colour you may use flesh-tinted glass; but that is just the one tint
which it is most difficult to get in glass. It is usually too pink.
Painting on white glass in brown produces the most invariably happy
results, and in windows into which white largely enters that is quite
the best expedient to adopt. In practice it proves ordinarily a mistake
to adopt a warmer brown for flesh tint, or to paint it in brown and red,
as was done in the sixteenth century and after that. It looks always
unpleasantly hot. When flesh wants relieving against white it is better
to use a colder white glass for the background. The only condition under
which warm-tinted flesh is quite acceptable is when it is in the midst
of strong red and yellow. The use of red enamel for flesh seems to be a
weak, unnecessary, and unavailing concession to the pictorial. It does
not give the effect of actual flesh, and it does not help the effect of
the window. Since you cannot get actual flesh tones it is as well to
accept the convention of white flesh, which gives breadth and dignity
to the glass. There is a sort of frivolity about enamelled flesh-pink.
It is, in a way, pretty, but out of key with the monumental character of
a window. Glass lends itself best to strong, large work. The quality of
pot-metal gives the colour chord. The leads give the key to the scale of
design--the pitch, as it were, of the artist's voice. That these are
strong (it is seldom worth while resorting to extra thin leads) does not
argue that design must be coarse. You have to balance them with strong
work, with patches, perhaps, as well as strong lines, of dark paint, to
carry off any appearance of brutality in them. This done, much delicate
detail may be introduced. A strong design need not shout any more than a
speaker need, who knows how to manage his voice. That is the condition:
you must know your instrument, and have it under control.

Experience seems to show that a certain formality of design befits
stained glass. Formality of colour arrangement soon becomes tedious; but
it is seldom, if ever, that the design of glass strikes one as unduly
formal.

Mosaic glass is designed, it was said above, with a view to glazing. The
skilled artist designs, so to speak, in leads; but they are not the
design; in fact, they count only as contours, and, except in mere
glazing, they should not be expected to give lines. It is a common fault
to make leads take a part in the design which they will not play in the
glass.

In drawing, strong, firm, even angular lines are valuable, if not
imperative. The radiating light softens them. Drawing which is already
suave is likely to be too soft in the glass, to want accent. Only
experience will tell you how much you must attenuate fingers and the
like in your drawing in order that the light shall fill them out, and
give them just their normal plumpness. The beginner never allows enough
for the spreading of light.

Glass painters who know what they are about use plenty of solid painting
out; but it takes experience to do it cunningly. An artist whose
_métier_ is really glass is not careful of the appearance of his
drawings. Cartoons are nothing but plans of glass, not intrinsically of
any account. Really good glass is better than the drawings for
it--necessary as good sketches may be to please the ignorant patron.

New departures in technique will suggest themselves to every inventive
mind. They may even be forced upon a man--as, by his own confession,
they were forced upon Mr. Lafarge--by the inadequacy of the materials
within his reach, or the incompetence of the workmen on whom he has to
depend. Mr. Lafarge's glass is sometimes very beautiful in colour, and
is strikingly unlike modern European manufacture; but it is not so
absolutely original in method as Americans appear to think. He seems to
have discovered for himself some practices which he might have learnt
from old or even modern work, and to have carried others a step further
than was done before. The basis of his first idea, he explains, was in a
large way to recall the inlay of precious stones that are set in jade by
Eastern artists. That was practically the notion of the earliest
Byzantine workers in glass. His use of other materials than glass in
windows he might have learnt from China, Java, or Japan, where they use
oyster, tortoise, and crocodile shell; or from ancient Rome, where mica,
shells, and alabaster were employed. There is nothing very new in
blended, streaked, or even wrinkled glass, except that moderns do by
deliberate intention what the mediæval glass-maker could not help but
do, and carry it farther than they. In chipping flakes or chunks out of
a solid lump of glass, Mr. Lafarge certainly struck out an idea which
had probably occurred to no one since, in prehistoric ages, man shaped
his arrow heads and so on out of flint. He has produced very beautiful
and jewel-like effects by means of this chipping, though the material
lends itself best to a more barbaric style of design than the artist has
usually been content to adopt. He has appreciated, no one better, the
quality of glass, but not the fact that so characteristic a material as
he adopts must rule the design. The attempt to get pictorial,
atmospheric, or other naturalistic effects by means of it, soon brings
you to its limitations. At the rendering of flesh it comes to a full
stop.

The experiment has been tried by Mr. Lafarge of a minute mosaic of
little pieces of glass between two sheets of white, all fused into one;
but it appears to be too costly, if not too uncertain an expedient, to
be really practical as a means of rendering the human face, more
especially if you want to get expression, which is there of more
importance than natural colour. Another new departure, the device of
blowing glass into shapes, so as to get modelling in them, results so
far in rather dumb and indeterminate form.

It is quite possible to melt together a mosaic of glass without the use
of lead. That practice may yet come into use in window panes, but they
will be as costly as they are fragile. In larger work there is no real
artistic reason why lead or its equivalent should be avoided. How much
old glass would have remained to us if it had been executed in huge
sheets? Here and there perhaps a broken scrap in a museum.

It is not meant to suggest that we should do in the nineteenth century
only what was done in times gone by. Our means are ampler now, our wants
are more. We can follow tradition only so far as it suits our wants;
and, in carrying it further, we are sure to arrive at something so
different that it may be called a new thing. If old methods do not meet
new conditions we must invent others. The problem of our day is how to
reconcile manufacture with anything like art; or failing that, whether
there is a livelihood for the independent artist-craftsman?

Whoever it may be that is to make our stained glass windows in the
future, he will have to make them fit the times. He may discover new
materials. Meanwhile it is of no use quarrelling with those he has. He
must know them and humour them. Bars have to be accepted as needful
supports, leads to be acknowledged as convenient joints; glass must be
allowed its translucency, and painting kept to what it can best do. A
window should own itself a window.

And what is the aim and use of a stained glass window? To "exclude the
light," said the poet, sarcastically. Yes, to subdue its garishness,
soften its glare, tinge it with colour, animate it with form perhaps.

The man who means to do good work in windows will devote as serious
study to old glass as a painter to the old masters. He will not rest
satisfied without knowing what has been done, how it was done, and why
it was done so; but he will not blind himself to new possibilities
because they have never yet been tried. The pity is that often the
antiquary is so bigoted, the glass painter so mechanical, the artist so
ignorant of glass. The three men want fusing into one. The ideal
craftsman is a man familiar with good work, old and new, a master of his
trade, and an artist all the while; a man too appreciative of the best
to be easily satisfied with his own work, too confident in himself to
accept what has been done as final; a man experimenting always, but
basing his experiments upon experience, and proving his reverence for
the great men who light the way for him by daring, as a man has always
dared, to be himself.



BOOK II.



CHAPTER XI.

THE DESIGN OF EARLY GLASS.


Design in glass developed itself on lines almost parallel to the
progress of technique. Each, of course, affected the other--how and why
it is now proposed to show.

It is not intended at present to say more than is absolutely necessary
about "Style," in the historic sense--that is reserved for a chapter by
itself--but, as it is convenient to refer to a period of design by its
name, it will be as well at this stage briefly to enumerate the historic
"Periods."

Glass follows, inevitably, the style of architecture of the period.
Accordingly it is divided broadly into Gothic and Renaissance. Gothic,
in its turn, is divided by Rickman (who first attempted to discriminate
between the styles of architecture in England) into three periods.
Winston, who did for English glass what Rickman did for English
architecture, adopts his classification as follows:--Early Gothic--to
about 1280. Decorated Gothic--to about 1380. Perpendicular Gothic--to
about 1530.

Renaissance art has been classified in Italy according to the century,
and in France has been named after the reigning sovereign--François
Premier, Henri Deux, and so on. In England also we make use of the terms
Tudor, Elizabethan, Jacobean, and the like. No one, however, has
attempted to draw subtle distinctions between the periods of Renaissance
glass, for the obvious reason that the best of it was done within a
comparatively short period, and the rest is not of much account. It is
enough, therefore, to mark off two divisions of Renaissance glass. The
first (which overlaps the latest Gothic) may be called Sixteenth
Century, or by the Italian name Cinque-Cento, or simply Renaissance;
whilst the second, which includes seventeenth century and later work, is
sufficiently described as Late glass.

The development of style in other countries was not quite parallel with
its march on this side of the water. The French were always in advance
of us, whether in Gothic or Renaissance; the Germans lagged behind, at
all events in Gothic; but the pace is equal enough for us to group
windows generally into three Gothic and two Renaissance periods--Early,
Middle, and Late Gothic; Early and Late Renaissance. If we do that it
will concern us less, that Early German work is more Romanesque than
Gothic, that Late French work is not Perpendicular but Flamboyant, and
so on.

The accepted classification is determined mainly by the character of the
architectural or ornamental detail of the design. Such architectural or
other detail--that of costume, for example--is of the very greatest use
as a clue to the date of glass. That is a question of archæology; but it
is not so much the dates that artists or workmen have to do with as with
the course of craftsmanship, the development of art. It is convenient
for us to mark here and there a point where art or workmanship has
clearly reached a new stage; it gives us breathing time, a
starting-point on some fresh voyage of discovery; but such points need
be few. The less we bother ourselves by arbitrary subdivisions of style
the better; and Winston himself allows that his divisions are arbitrary.

The student need not very seriously concern himself about dates or
names. People are much too anxious to get a term for everything, and
when they can use the term glibly they fancy they know all about the
thing. It is no doubt easier to commit to memory a few names and a few
dates than to know anything about a craft; but the one accomplishment
will not do in place of the other. A very little real knowledge of art
or practical workmanship will lead you to suspect, what is the truth,
that there is a good deal of fee-fi-fo-fum about the jargon of styles.
It is handy to talk of old work as belonging to this or that broadly
marked historic period; and it is well worth the while of any one
interested in the course of art to master the characteristics of style.
The student should master them as a matter of course; but he must not
take the consideration of period for more than it is worth. Really we
give far too much attention to these fashions of bygone days--fashions,
it must be allowed, on a more or less colossal scale, compared to ours,
but still only fashions.

It is proposed then to allude here only so far to the styles as may be
necessary to explain the progress of design, and especially the design
of stained glass windows.

In dividing Gothic into Early, Middle, and Late Gothic, corresponding
roughly with the thirteenth, fourteenth, and fifteenth centuries, it is
not forgotten that there is an earlier Gothic of the twelfth and perhaps
eleventh centuries, more or less reminiscent of the Romanesque period
preceding it; but English glass begins, to all intents and purposes,
with the thirteenth century, and even in France there is not a very
great quantity of characteristically earlier glass. What there is
differs from thirteenth century work mainly in the Romanesque character
of the figure drawing and ornamental detail, in its deliberately simple
composition, and in the spontaneity of its design. The glazier was still
feeling his way. Any composition to be found in a Byzantine
ivory-carving, enamel, illuminated manuscript, or what not, might just
as well occur in glass. The more familiar types of early Gothic window
design had not yet settled down into orthodoxy. The lines on which the
oldest windows extant were set out are in the main those of the
thirteenth century also. They were more or less suggested by the shape
of the window opening, which, it will be seen, had always had a good
deal to say as to the direction glass design should take.

[Illustration: 58. POITIERS.]

The window openings in Romanesque or Norman-French churches were single
lights, round or pointed arched, rather broad in proportion to their
width. Stained glass, it has been explained, has to be held in its place
by copper wires, soldered to the leadwork, and attached to iron bars let
into the masonry for that purpose. In the case of a very narrow lancet,
such bars would naturally be placed at convenient intervals across the
opening. But for the most part windows were the reverse of narrow, and
the horizontal bars had to be supplemented by vertical stanchions, so
that the window space was divided into rectangular divisions. As a
matter of construction the glass was made in panels, corresponding to
these, and attached to them. It is not surprising, therefore, that these
divisions should often have been accepted as part of the design, or that
the design of the glass should to some extent have followed them. On
page 113 is the skeleton of the upper part of a twelfth century window.
The strong black lines in the diagram show the bars, the finer ones
indicate the main divisions of the design of the glass. It will be seen
that the four strips into which the upright bars divide the window are
not equal, but that the outer divisions are narrower than the inner, so
as to accommodate themselves to the width of the border. Naturally that
was determined always by the proportion of the window; such borders
measured often one-sixth part, or more, of the entire width. The way in
which the central circular shape in the glass breaks across in front of
the border is an instance of the spontaneity and unexpectedness of
design characteristic of the earliest existing work; later one series of
forms would repeat themselves without interruption throughout the length
of the window. When, as above, the centre of a window is occupied by a
great crucifix, or, as below, other such irregularity occurs, it is safe
to conclude that the glass, if not prior to the thirteenth century,
belongs to its first years. It is characteristic of the very early date
of the glass that the bars in the diagrams given do not go out of their
way to follow the outline of the circles, vesicas, quatrefoils, and
other shapes, but on occasion cut relentlessly across them.

[Illustration: 59. POITIERS EAST WINDOW. (Compare with 24.)]

[Illustration: 60. POITIERS, NORTH TRANSEPT.]

The filling out of such a skeleton as those given would in many respects
be much the same in the eleventh, twelfth, or thirteenth century; and
in each case it would be in direct pursuance of the traditions of Early
Christian design. You may see in Byzantine ivories and enamels precisely
the kind of thing that was done in glass; and in the Romanesque
Michaelis Kirche at Hildesheim, is a painted roof, the design of which
might have been carried out, just as it is, in a giant window.

[Illustration: 61. BORDER, ANGERS.]

[Illustration: 62. BORDER, ANGERS.]

The main divisions of the centre part of such a window would each
contain its little "subject" or glass picture; the border and the
interstices between the pictures would be occupied with foliated
ornament; only, the earlier the work, the more pronounced would be the
Romanesque character, alike of the ornament and the figure work. The
broad borders from Angers, above, and the narrower one from Le Mans
(page 327) differ materially from the accepted thirteenth century type
(page 117). Witness how in the Angers glass the stalks of the foliage
frame little panels in the border, and how in the Le Mans work the
stalks take the form of straps, patterned with painted ornament. This
elaboration of the stalks with painted zig-zag, pearlwork, and so on, is
precisely the kind of thing one sees in Byzantine carving and inlay.
The very early spandril from Angers, below, if not markedly Romanesque
in character is yet not of the distinctively Early Gothic type.

[Illustration: 63. ANGERS.]

The shape of each medallion would be emphasised by a series of coloured
lines or fillets framing it. In quite early work the broader of these
would be broken up into blocks of alternating colour; they would be
patterned probably (which in the thirteenth century they would probably
not be), and altogether the effect of the ornament would be more
jewelled. One of these broken and patterned margins is shown in the
vesica-shaped framing to the figure on page 37--belonging, by the way,
to the window given in skeleton on page 114.

The difference between twelfth and thirteenth century pictures is in the
lingering of Byzantine traditions of design in the earlier work, and in
the strictly simple disposition of the figures _en silhouette_ against
the background, as well as in the way the drapery is wrapped closely
round them, so that the figure always explains itself. There is an
expression and a "go" about some of the earliest figures for which we
look in vain later in the thirteenth century. The figures of the
Apostles from the Ascension at Le Mans on page 33 are altogether more
alive than the thirteenth century bishops, for example, on page 276, who
seem by comparison tame and altogether respectable. A certain
exaggeration there is, no doubt, about the action of these earliest
figures, a certain brutality of rendering, as there is also a certain
barbaric quality in the ornament, and, indeed, in the whole effect; but
of its superlative richness there is no manner of doubt. One is even led
to speculate, when one compares it with later work, whether a certain
barbaric character of design does not go to that unrivalled brilliancy.
In the absolute glory of rich colour the very earliest glass has never
been equalled. The advance of glass painting was at the cost of this,
perhaps barbaric, quality.

[Illustration: 64. EARLY ORNAMENT, SALISBURY.]

In the earliest windows the subjects were not invariably enclosed in
medallions; sometimes the square lines of the bars would be accepted
as division enough; these would be framed with lines of colour, and the
design of the portion of the window within the border would consist (as
occasionally at Chartres) of a series of square subjects, each with its
marginal lines, ranged one above the other. For the most part, however,
the design of the earliest richly coloured windows extant took the shape
of little pictures in panels or medallions. Another favourite scheme was
to delineate the Tree of Jesse. The upper portion of such a window is
given on page 117; but further consideration of Jesse windows is
reserved for a separate chapter.

[Illustration: 65. S. REMI, REIMS.]

From the earliest period, no doubt, clerestory or other lights were
often occupied each with a separate figure standing upright; but such of
these as may remain in their places are not readily distinguishable from
thirteenth century work; and the undoubtedly earlier figures--such, for
example, as those in S. Remi at Reims--have been re-set in framework
more or less old, but so as not to tell us anything very authentic about
the setting out of the original windows. Again at Augsburg, where the
figures in the clerestory are said to be the oldest in Germany (to
belong, in fact, to about the year 1000), the windows are bordered with
modern glazing in white. At Reims we have very rudely drawn figures in
rich colour against a deep background, standing with splayed feet upon
little rounds or half rings of colour, representing the earth, their
names inscribed in bold lettering, which forms a band of yellow behind
their heads. At Augsburg the figures, equally rude in drawing, equally
splay-footed, are in white and colour upon a white ground. They stand
upon little hemispheres of Byzantine ornament, and their names are writ
large in black letters upon the white glass around their heads.
Presumably they were framed in a border of pattern work similar to that
surrounding the medallion windows. The ornamental work in the windows at
S. Remi may not always have formed part of the same window with the
figure work--it does not go very happily with it now--but it is probably
of about the same date; and it illustrates, together with some similar
work at S. Denis, near Paris (so "thoroughly restored" as to have lost
its historic value), a kind of pattern work peculiar to the earliest
glass.

As a rule, early glass divides itself naturally into two classes: work
in rich colour, which is what we have hitherto been discussing, and work
in "grisaille," as it is called; that is to say, in which the glass is
chiefly white, or whitish, relieved only here and there by a line or a
jewel of colour.

Occasionally, as at Auxerre, Reims, and Poitiers, rich figure work is
found set in grisaille or framed by it; and in some fragments from
Châlons, now at the _Musée des Arts Décoratifs_ at Paris, coloured
figures are found on a white ground.

You find also in France rich colour-work surrounded by white glass--the
work of a period when the powers that were became possessed of the idea
that they must lighten the interior of their churches, and accordingly
removed so much of the coloured glass as seemed good to their ignorance,
and replaced it with plain glazing. But, as a rule, and apart from the
tinkering of the latter-day ecclesiastic, rich colour and grisaille were
kept apart in early mediæval churches; that is to say, a coloured window
has not enough white in it perceptibly to affect the depth and richness
of its colour, nor a grisaille window enough colour to disturb the
general impression of white light. At Reims and S. Denis, however, you
find ornament in which white and colour are so evenly balanced that they
belong to neither category. The amount of colour introduced into
grisaille was never at any time a fixed quantity; one has to allow
something for the predilection of the artist; but here the amount of
colour makes itself so distinctly felt that the term grisaille no longer
serves to express it.

The design of these patterns was of a rather mechanical type (pages 35,
118, 120) and not in any case very interesting; but it would have been
difficult under any circumstances to produce a very satisfactory effect
by so equally balancing white and colour. The designer falls between two
stools. The well-known gryphon medallions at S. Denis seem at first to
promise something rather amusing in design, but there is no variety in
them:--and no wonder! the greater number of them prove to be new, and
they have all been rearranged by Viollet le Duc. That is as much as to
say, some of the gryphons are of Abbot Suger's time, but the design of
the window is Viollet le Duc's. White and colour are again too evenly
mixed in the heavy-looking English glass at Lincoln shown on page 121,
but that is of the thirteenth century.

It need hardly be said that the earlier the work, the simpler was the
character of the painting, the more deliberately was pigment reserved
for painting out the light, the more strictly was the shading in lines.
But the painted detail was often small; glass was used in small pieces;
subjects themselves were ordinarily small in scale. The largeness of
effect was due first to the actual simplicity of the main lines of the
design, and then to breadth of colour, a breadth of colour all the more
remarkable seeing the small pieces of glass of which the broad surfaces
were of necessity made up.

Of course, too, the earlier the work the more the design was influenced
by the technique of glazing, the more clearly it can be seen how the
glazier designed (as was explained on page 44) in lead lines, and only
made use of paint to fill them out.

[Illustration: 66. S. REMI, REIMS.]

In twelfth century glass the white was greenish and rather horny in
texture; ruby was sometimes streaky, and often tawny or inclined to
orange; blue varied from deep indigo to pale grey, occasionally it was
of the colour of turquoise; yellow, dark or pale, was usually brassy;
green ranged from bluish to pale apple, and from dull to emerald. These
colours, with a rich brownish-purple, the lighter shades of which served
always as flesh tint, made up the glazier's palette. Happily there was
considerable inequality of colour in the material. It deepened, for
example, towards the selvage of the sheet where it was thickest; it had
streaks and bubbles in it; no two batches ever came out of the pot quite
alike; and altogether the rudely made pot-metal was chemically most
imperfect and artistically all that glass should be.

[Illustration: 67. LINCOLN.]

It would be rash in the extreme to formulate any theory as to early
schemes of colour; probably the glazier's main thought was to get
somehow a deep, rich, solemn effect of colour. He secured this very
often by not confusing his tints, and by allowing a single colour so to
predominate that the window impressed you at once as bluish or greenish
or reddish in tone. He was on the whole happiest when he kept his colour
cool; but he produced also red windows which are never to be forgotten.

In the cathedral at Poitiers, where many of the beautiful medallion
windows belong to the very early part of the thirteenth century, the
scheme is usually to adopt a blue background, alike for the medallions
and for the spaces between, relying upon a broad band of ruby, edged
with white pearling, to mark the medallion shapes, which it effectively
does; but these are not the most beautiful windows in the church. One
recognises their date rather by the individuality and spontaneity of the
design than by any distinctly Romanesque character in the detail. It
should be mentioned, also, that at Poitiers, even in windows which seem
not so emphatically to belong to the very beginning of the century, the
early practice of using only straight upright and cross bars is adhered
to. There may be something of local conservatism in that.

[Illustration: 68. BARS IN EARLY MEDALLION WINDOWS.]



CHAPTER XII.

MEDALLION WINDOWS.


In the thirteenth century the practice of the earlier glaziers stiffened
into something like a tradition, and design took almost inevitably the
form of (1) the Medallion window, (2) the Single Figure window, (3)
Ornamental Grisaille.

The full-blown thirteenth century Medallion window differed from what
had gone before in that it was more orthodox. The designer begins as
before by marking off a broad border to his glass, defined on the inner
side by an iron bar, and proceeds to fill the space within the border
with medallion shapes. But he now adapts the medallions more regularly
to the spaces between the bars. At most two alternating shapes occur
throughout the length of the light, without break or interruption, such
as occurs in earlier work, and as a rule they keep strictly within the
lines of the border. In all the nine examples here given, taken at
random from Chartres, Bourges, Canterbury, and elsewhere, only in one
case does a medallion cut boldly across the border in the head of the
light. The slight overlapping of the quatrefoils in one case is not
really an overlapping of the border but only of the marginal lines to
it, not shown in the diagram above, but clearly enough explained on page
132, which shows the completion of a corner of the window, less its side
border. In the window with large circular medallions divided into four,
there is no upright bar to define the border, faintly indicated by a
dotted line.

[Illustration: 69. BARS IN EARLY MEDALLION WINDOWS.]

It will be seen from these diagrams, which illustrate at once the main
divisions of the glass and the position of the ironwork, what a change
came over the construction of windows in the thirteenth century. The
window is no longer ruled off by upright and horizontal bars into panels
into which the design is fitted; it is the bars which are made to follow
the main lines of the design, and to emphasise the forms of the
medallions. The rare exceptions to this rule (as at Bourges, overleaf)
may generally be taken to betray either the beginning or the end of the
period; but at Poitiers they seem to have passed through the early
period without ever arriving at shaped bars. The early glazier, it was
said, first blocked out his design according to his leading; here he
begins with the bars. The iron framework forms, itself, in many of these
windows, a quite satisfactory pattern, and one which proudly asserts
itself in the finished window. The designs of the period are not of
course all equally ingenious. Sometimes, in order to strengthen a circle
or quatrefoil of great size, the glazier, instead of breaking up the
shape ornamentally as was the rule, merely supports it by cross bars;
not only that, but he accepts the awkward shapes given by them as
separate picture spaces. Of this comes one of two evils: either he
frames his little pictures with sufficient border lines to keep them
distinct, and so draws attention to the shapes, an attention they do not
deserve; or he has to accept the bars, with perhaps a fillet of colour,
as sufficient frame, which they are not, and his pictures run together,
to the bewilderment of whoever would decipher them.

[Illustration: 70. SPANDRILS OF MEDALLION WINDOW, BOURGES.]

It is matter for regret that the French did not accept the full shape of
even the largest medallion, and fill it with one bold subject; over and
over again one feels that the subjects in medallion windows are not only
too small to be readable, but so small that the figures are out of scale
with the ornamental detail. The scale of the church has, of course, to
be taken into account; but the French churches are big enough to warrant
figures thrice the size of those which ordinarily occur in medallions.
In our narrower "Early English" lancet windows the medallions naturally
came small.

To divide a window into eccentric divisions (halves or quarters of
circles, quatrefoils, and the like) and then to take these awkward
shapes as separate picture frames, is an archaic method of design much
in need of excuse. The more reasonable thing to do would have been to
make use of such incomplete forms only in some secondary position, and
as framework for ornament, or at least quite subsidiary figures.

Apart from shapes which are really only segments of medallions, the only
awkward medallion shapes occurring in Early glass are those which are
broader than they are high, such as occur, for example, at Soissons.
These have always the uncomfortable appearance of having been crushed.

How the iron skeleton of a medallion window is filled out with leaded
glass; how the border and the medallion shapes are strengthened by bands
of colour; how the medallions themselves are occupied with little figure
subjects, and how the interspaces are filled in with ornament, is
indicated opposite and on pages 132, 325.

By way of variation upon the monotony of design, the designer will
sometimes reverse the order of things. At Bourges, for example, you will
find the centre of a light devoted to insignificant and uninteresting
ornament, whilst the figure subjects are edged out into half quatrefoils
at the sides of the window; and, again, at Chartres and Le Mans you may
occasionally see the pictures similarly ousted from their natural
position by rather mechanical ornament. One can sympathise with an
artist's impatience with the too, too regular distribution of the
stereotyped medallion window. There is undoubtedly a monotony about it
which the designer is tempted to get rid of at any price; but
consistency is a heavy price to pay for the slight relief afforded by
the treatment just described.

This striving after strangeness results not only in very ugly picture
shapes--no one would deliberately design such a shape as that which
frames the picture of the Dream of Charlemagne (overleaf)--but it
produces a very uncomfortable impression of perversity. It is quite
conceivable that ornament may be better worth looking at than some
pictures; but a picture refuses to occupy the subordinate position; it
will not do as a frame to ornament. There is no occasion to illustrate
very fully the design of Early figure medallions; they are often of very
great interest, historical, legendary and human, but there is little
variation in the system of design. The picture is of the simplest,
perhaps the baldest, kind. The figures, as before stated, are clearly
defined against a strong background, usually blue or ruby; a strip or
two of coloured glass represents the earth upon which they stand; a
turret or a gable tells you that the scene is in a city; a foliated
sprig or two indicate that it is out of doors, a forest, perhaps; a
waving band of grey ornament upon the blue tells you that the blue
background stands for sky, for this is a cloud upon it. The extremely
ornamental form which conventional trees may assume is shown in Mr. T.
M. Rooke's sketch from a medallion at Bourges, opposite. In the
medallions from Chartres (page 325) are instances of simpler and less
interesting tree forms, and in the upper part of the larger of the two,
a bank of conventional cloudwork. Explanatory inscriptions are sometimes
introduced into the background, as in the dream of Charlemagne (above),
or in the margin of the medallions, as in the Canterbury window on page
132, fulfilling in either case an ornamental as well as an elucidatory
function.

[Illustration: 71. THE DREAM OF CHARLEMAGNE, CHARTRES.]

In the Canterbury glass it will be seen the figures are more crowded
than in the French work illustrated. This is not a peculiarity of
English glass, but a mark of period; as a rule the clump or compact
group of personages proclaims a later date than figures isolated against
the background. There is no surer sign of very early work than the
obvious display of the figures against the background, light against
dark or dark against light. Another indication of the date of the
Canterbury figures is that their draperies do not cling quite so
closely about them as in figures (page 33) in which the Byzantine
tradition is more plainly to be traced.

There is no mistaking a medallion window, the type is fixed: within a
border of foliated ornament a series of circles, quatrefoils, or other
medallion shapes, for the most part occupied by figure subjects on a
rather minute scale, and between these ornament again.

The border might be wider or narrower, according to the proportion of
the window, though a wide border was rather characteristic of quite
early glass. A twelfth century border (Angers) will sometimes measure
more than a quarter of the entire width of the window. The borders from
Canterbury, Beverley, Auxerre, and Chartres (overleaf) are of the
thirteenth. A border of sufficient dimensions will sometimes include
medallion shapes as on pages 115, 325, and even occasionally little
subject medallions at intervals, or it may be half-circles, each
containing a little figure; but such interruption of the running border
is rare. In so far as it counts against monotony it is to the good.

[Illustration: 72. DETAIL FROM AN EARLY MEDALLION.]

In narrower windows, such as more frequently occur in this country,
where, as the Gothic style of architecture supplanted the Norman, lancet
lights took a characteristically tall and slender shape, the border was
reduced to less imposing proportions, as for example at Beverley;--there
was no room for a wide frame to the medallions, nor any fear, it may be
added, that these should be so large as to require breaking up into
segments, as in much French glass, or at Canterbury: there the window
openings, as was to be expected of a French architect, are more
characteristically Norman than English in proportion. In a very narrow
light in the one-time cathedral at Carcassonne the medallions break in
front of a not very wide border; but then this, though a medallion
window, belongs probably by date to the Second Gothic period.

[Illustration: 73. CANTERBURY.]

Medallions themselves may be simple or fantastic in shape. They may be
devoted each to a single picture, or subdivided into a series of four or
five; they may be closely packed, and supported by segments of other
medallions, also devoted to figure work, or they may be separated by
considerable intervals of ornament. The character of that ornament takes
two distinct forms.

[Illustration: 74. BEVERLEY MINSTER.]

In the examples given (pages 132, 325) it takes the form of foliated
scrollwork, very much of a piece with the ornament in the borders,
except that there is more scope for its growth. In actual detail it
varies, according to its date and whereabouts, from something very much
like Romanesque strapwork to the more or less trefoiled foliage typical
of Early Gothic ornament, whether French or English. Further examples of
the last are shown in the borders from Auxerre and Chartres (page 328).
The one from Chartres illustrates the transition from the Romanesque; it
is intermediate between the two. The borders from S. Kunibert's,
Cologne, are quite Romanesque in character, though they are of the
thirteenth century; but then it has to be remembered that the Romanesque
style of architecture was flourishing on the Rhine long after the Gothic
style had developed itself in France and England. Many of the details
from Canterbury--which, by-the-bye, are almost identical with
contemporary French ornament--show a lingering influence of the
pre-Gothic period, but the scroll occupying the spandril on page 132 is
pronouncedly of Early Gothic type. Of much the same character is the
detail from Salisbury on page 117, which forms no part of a medallion
window, but more likely of a tree of Jesse.

[Illustration: 75. AUXERRE.]

[Illustration: 76. CHARTRES.]

It was in this ornamental kind of design that the thirteenth century
glaziers were most conspicuously successful. One no longer feels here,
as one does with regard to their figure work, that they mean much better
than their powers enable them to do. And it is with scrollery of this
kind, either growing free or springing from the margin of the medallion,
that the Early English designers occupied the intervals between the
medallions in their windows. In France it became the commoner practice
to substitute for it a diaper of geometric pattern. Other expedients
were occasionally adopted. There is a window at S. Denis in which there
is foliated scrollwork on a background of geometric diaper, although
this last is so much "restored" that, for all one can tell, Viollet le
Duc may be entirely responsible for it.

[Illustration: 77. S. KUNIBERT, COLOGNE.]

[Illustration: 78. FRENCH MOSAIC DIAPERS.]

At Soissons is a window in which the interspaces between the medallions
are filled with deep blue, broken only here and there by a spot of ruby;
at Poitiers also the ornament in spandrils is often just a quatrefoil or
so, barely foliated, if at all; at Bourges there is an instance of
spandrils (page 125) occupied by bare curling stalks and rosette-like
flowers; at Poitiers the bands which frame the medallions have a way of
interlacing, not in the simple fashion shown in the example from
Canterbury below, but so as to form a kind of pattern in the spandrils
in front of the geometric filling; and there are other variations on the
accustomed medallion tunes; but as a rule the ornament consists either
of the usual Early Gothic foliation, closely akin to that in the
borders, such as is shown on pages 129, 130, 328, 330, or of geometric
pattern, such as is here given. The rarity of the mosaic diaper in this
country may be gathered from the fact that in the whole series of Early
medallion windows at Canterbury it is found only once, its frequency in
France from the fact that in the choir alone of Bourges Cathedral it
occurs in no less than twenty-two instances; again at Chartres, out of
twenty-seven great windows, not more than four have scrollwork; at
Poitiers, on the other hand, there is little geometric diaper, but the
ornament is of the simplest, and barely foliated. This device of
geometric diaper-filling was possibly inspired by the idea of utilising
the small chips of precious glass, which, with the then method of
working, must have accumulated in great quantity. In any case, it
must have been encouraged by that consideration, if not actually
suggested by it. Apart from economy, which is a condition of
craftsmanlike work, there does seem a sort of artistic logic in the use
of merely geometric design for quite subordinate filling, to act as a
foil to figure work; but there was no occasion to put the mosaic of
fragments quite so regularly, not to say mechanically, together, as was
the custom to do.

[Illustration: 79. CANTERBURY.]

[Illustration: 80. FRENCH MOSAIC DIAPERS.]

[Illustration: 81. DETAIL OF MEDALLION WINDOW, CANTERBURY.]

[Illustration: 82. FRENCH MOSAIC DIAPER.]

That is shown in a rather unusual instance in a window of the Lower
Church at Assisi; there occurs there a diaper of circles with blue
interstices, where the circles, though all alike painted with a star
pattern, vary in colour in a seemingly accidental way, and are red,
yellow, green, brown, just as it took the fancy of the glazier.

It follows inevitably from the small scale on which these patterns are
set out, and from the radiation of the coloured light, that unless very
great discretion is exercised the rays get mixed, with a result which is
often the reverse of pleasing. And the worst of it was that the French
glaziers particularly affectioned a combination of red and blue most
difficult to manage. A very favourite pattern consisted of cross bands
of ruby (as above), enclosing squares or diamonds of blue, with dots of
white at the intersection of the ruby bands, which persists always in
running to purple.

Instances of this unpleasant cast of colour are of continual occurrence,
but they are never otherwise than crude and plummy in effect. The rather
unusual combination of red and green mosaic diaper occurs, however,
pretty frequently at Carcassonne. The diapers illustrated indicate the
variety of geometric pattern to be found at Bourges, Chartres, Le Mans,
and Notre Dame at Paris, and elsewhere. In proportion as there is in
them a preponderance of blue and ruby the effect is that of an
aggressive purple. The safest plan seems to be in associating with the
blue plenty of green, or with the ruby plenty of yellow glass; or a
similar result may be obtained by the choice of a deep neutral blue and
of an orange shade of red, taking care always that the two contrasting
colours shall not be of anything like equal strength.

At the best these diapers compare very unfavourably with scrollwork.
They are, in the nature of things, more monotonous and less interesting
than a growth of foliage; they are apt also to run to gaudy colour,
which by its mass overpowers the pictures set in it. Compare, in any
French church, the windows in which there is geometric mosaic and those
in which there is scrollwork; and, though they may be all of the same
period, and presumably the work of the same men, you will almost
certainly have to marvel how artists who at one moment hold you
spellbound by the magic of their colour can in the next disturb your
eyesight with a glare of purple produced by the parody of a Scotch
plaid. Many of these diapers are very minute in scale; the smaller the
scale on which they are designed the greater the certainty of the
colours running together.

[Illustration: 83. S. PETER DELIVERED FROM PRISON, LYONS.]

It is to the very small scale of the figures, also, that the confusion
of effect in medallion subjects, in spite of their comparatively flat
treatment, is to be attributed. At Bourges, at Canterbury, everywhere,
the medallion subjects are on far too minute a scale to be made out by
mortals of ordinary patience, or, to speak accurately, impatience.
Often, even in windows which come close enough to the eye for study, it
is only the more conventionally familiar pictures which explain
themselves readily; and those you recognise almost by anticipation. You
have no difficulty in deciphering the Nativity, the Crucifixion, the
Ascension, and so on, because you expect to find them. A certain muddle
of effect must be accepted as characteristic of medallion windows.

It is not to be wondered at, that, considering the difficulty of making
out the ordinary medallion subjects in the lower windows, where they are
usually found, some other scheme of composition should have been adopted
for clerestory windows where those would have been more than ever
unintelligible. Accordingly, in that position, the single figure
treatment was adopted, and carried further than in the preceding
century. The figure was now, not for the first time, but more
invariably, enclosed in something like an architectural niche--a
practice borrowed from the sculptor, who habitually protected the
carved figures enriching the portals of great churches by a projecting
canopy, giving them at the same time a pedestal or base of some kind to
stand upon.

In glass there was clearly no occasion for such architectural shelter or
support; but the pretended niche and base offered a means of occupying
the whole length of the space within the border, which, without some
additional ornament, would often have been too long in proportion to the
figure, the mere band of inscription under its feet not being enough to
fill out the length. These very rudimentary canopies, specimens of which
are given here, are usually very insignificant. It takes sometimes an
expert to realise that the broken colour about the head of the saint
(page 46) stands for architecture. The forms, when you come to look at
them closely, may be ugly as well as childish, but they go for so little
that it seems hardly worth while to take exception to them. It is only
as indication of a practice (later to be carried to absurd excess) of
making shift with sham architecture for the ornamental setting necessary
to bring the figure into relation and into proportion with the window it
is to occupy, that the device of thus enshrining a figure as yet
deserves attention. As the beginning of canopy work in glass it marks a
very eventful departure in design. All that need here be said about the
Early Gothic canopy is that it would have been easy to have devised
decorative forms at once more frankly ornamental, more interesting in
themselves, and more beautiful, not to say less suggestive of a child's
building with a box of bricks.

[Illustration: 84. LYONS.]

Sometimes, as at Chartres and elsewhere, the base of the canopy would
itself take the form of a little subordinate niche enclosing a figure
in small of the Donor, or perhaps only of his shield of arms. Sometimes
it would take the form of a panel of inscription, boldly leaded in
yellow letters upon blue or ruby.

An alternative idea was to represent the Saints, or other holy
personages, sitting. The figure on page 135 belongs actually to the
beginning of the fourteenth century; but, except for a slightly more
naturalistic character in the drawing of the drapery, it might almost
have belonged to the same period as the standing figure on page 46. In
longer lights two saints are often figured, sitting one above the other.
This may be seen in the clerestory at Canterbury; but the effect is
usually less satisfactory than that of the single figure on a larger
scale. The standing position is also much better suited to the
foreshortened view which one necessarily gets of clerestory windows. A
curious variation upon the ordinary theme occurs in four of the huge
lancets in the south transept at Chartres, where the Major Prophets are
represented each bearing on his shoulders an Evangelist. The same idea
recurs at Notre Dame, Paris, under the south rose. That is all very well
in idea--iconographically it is only right that the Old Testament should
uphold the New--but reduced to picture it is absurd, especially as the
Evangelists are drawn to a smaller scale than the Prophets, and
irresistibly suggest boys having a ride upon their fathers' shoulders.
Dignity of effect there can be none. Not now for the first time,
seemingly, is art sacrificed to what we call the literary idea.

It shakes one's faith somewhat in the sincerity of the early mediæval
artist to find that in the serried ranks of Kings, Prophets, Bishops,
and other holy men, keeping guard over the church in the clerestory
lights, one figure often does duty for a variety of personages, the
colour only, and perhaps the face, being changed. At Reims there are as
many as six in a row, all precisely of the same pattern, though the
fraud may not be detected until one examines them from the triforium
gallery. At Lyons, again, it looks as if the same thing occurred; but
one cannot get near enough to them to be quite certain. None the less
they are fine in colour. Thirteenth century glass was capable of great
things in the way of colour; and the rows of Kings and Prophets looking
down upon you from the clerestory of a great church like Bourges,
archaic though the drawing be, are truly solemn and imposing.



CHAPTER XIII.

EARLY GRISAILLE.


With grisaille glass begins a new chapter in the history of glass
painting, and a most important one--not only because of the beautiful
work which was done from the first in white, but also because coloured
glass grew, so to speak, always towards the light.

[Illustration: 85. S. SERGE, ANGERS.]

The first coloured windows were intense in colour, rich, and even heavy.
The note they struck was deep, solemn, suited to the church and to the
times. Neither priest nor parishioner was afraid to sacrifice a certain
amount of light. It was the business of a window to shut in those that
worshipped from the outer world, and wrap them in mysterious and
beautiful gloom. With other days, however, came other ideals. As time
went on, and men emerged from the dark ages, the problem of the glazier
was how more and more to lighten his glass; until at last white glass
predominated, and the question was how to introduce colour into it.
Meanwhile the thirteenth century glaziers resorted, where they wanted
light, to the use of windows in grisaille, in absolute contrast to the
rich picture-glass in the same church.

The model for grisaille design was readily found in the earlier pattern
work in plain glazing.

[Illustration: 86. S. SERGE, ANGERS.]

[Illustration: 87. S. JEAN-AUX-BOIS.]

This last never quite went out of use. But already in the thirteenth
century, and probably in the twelfth, it began to be supplemented, for
the most part, by painting. The exceptionally graceful work at S. Serge,
Angers, for example, on this page and the last, is probably not very
much later than the year 1200. You can see at a glance how this is only
a carrying further of the unpainted work in the same church (page 27)
attributed to the thirteenth century. There may be found indeed amidst
the plain glazing scraps of painted work; but they never happen to fit,
and have pretty certainly found their way into the window in course of
repairs. The unpainted window seems to be of greener and more silvery
glass than the painted, to which perhaps the cross-hatching gives a
rather horny look.

The one way of painting grisaille in the thirteenth century was to trace
the design (which of course followed the traditional lines) boldly upon
the white glass, and then to cross-hatch the ground, more or less
delicately according to the scale of the work and its distance from the
eye, as here shown. By this means the pattern was made to stand out
clear and light against the background, which had now the value of a
tint, only a much more brilliant one than could have been got by a film
or wash of colour. Very occasionally a feature, such as the group of
four crowns which form the centre of the circle, above, might be
emphasised by filling in the ground about them in solid pigment; but
that was never done to any large extent. The rule was always to
cross-hatch the ground.

[Illustration: 88. S. JEAN-AUX-BOIS.]

[Illustration: 89. SOISSONS.]

With the introduction of colour into grisaille comes always the question
as to how much or how little of it there shall be. There is a good deal
of Early French work, which, on the face of it, was designed first as a
sort of strapwork of interlacing bands in plain glazing, and then
further enriched with painted work, not growing from it, except by way
of exception. This is seen in the example here given. The painter
indulged in slight modifications of detail as he went on. He had a model
which he copied more or less throughout the window; but he allowed
himself the liberty of playing variations, and he even departed from it
at times. By this means he adapted himself to the glass, which did not
always take just the same lines, and at the same time he amused himself,
and us, more than if he had multiplied one pattern with monotonous
precision. His painting was strong enough to keep the leads in
countenance; that is to say, his main outlines would be as thick (see
opposite) as lead lines.

[Illustration: 90. EARLY DETAIL.]

Patterns such as those on pages 138, 139, and below, from Soissons,
Reims, S. Jean-aux-Bois, would make good glazed windows apart from the
painting on them. Indeed, the painting is there comparatively
insignificant in design. In the Soissons work, in particular, it
consists of little more than cross-hatching upon the background, to
throw up the interlacing of the glazed bands; for, with the exception of
just a touch of colour in the one opposite, these designs are executed
entirely in white glass. The geometric glazing shapes so completely
convey the design, that the painted detail might almost be an
after-thought.

[Illustration: 91. SOISSONS.]

[Illustration: 92. REIMS.]

[Illustration: 93. LINCOLN.]

[Illustration: 94. WATER PERRY, OXON.]

In much of the earliest grisaille there is absolutely no colour but the
greenish hue belonging to what we are agreed to call white glass, and
the effect of it is invariably so satisfactory as to show that colour is
by no means indispensable. And, at all events in France, the colour was
at first very sparingly used, except in those twelfth century patterns
(pages 35, 118, 120) which cannot fairly be called grisaille. In the
window on page 137 the colour is, practically speaking, enclosed in
small spaces ingeniously contrived between the interlacing bands of
white; in that on page 138 it is introduced in half rings, which form
part of the marginal line, and in spots or jewels; but in either case
there is little of it, and it is most judiciously introduced. The
interlacing of bands of plain white upon a ground of cross-hatching,
itself enriched with scrollwork clear upon it, is characteristically
French. Similar bands of white occur, though not interlacing, in the
comparatively clumsy panel from Lincoln (above), but the more usual
English way was to make the bands of white broader, and to paint a
pattern upon them, as in the lancet from Water Perry, Oxfordshire
(opposite), or in the much more satisfactory light from Lincoln
(overleaf), leaving only a margin of clear glass next the cross-hatched
background. A similar kind of thing occurs in the church of S. Pierre at
Chartres (below). A yet more usual plan with us was to make the
strapwork in colour, as at Salisbury. In the patterns on this page the
straps do not interlace. In that on page 143 they not only interlace one
with the other, but the painted ornament, which now takes the form of
more elaborate scrollwork than heretofore, is intertwined with them.
This is an extremely good example of Early English grisaille. Altogether
Salisbury Cathedral is rich in white glass windows of this period (pages
143, 148, 329, 332).

[Illustration: 95. LINCOLN.]

[Illustration: 96. S. PIERRE, CHARTRES.]

The grisaille in the clerestory at Bourges is similar to the Salisbury
work, but it is not possible to get near enough to it to make careful
comparison. The scrollwork on page 143 may be profitably compared with
the very unusual white window at S. Jean-aux-Bois (overleaf). There the
design consists altogether of scrolls in white upon a cross-hatched
ground. It is as if the designer had set out to glaze up a pattern in
white upon a white ground, cross-hatched. But it is obvious that, as
there is no change of colour, it was no longer necessary always to
cut the ornament out of a separate piece of glass from the ground. We
find consequently that, wherever it is convenient, a painted line is
used to save leading. That, it has been already explained (page 24), was
a practice from the first; and it was resorted to more and more. It came
in very conveniently in the French windows, in which the design
consisted largely of white strapwork. It was adopted in the example from
Châlons here given, though it does not appear in the sketch, any more
than it does in the glass until you examine it very carefully. However,
in the sketches from the great clerestory window from Reims Cathedral
(overleaf), and in the smaller one from S. Jean-aux-Bois (facing it),
the economy of glazing is easy to perceive; whilst in that from
Coutances (page 147) the glazier is already so sparing of his leads that
they no longer always follow or define the main lines of the pattern.

[Illustration: 97. GRISAILLE, SALISBURY CATHEDRAL.]

[Illustration: 98. CHÂLONS.]

In a remarkable window in the choir of Chartres Cathedral (page 150) the
design includes interlacing bands both of white and colour, the coloured
ones flanked with strips of white; but the white bands are not glazed
separately. They are throughout included in the same piece of glass as
the cross-hatching, which defines them. This ingenious and very graceful
pattern window is still of the thirteenth century, though clearly of
much later date than, for example, the windows of S. Jean-aux-Bois,
which might indeed almost belong to the twelfth.

[Illustration: 99. CLERESTORY, REIMS.]

In several of the Salisbury windows (pages 148, 386) thin straps of
colour are bounded on the outer side by broader bands of white painted
with pattern. And here it should be noticed the bands no longer
interlace at all; on the contrary, the ornamental forms are superposed
one upon the other. This is very markedly the case on page 148. In the
centre of the light is a series of circular discs, and at the sides of
these a row of zig-zags, which, as it were, disappear behind them,
whilst at the edges of the window, again, is an array of segments of
smaller circles losing themselves behind these. In such cases, it will
be seen, the broad white bands fulfil the very useful purpose of keeping
the coloured lines apart, and separating one series of shapes from the
other. In this window, as in the narrow light on page 386, where the
vesica shape is occupied once more with flowing scrollwork, and as in
all but one of the windows on that page, the background of
cross-hatching is for the first time omitted, and the pencilled pattern
is by so much the less effective. As a rule, patterns traced in mere
outline like this belong to a later date; but these windows are
certainly of the thirteenth century. It is seldom safe to say that this
or that practice belonged exclusively to any one period. The white glass
on page 335, almost entirely without paint, might have been executed in
the twelfth century, but its border indicates more likely the latter
part of the thirteenth. Quite the simplest form of glazing was to lead
the glass together in squares or diamonds. These "quarries," as they are
called (from the French _carré_) are associated sometimes with rosettes
and bands of other pattern work, as at Lincoln (pages 284, 287); but
more ordinarily the ornamental part of the window is made up entirely of
them. "Quarry" is a term to be remembered. It plays in the next century
an important part in the design of windows.

[Illustration: 100. S. JEAN-AUX-BOIS.]

The best-known grisaille windows in England are the famous group of long
lancets, ending the north transept of York Minster, which are known by
the name of the Five Sisters. You remember the legend about them. The
"inimitable Boz" relates it at length in "Nicholas Nickleby"; but it is
nonsense, all the same. The story tells how in the reign of Henry the
Fourth five maiden ladies worked the designs in embroidery, and sent
them abroad to be carried out in glass. But, as it happens, they belong
to the latter part of the thirteenth century; they are unmistakably
English work; and, what is more, no woman, maiden, wife, or widow, ever
had, or could have had, a hand in their design. Their authorship is
written on the face of them. Every line in their composition shows them
to be the work of a strong man, and a practical glazier, who worked
according to the traditions that had come down to him. A designer
recognises in it a man who knew his trade, and knew it thoroughly. The
notion that any glazier ever worked from an embroidered design is too
absurd. As well might the needlewoman go to the glazier to design her
stitchery. But such is the popular ignorance of workmanship, and of its
intimate connection with design, that no doubt the vergers will go on
repeating their apocryphal tale as long as vergers continue to fill the
office of personal conductors.

[Illustration: 101. COUTANCES.]

The Five Sisters are rather looser and freer in design than the
Salisbury glass, and have broad borders of white. In detail they are
certainly not superior to that, nor in general design, so far as one can
make it out at all; but, from their very size and position, they produce
a much more imposing effect. Whoever is not impressed by the Five
Sisters is not likely ever to be moved by grisaille. They form one huge
fivefold screen of silvery glass. The patterns are only with great
difficulty to be deciphered. It is with these as with many others of the
most fascinating windows in grisaille; the glass is corroded on the
surface, black with the dirt and lichen of ages, cracked and crossed
with leads introduced by the repairing glazier, until the design is
about as intelligible as would be a conglomeration of huge spiders'
webs. But, for all that, nay, partly because of it, it is a thing of
absolute beauty, as beautiful as a spider's web, beaded with
dewdrops, glistening in the sun on a frosty winter's morning. It is a
dream of silvery light: who cares for details of design? But it is all
this, because it was designed, because it was planned by a glazier for
glazing, and has all that gives glass its charm.

[Illustration: 102. GRISAILLE, SALISBURY CATHEDRAL.]

[Illustration: 103. CHARTRES CATHEDRAL.]

Stained glass, like the men who design it, has always the defects of its
qualities. It is the first business of those who work in it to see that
it has at least the qualities of its defects.



CHAPTER XIV.

WINDOWS OF MANY LIGHTS.


The merry life of the medallion window was a short one. It reigned
during the Early Gothic period supreme; but after the end of the
thirteenth century it soon went quite out of fashion, and with it the
practice of shaping the bars to suit the pattern of the window--a
practice, it will have been noticed, not followed in grisaille windows,
though it might very well have been.

With the change which came over the spirit of later thirteenth century
architecture some new departure in the design of glass became
inevitable. The windows spoken of till now were all single lights,
broader or narrower, as the case might be, but each so far off from the
other that it had to be complete in itself, and might just as well be
designed with no more than general reference to its neighbours. But in
time it began to be felt in France that the broad Norman window was too
broad, and so they divided it into two by a central shaft, or mullion as
it is called, of stone. In England equally it began to be felt that the
long narrow lancet lights were too much in the nature of isolated
piercings in the bare wall, and so the builder brought them closer and
closer together, until they also were divided by narrow mullions.

In this way, and in answer especially to the growing demand for more
light in churches, and consequently for more windows, it became the
custom to group them. Eventually the window group resolved itself into a
single window of several, sometimes of many, lights, divided only by
narrow stone mullions. Or, to account for it in another way, windows of
considerable size coming into vogue, it became necessary, for
constructional no less than for artistic reasons, to subdivide them by
mullions into two or more lights. The arched window head was broken up
into smaller fancifully shaped "tracery" lights, as they are called; and
so we arrive at the typical "Decorated" Gothic window.

The height of these windows being naturally in proportion to their
width, the separate lights into which they were divided were apt to be
exceedingly long. To have treated them after the Early medallion manner,
each with its broad border, would have been to draw attention to this,
and even to exaggerate their length. The problem now to be solved in
glass was, how best to counteract the effect of insecurity likely to
result from the thinness of the upright lines of the stone and the
narrowness of the openings between them. It is not meant to say that the
medallion window expired without a spasm. For a while Decorated windows
were treated very much after the fashion of the earlier medallion
windows. The medallions were necessarily smaller, and usually long in
proportion to their width, although they extended now to the edge of the
stonework, the narrowish border to the lights passing, as it were,
behind them. This is very amply illustrated in the windows in the choir
clerestory at Tours. Occasionally there is no border but a line of white
and colour, and the whole interval between the elongated hexagonal or
octagonal panels is given up to mosaic diaper. The medallions naturally
range themselves in horizontal order throughout the three or four lights
of the window, giving just the indication of a horizontal line across
them. By way of exception, the subject of the Last Supper extends
through all three lights of the East window, the tablecloth forming a
conspicuous band of light across it. This glass at Tours is deep and
rich throughout, as intense sometimes as in earlier work, though warmer
in colour, owing to the greater amount of yellow glass employed. That
was not to last long.

[Illustration: 104. DECORATED MEDALLION WINDOW, GERMAN.]

It lingered longest in Germany. There is a curious two-light window in
Cologne Cathedral, with queer rectangular medallions, of considerable
interest, which is probably not very early in date. A not very common
type of Decorated medallion window is illustrated above. The cutting
across the border by medallion or other subjects, is a common thing in
fourteenth century glass (below and opposite), just because such
encroachment is obviously a most useful device in dealing with narrow
spaces. It occurs in some medallion windows (also of the fourteenth
century) at the church of Santa Croce, at Florence.

But this was not enough. The Germans went a step further, and carried
the medallions boldly across two lights, treating them as a single
medallion window with a stone mullion instead of an iron bar up the
centre. There is an instance of this at S. Sebald's Church, Nuremberg,
and another, more curious than beautiful to see, at Strassburg. They
went further still, and carried the medallions across a three-light
window. There is one such at Augsburg, where the medallions almost fill
the window, extending to the extreme edge of the outer lights. Indeed, a
broad outer border of angels surrounding the great circles is cut short
by the side walls. This is at least a means of getting rid of the
littleness resulting sometimes from the small medallion treatment, and
it is in fact most effective. The broad, sweeping, circular lines also
have the appearance of holding the lights together and strengthening
them.

[Illustration: 105. FREIBURG.]

This was a thing most needful to be done in Decorated glass. It was
needed sometimes already in Early work. At Clermont-Ferrand the narrow
lancets at the end of the South transept are filled, except for a thin
white beaded border, with diaper work in rich colour, interrupted at
intervals by big rosettes of white, which form two bands of light across
the series, and make them seem one group.

[Illustration: 106. DETAILS OF DEC. GERMAN GLASS.]

The deliberate use of horizontal lines (or features giving such lines)
in glass, was clearly the most effective way of counteracting the too
upright tendency of the masonry, or rather of preventing it from
appearing unduly drawn out; and it became the custom. Even in a
comparatively small Decorated window, for example, the figures would
usually form a band across it, distinguished from the ornamental
shrinework above and below it by a marked difference in colour. In a
taller window there would be two, or possibly three, such bands of
figures, in marked contrast to their framing. In Germany very often one
big frame would cross the window, or the figure subjects would be
separated--as at Strassburg, for example--by bands of arcading, out of
which peeped little saints each with a descriptive label in his hand.

A typical English canopy of the period is given on this page. It was
commonly enclosed, as here shown, within a border, wide enough to be
some sort of acknowledgment of the subdivision of the window, but not
wide enough to prevent the colour of the canopy from forming a distinct
band across the window. The predominance of a powerful, rather brassy,
yellow in the canopy work, and a contrast in colour between its
background and that of the figures, carried the eye without fail across
the window. A notable exception to the usual brassiness of the Decorated
canopy occurs at Toulouse, where a number of high-pitched gables of the
ordinary design, stronger in colour than usual, have crockets and
finials of a fresh bright green.

[Illustration: 107. TYPICAL DECORATED CANOPY.]

The Decorated canopy, with its high-pitched gable and tall flying
buttresses, its hard lines, and its brassy colour was a characteristic,
but never a very beautiful feature in design; and it grew to quite
absurd proportions. It was in Germany that it was carried to greatest
excess, extending to a height three or four times that of the figure and
more; but with us also it was commonly tall enough altogether to dwarf
the poor little figure it pretended to protect. Even when it was not
preposterously tall, its detail was usually out of all proportion to the
figure. Your fourteenth century draughtsman would have no hesitation in
making the finial of his canopy bigger than the head (nimbus and all) of
the saint under it. Clumsiness of this kind is so much the rule, and
disproportion is so characteristic of the middle of the fourteenth
century, that, but for some distinctly good ornamental glass of the
period, one might dismiss it as merely transitional, and not worthy of a
chapter to itself in the history of glass design.

[Illustration: 108. S. URBAIN, TROYES.]

[Illustration: 109. NEW COLLEGE, OXFORD.]

Our distinctions of style, as was said, are at the best arbitrary. We
may devise a classification which shall serve to distinguish one marked
type from another, but it is quite impossible to draw any hard-and-fast
line between the later examples of one kind and the earlier of another
one. We may choose to divide Gothic art into three classes, as we may
subdivide the spectrum into so many positive colours, but the
indeterminate shades by which they gradate each into the other defy
classification or description.

Certainly the best figure work of the middle period is that which might
quite fairly be claimed as belonging, on the one hand, to the end of the
Early, or on the other to the beginning of the Late, Gothic period. In
the figures from Troyes, for example (page 47 and opposite), the Early
tradition lingers; in those from New College (also opposite) the
characteristics of Late work begin to appear. In the figure of the
headsman on this page there is certainly no sense of proportion. In all
the wealth of Decorated figure-and-canopy work at York Minster there is
nothing to rank for a moment with the best Early or Perpendicular glass.
Nor in France, though there is Decorated work in most of the great
churches, is there anything conspicuously fine. Even at S. Ouen, at
Rouen, there is nothing particularly worthy of note. It is true that the
period of the English occupation and the troubles which followed it was
not the time when we should expect the arts to flourish there.

[Illustration: 110. EXECUTIONER OF S. JOHN THE BAPTIST, 14TH CENTURY.]

A most characteristic thing in glass of this intermediate period was the
way in which colour and grisaille were associated. It has been already
told how, before then, white and colour had been used together in the
same light--at Auxerre, for example, where, within a broad border of
colour, you find an inner frame of grisaille, enclosing a central figure
panel of colour. Quite at the beginning of the fourteenth century, if
not already at the end of the thirteenth, you find, as at S. Radegonde,
Poitiers, upon a ground of grisaille, coloured medallion subjects, or
more happily still, little figures, as it were, inlaid, breaking the
white surface very pleasantly with patches of unevenly but judiciously
dispersed colour--the whole enclosed in a coloured border. But in the
fourteenth century the more even combination of white and colour was
quite a common thing. Naturally it was introduced in the form of the
horizontal bands already mentioned. And indeed it is in windows into
which grisaille enters that this band-wise distribution of design is
most apparent, and most typical. The designer very commonly conceived
his window as in grisaille, crossed by a band or bands of colour,
binding the lights together. That may be seen in the chapter-house at
York, where you have several series of little subjects, more or less in
the shape of medallions, forming so many belts of colour across the
five-light grisaille windows, which belts the eye insensibly follows
right round the building.

[Illustration: 111. DECORATED BORDERS.]

That is the theory of design. Its practical construction may be better
described otherwise. The iron horizontal bars, to the use of which the
glaziers had by this time come back, divide the lights each into a
series of panels, which panels are filled at York alternately with
coloured subjects and ornamental grisaille. Elsewhere perhaps two panels
are filled with colour to one of grisaille, or three to one, or _vice
versâ_. In any case these alternate panels of white and colour,
occurring always on the same level throughout the lights composing the
window (and often through all the windows along the aisle of a church),
range themselves in pronounced horizontal strips or bands.

[Illustration: 112. GRISAILLE AND FIGURE.]

This acceptance of the bars as a starting-point in design, and this
deliberate counterchange of light and dark, may appear to indicate a
very rough-and-ready scheme of design. But any brutality there might be
in it is done away with by the introduction of a sufficient amount of
white into the coloured bands and of a certain modicum of colour in the
bands of white. And that was habitually the plan adopted. Into the
subjects it was easy to introduce just as much white as seemed
necessary. A little white might be there already in the flesh, which was
no longer always represented in flesh-coloured glass but more and more
commonly in white. The usual border at the sides of the grisaille--now
reduced to quite modest proportions--perhaps a simple leaf border, as on
pages 44, 158, perhaps a still simpler "block" border, as above, served
to frame the white, at the same time that it was an acknowledgment once
more of the fact that each light forms a separate division of the
window. In most cases the introduction of a little colour into the
grisaille panel, very often in the form of a rosette, went further to
prevent any possible appearance of disconnection between the figures and
their ornamental setting. As a matter of fact, so little obvious is the
plan of such windows in the actual glass that it often takes one some
time to perceive it.

[Illustration: 113. EVREUX.]

In the nave at York Minster the grisaille is crossed by two bands of
coloured figure work. Elsewhere it is crossed by one; but where the
figures have canopies, as they often have, that makes again a
horizontal subdivision in the coloured portion of the glass. Sometimes
the topmost pinnacles of the coloured canopies will extend into the
grisaille above, breaking the harshness of the dividing line; but it is
seldom that it appears harsh in the glass. The fact seems to be that the
upward tendency of the long lights is so marked, and the mullions make
such a break in any cross line, that there is no fear of horizontal
forms pronouncing themselves too strongly; the difficulty is rather to
make them marked enough. Architects came eventually to feel the want of
some more sternly horizontal feature than the glazier could contrive,
when they introduced the stone transom, which was a feature of the later
Gothic period.

When it was a question of glazing a broad single light of earlier
construction, the fourteenth century artist designed his glass
accordingly. Not that he then adopted the thirteenth century manner--it
never entered his mind to work in any other style than that which was
current in his day; the affectation of bygone styles is a comparatively
modern heresy--but he adapted his design equally to help, if not to
correct, the shape of the window opening. Accustomed as he was to
narrower lights, the broad window of an earlier age appeared to him
unduly broad, and his first thought was to make it look narrower. This
he did by dividing it into vertical (instead of horizontal) strips of
white and colour. That is shown in the window from Troyes (page 159), in
which the centre strip of the window, occupied by figures and canopies
in colour, is flanked by broad strips of grisaille, and that again by a
coloured border. There, as usual, you find some white in the figure work
and some colour in the grisaille, always the surest way of making the
window look one.

The judicious treatment of a belated lancet window like this goes to
show that it was of set purpose that the tall lights of a Decorated
window were bound together by ties of coloured glass. So long as windows
were built in many lights, that plan of holding them together was never
abandoned. There is a very notable instance of this at Berne, where the
four long lights of a Late Gothic window are crossed by lines of canopy
work, taking not horizontal but arched lines (a device common enough in
German glass), effectually counteracting the lean and lanky look of the
window. Still markedly horizontal lines of subdivision in glass design
are more characteristic of the second Gothic period than of any other.



CHAPTER XV.

MIDDLE GOTHIC GLASS.


Towards the fourteenth century, it seems, a wave of realism swept over
Gothic art. So much is this so that a relatively speaking naturalistic
form of ornamental detail is the most marked feature of the Decorated
period, giving it its name, and, indeed, its claim to be a style.

[Illustration: 114. NORBURY, DERBYSHIRE.]

No great stress has been laid in the foregoing chapters upon this new
departure in naturalism, because it did not so very vitally affect
design. When it is said that glass followed always the fashion of
architecture, that is as much as to say that, as the sculptors took to
natural instead of conventional foliage, so did the glass painters; and
there is not much more to tell. To trace the development of naturalistic
design would lead us far astray. Enough to say that, by the naturalistic
turn of its ornamental foliage you may recognise the period called
"Decorated." How far that naturalism of Decorated detail may be to the
good is a question there is no need here to dispute. It was a new
departure. The new work lacked something of the simple dignity and
self-restraint which marked the earlier, and it had not yet the style
and character which came in the next century of more consistently
workmanlike treatment. In so far it was a kind of prelude to
Perpendicular work. This is not to deny that excellent work was done in
the Decorated period, especially perhaps in glass, where naturalism, at
its crudest, is less offensive than in wood or stone. But there is no
getting over the fact that the period was intermediate; and Decorated
glass is in a state of transition (1) between the archaism of the early
and the accomplishment of the later Gothic; (2) between the conventional
ornament which merely suggests nature and natural foliage conventionally
treated; (3) between strong rich colour and delicate silvery glass. The
transition of style is nowhere more plainly to be traced than in the
grisaille of the period. At first the character of fourteenth century
grisaille did not greatly differ from earlier work, except in the form
of the painted detail. That from S. Urbain, Troyes, on page 333, is a
typical instance of Early French Transition foliage, in which the scroll
is only less strong and vigorous than before. Precisely the same kind of
detail is shown again in the lower of the two instances, likewise from
Troyes, opposite; but already natural leaves begin to mingle with it;
whilst in the illustration above it, though the mosaic border is
characteristically early, the foliage in grisaille is deliberately
naturalistic. The grisaille at Troyes, by the way, often reminds one of
that at York Minster. It is mainly by the naturalistic character of the
ivy scroll, or perhaps it would be nearer the mark to say of the leaves
upon it, that the design from Norbury, Derbyshire (page 162), betrays
its later date, by that and the absence of cross-hatching on the
background. The glazing of the window is still thoroughly mosaic.

[Illustration: 115. S. PIERRE, CHARTRES.]

[Illustration: 116. DEC. GRISAILLE, S. URBAIN, TROYES.]

[Illustration: 117. CHARTRES.]

[Illustration: 118. EVREUX.]

[Illustration: 119. ROUEN CATHEDRAL.]

There is a different indication of transition in the little panel from
S. Pierre at Chartres, almost entirely in white glass, on page 163. The
foliated ornament is here still early in character; but, it will be
seen, there is no longer any pretence of leading up the bands of clear
glass in separate strips. They are only bounded on one side by a lead
line. That is so again in the three designs from Chartres Cathedral
above, where, further, the background is clear of paint; and in those
from Evreux, on pages 165, 284. There the background is cross-hatched;
but in one case the foliage is naturalistic.

The coloured strapwork in the grisaille from the Lady Chapel of Rouen
Cathedral on page 165 is frankly mosaic; but the foliated ends of the
straps, gathered together into a central quatrefoil in a quite unusual
fashion, indicates the new spirit. The white glass is there painted with
trailing foliage in outline upon a clear ground, not shown in the
sketch, which is merely a diagram of the glazing. The grisaille from
Stanton S. John, Oxford, here given, still hesitates rather between two
opinions. The foliage is naturalistic, but the background is
cross-hatched; the broad diagonal bands, patterned with paint, are
glazed in colour; the rings of white are not separately leaded. That
sort of thing has occurred, as already pointed out, before; but it was
not till the fourteenth century, or thereabouts, that the strapwork of
white lines, forming so characteristic a feature in Decorated grisaille,
are systematically indicated by painted outlines and not glazed in if it
could be helped.

[Illustration: 120. STANTON S. JOHN, OXFORD.]

You have only to examine the crossing of the white lines in any of these
last-mentioned patterns to see that, now that they are not separately
glazed, they do not really interlace as before. It is out of the
question that they should.

It is easy enough to glaze up bands so that they shall interlace; but,
when some of the drawing lines are lead and some paint, it occurs
continually that you want a leaded line to pass behind a line of clear
glass--which, of course, is a physical impossibility. It follows that
the pretended interlacing comes to grief. The pattern is confused (it is
worse when there is no hatched background) by the occurrence of leads,
stronger than the painted lines, which, so far from playing any part in
the design, occur just at the points where they most interfere with it.

[Illustration: 121. CHÂLONS.]

That this did not deter them, that they made a shift with interlacing
which does not truly interlace, marks a falling off in what may be
called the conscientiousness of the Gothic designers. French and English
Decorated grisaille, effective as it often is in the window, is
distinctly less satisfactory in design than the common run of earlier
work. Its charm is never in its detail.

The patterns may be ingenious and not without grace, but they are never
altogether admirable, any more than are the figures.

[Illustration: 122. CHÂLONS.]

What you most enjoy in it is the distribution of white and colour; and
you enjoy it most when you do not too curiously examine into the detail
of the design, when you are satisfied to enjoy the colour, and do not
look for form, which after all is of less account in glass.

[Illustration: 123. REGENSBURG.]

[Illustration: 124. MUNICH MUSEUM.]

So far as effect only is concerned, quarry work, the mere glazing in
squares, answers in many places (such, for example, as the clerestories
of narrow churches, where you could not possibly enjoy any detail of
design that might be there) all the purpose of grisaille; and it was
commonly resorted to. But the painting upon such quarries counts for
very little; it is far too small and fine in detail to have any effect
further than to tone the glass a little, which would have been
unnecessary if the glass employed had been less clear. In fact, delicate
paint on distant clerestory glass is much ado about very little; and one
cannot help thinking that plain glazing would there have answered all
the purpose of the most delicately painted pattern work. The fourteenth
century glaziers seldom complicated their quarry work by the
introduction of bands or straps of colour between the quarries, or by
the introduction of colour other than such as might occur in rosettes or
shields and so on, planted upon them, rather than worked into the
design. Occasionally, however, as at Châlons-sur-Marne, you come upon an
ornamental window (page 167) in which quarries are separated by bands of
clear white, a certain amount of colour being introduced in the form of
yellow quarries substituted at regular intervals for the white. On the
same page is another coloured diaper window designed on quarry lines,
also at Châlons. In that quarries of white and yellow are separated by a
trellis of blue. Something of the sort is to be seen also at S.
Radegonde, Poitiers.

In these cases the painting, as will be seen, is strong enough to hold
its own at a considerable distance from the eye, but the effect is not
very happy. When, by the way, it was said that delicate painting on
distant quarries was lost, it was not meant to imply that strong
painting on quarries would be a happy solution of the difficulty. As a
matter of experience, it is seldom satisfactory. On the other hand, the
common expedient of leading up the coloured backgrounds to figure work
in small squares of ruby, green, and so on, was generally the means of
securing good broken colour.

It can hardly be said that geometric pattern windows in strong colour
are ever very successful. The Germans, who, it should be remembered,
call their second Gothic period the "Geometric," often attempted it, but
without conspicuous success.

[Illustration: 125. 14TH CENTURY GERMAN.]

In Germany it was customary to use geometric diaper work long after it
had gone out of use in France. In fact, it is there more likely a sign
of the second period. The crosslines in the diaper from Regensburg
(opposite) would have been in lead, not paint, if the work had been
executed in the thirteenth century; again, the diaper below it would not
at that period have been painted in the likeness of oak-leaves. Diaper
of this kind was not used merely to fill up between medallions, but as
background, for example, to canopy work. Frequently it was very small in
scale, as well as elaborate in pattern. It can hardly be said that it
was always worth the pains spent upon it--often it was not; but the
Germans avoided, as a rule, the dangerous red and blue combination, and
preferred, as did also the Italians, less stereotyped arrangements of
green and yellow, or of red and green, or of red and green and yellow;
if they ventured upon red and blue, it was with a difference very much
to their credit. For example, they would enclose diamonds of ruby in
bands of purple-brown, with just a point of blue at the interstices;
again, they would make a diaper of purple, purple-brown, and grey; and
in many another way show that they deliberately aimed at colour in such
work--whereas many of the Early diapers suggest that the glazier was
thinking more of pattern. An instance of heraldic diaper is given on
page 169.

[Illustration: 126. FREIBURG.]

In Italy also you find sometimes, as at Florence and Assisi, medallion
windows with mosaic diaper between, or mosaic diaper used as background
to figures which certainly cannot be described as Early.

[Illustration: 127. FREIBURG.]

The Germans differed from the rest of us in their frank use of geometric
pattern. We habitually disguised it more or less, clothing it most
likely with foliation; they used it quite nakedly, and were not ashamed.
Instances of this innocent use of geometric form are here given. At
Freiburg are quite a number of windows entirely of geometric pattern
work. There is a good deal of white glass in them, but they count rather
for colour than for grisaille. It would not be quite unfair to say they
fall between the two stools. These designs are much more pleasing in the
glass than in black and white (where they have rather too much the
appearance of floor-cloth), but they are by no means the happiest work
of the Germans of that day. Where they were really most successful, more
successful than their contemporaries, was in foliated or floral pattern
windows, and those of a kind also standing dangerously near midway
between colour and grisaille. The method of execution employed in them
was to a large extent strictly mosaic; but there is quite a refreshing
variety and novelty, as well as very considerable ingenuity, in their
design.

[Illustration: 128. FROM REGENSBURG, MUNICH MUSEUM.]

[Illustration: 129. IVY, MUNICH MUSEUM.]

The window from Regensburg on page 389 sets out very much as if it were
going to be a grisaille window; but it has, in the first place, more
colour than is usual in grisaille, and, in the second, it will be seen
that the little triangular ground spaces next the border are filled with
pot-metal. The contrast of the set pattern and the four coloured leaves
crossing each circle with the flowing undergrowth of grisaille is
unusual, and so is the cunning alternation of cross-hatching and plain
white ground. The designs from Munich Museum on pages 171 to 174 have
nothing in common with grisaille. The design consists of natural foliage
chiefly in white, growing tree-like upon a coloured ground up the centre
of the light. In the one the stem is waved, in the other it takes a
spiral form, in the third it is more naturalistic. But nature is not
very consistently followed. What appears like a vine on page 171 has
husks or flowers which it is not easy to recognise; and the ivy here is
endowed with tendrils. The border of convolvulus leaves and the hop
scroll, opposite, are unmistakable, though there is some inconsistency
between the naturalness of the leaves and the stiffness of their growth.
The ivy pattern differs from the others inasmuch as the leaves show
light against the yellow ground, whilst the green stem and stalks tell
dark upon it, and there is a band of red within the outer border which
holds the rather spiky leaves together. The most interesting window of
this kind illustrated is that on page 174, in which the stem is
ingeniously twisted into quatrefoil medallion shapes, so as to allow a
change in the colour of the ground, and the leaves are designed to go
beyond the filling and form a pattern upon the border. The rose is a
hackneyed theme enough, but this at least is a new way of working it
out. Fourteenth century German windows are altogether more varied in
design than contemporary French or English work. The glass is not so
much all of one pattern. There are more surprises in it. The Germans
treated grisaille in a way very much their own. At the risk of a certain
coarseness of execution, they would paint out the background to their
natural foliage in solid pigment, or in brown just hatched with lines
scratched through to the clear glass. That is very effectively done, for
example, at the Church of S. Thomas at Strassburg. It is not contended
that this is at all a better plan than that practised in France or
England: it is on the whole less happy; but there are positions in which
it is more to the purpose; and it has at least the merit of being
different; it suggests something better than it accomplishes, and it is
a timely reminder that the best methods we know of cannot be accepted as
final.

[Illustration: 130. GERMAN ORNAMENTAL GLASS.]

Again at Regensburg there is some distant ornamental work, so simple in
execution that it is little more than glazing in colours; in fact just
what distant work should be--effective in its place without any waste of
labour.

[Illustration: 131. 14TH CENTURY GLASS.]

A word or two remains to be said about borders. The narrower decorated
light implied, as was said, a narrower border. It was, as a rule, only
when a wide Early window had to be glazed that there was room for a
broad one. In that case it showed of course the new naturalism, with
perhaps the added interest of animal life, as here illustrated; but
there lingers in German borders such as this and the one on page 338,
something of early tradition. It looks as if it would not be difficult
to accept glazing lines like these and fill them in with painted detail
_à la Romanesque_. In one of the windows in York Minster there is a
border of alternate leaves and monkeys, both much of a size, which
broadens out at the base, affording space for the representation of a
hunt, men, dogs, grass and all complete.

[Illustration: 132. 14TH CENTURY GERMAN.]

[Illustration: 133. 14TH CENTURY GERMAN.]

There was another reason for the adoption of a narrower border. Not only
were windows narrower now, but their arched heads were cusped, which
made it exceedingly difficult to carry any but the narrowest possible
border round them satisfactorily. It will be seen how awkwardly the
border fits (or does not fit) the window head on page 155. Even the
simplest border had to be very much distorted in order to make it follow
the line of the masonry; and, in any case, it gave a very ugly shape
within the border, and one again difficult to fill. Already, at the
beginning of the fourteenth century, the designer found it convenient to
run his border straight up into the cusped head of the light and let the
stonework cut it abruptly short; that occurs at Carcassonne. Sometimes,
as at Tewkesbury, the inconvenient border is allowed to end just above
the springing line of the arch, against a pinnacle of the canopy, beyond
which point there is only a line or two of white or colour, by way of
frame or finish to the background. An unusual but quite satisfactory way
of getting over the difficulty of carrying the border round the window
head is, to accept the springing line of the arch as the end of the
central design, and to make the foliated border spread and fill the
entire window head above. Some quarry lights in the triforium at Evreux
are effectively treated in that manner.

[Illustration: 134. STRASSBURG.]

Types of ordinary Decorated borders, English, French, and German, are
shown in this and the preceding chapter. The leafage springs from one
side or the other or from a central stem, or from either side of a
waving stem, or from two stems intertwined (page 158). Sometimes the
ground on one side is of a different colour from that on the other; in
any case the glazing is usually simple. One of the leaf borders at Rouen
Cathedral includes a series of little green birds; another, an oak
pattern, is inhabited at intervals by squirrels and wild men of the
woods. Rather interesting variations upon the ordinary type of border
are given on this and the preceding pages. The broader one above is of
distinctly unusual character, inasmuch as it has no background except
the painting out, and the colour of the leafage varies
quasi-accidentally.

[Illustration: 135. 14TH CENTURY GERMAN.]

The use of the rosette borders on pages 171, 172 is sufficiently
accounted for by the desire to get contrast to the foliated filling, but
it occurs at all periods more or less. So does the "block border"; but
for all that it is almost as characteristic of Decorated work as the
leaf border. It is seen in its simplest form on page 144. On page 389 it
is associated with foliage and rosettes. A typical form of it is where
the blocks are charged with heraldic devices, which may serve to
indicate the date, or to confuse one. In the design from Evreux on page
160 there occur, for example, the Fleurs-de-Lys of France alternating
with the Castle of Castille. These particular charges occur frequently
in the windows of the S. Chapelle at Paris, and in the lights from that
source now in the South Kensington Museum; and they go perhaps to show
that Blanche of Castille (who married Louis VIII.) gave them to the
chapel, or that they were in her memory. She died in 1252. It is most
improbable that the Evreux glass should belong to so early a date as
that. Were it so, the occurrence of this kind of thing in such early
work would only go to show that heraldic devices are as old as heraldry,
and that when the glazier had a narrow light to fill he treated it as a
narrow light, with a border in proportion to its width: he certainly did
that at the S. Chapelle. The fact remains that this particular form of
"block" border marks, as a rule, the approach of the fourteenth century.

It may be as well to remind the reader that dates and periods are only
mentioned in order to save circumlocution. When the thirteenth century
is mentioned, it is not meant to convey the year 1201, nor yet 1299, but
the century in its prime. And, what is more, it is not meant to say that
the work ascribed to that period was quite certainly and indisputably
done after the year 1200 or before the year 1300, but only that it bears
the mark of the century--which, from the present point of view, is the
important thing. The precise and certain year in which this or that
device was by exception for the first time employed, or until which by
chance a practically obsolete practice survived, is interesting (if it
can be ascertained) only as a question of archæology. Anyway, a workman
would rather believe the evidence of his eyes, which he can trust, than
of documents, which, even if authentic, may not be trustworthy, and
which are perhaps open to misinterpretation.

Typically Decorated glass, apart from the ornamental windows just
referred to, is the least interesting of Gothic. There is in it a
straying from Early tradition without reaching the later freedom and
attainment. In colour it has neither the strength of the Early work nor
the delicacy of the Late. It marks some progress in technique, but
little in design, and none in taste.



CHAPTER XVI.

LATE GOTHIC WINDOWS.


The subdivision of art into periods is in reality the veriest makeshift.
To be on quite safe ground we should have, as a matter of fact, to
reduce our periods to not more than half their supposed duration, and to
class all the rest of the time as belonging to intervals of transition.

The truth is, it is always a period of transition. The stream moves
perpetually on; there are only moments in its course when it seems to
move more slowly, and we have time to fix its characteristics. It
follows that, if we divide our periods according to time, we have to
include within them work of very various character; and if we divide
them according to style, our dates get hopelessly confused.

Some sort of classification is necessary in order to emphasise changes
which actually took place only by degrees, and are perceptible only to
the expert. But no sooner do we begin to classify, than we find so many
exceptions, that we are inclined almost to wonder if they do not form
the rule. All that has been said, therefore, and may yet be said, about
the periods of design, must be taken with more than a grain of
suspicion. For example, what shall be said about the great East window
at Gloucester Cathedral, which Winston instances as a typical example of
Decorated glass? Doubtless the technique is that of soon after the
middle of the fourteenth century, and the detail of the canopies, when
you come to examine them, is more nearly Decorated than anything else;
but the first impression of the glass is quite that of Perpendicular
work. This may come partly of the circumstances that the masonry of the
window follows already distinctly Perpendicular lines; but it comes much
more from the colour of the glass and its distribution. It is not merely
that blue and ruby backgrounds are carried straight up through the long
lengths of each alternate light, or that the blue is lighter and greyer
than in Decorated glass, but that the figures, and especially the
canopies, are for the first time, practically speaking, altogether in
white, only very slightly relieved with yellow stain. The student who
accepted this as typical Decorated work, would be quite at sea when he
came to Perpendicular glass, in which this paler colour, this
preponderance of white, and especially this framing of the figures in
white canopy work, is a most distinctive, if not the most distinctive,
feature. After all, the window is Perpendicular; and, though the glass
in it may have many characteristics of Decorated work, it cannot well be
said that the glass is Decorated, true though it be that glass did, as a
rule, follow rather in the wake of architectural progress.

Many windows are almost equally difficult to classify. In the Decorated
glass at Wells there are both earlier and later features. The heads
glazed in pinkish glass, with eyes and beards leaded up in white, strike
an Early note, whilst the broadly treated bases or pedestals of certain
canopies in the Lady Chapel, one of which is here shown (the canopies
themselves are strictly Decorated), prelude the coming style.

[Illustration: 136. PEDESTAL, WELLS.]

These bases remind one of those in the ante-chapel at New College,
Oxford, dating from the last quarter of the fourteenth century, which,
though it is not difficult to trace in them the lingering influence of
Decorated tradition, must undoubtedly be put down as early examples of
the later style. In these fine windows (upon which the tourist turns his
back whilst he admires the poor attempt of Sir Joshua Reynolds in the
West window) there is not yet the accomplishment of full-fledged
Perpendicular work. The figures, though full of fine feeling, are not
well drawn, and the painting is not delicate; but the design of the
glass, its setting out, the balance and arrangement of colour, the tone
of the windows, and the breadth of effect, are admirable; and it is
precisely in these respects that it proclaims itself of the later school
of Gothic. Indeed, we may assume that it was in order to include such
work as this that the line was drawn at the year 1380. To class it with
Decorated glass would have been too absurd. Compare the New College
canopy on page 180 with the Decorated canopy on page 155 and the more
orthodox Perpendicular canopies below and on pages 185, 340, and there
is no possible hesitation as to which it most resembles. The only thing
in which it shows any leaning towards Decorated work is in the very
occasional introduction of pot-metal colour; and the main thing in which
it differs from later Perpendicular design is that its shafts are round
instead of square, and that it is more solidly built up, larger, more
nobly conceived.

[Illustration: 137. CANOPY, NEW COLLEGE, OXFORD.]

A parallel French instance is at the S. Chapelle at Riom, in which
canopies, having at first sight all the appearance of typically Late
Gothic work, prove to have details which one would rather describe as
Decorated. The German canopy work at Shrewsbury (pages 183, 186) is not
very far removed from Decorated. The later Perpendicular canopies run to
finikin pinnacles.

[Illustration: 138. TYPICAL PERPENDICULAR CANOPY.]

The New College canopies have none of the brassy yellow colour
characteristic of Decorated work, but are absolutely silvery in effect.
The gradual dilution, as one may say, of the deep, rich, Early colour is
noticeable throughout the fourteenth century. Towards its close the
glass painter halts no longer between two opinions, between light and
colour. He has quite made up his mind in favour of white glass. He has
come pretty generally to conceive his window as a field of white, into
which to introduce a certain amount of rich colour, not often a very
large amount. As a rule, perhaps not more than one-fourth of the area of
a fifteenth century window was colour; for, in addition to the white of
the canopy, there was commonly a fair amount of white in the draperies,
and the flesh was now always represented by white. The typical
Perpendicular window, then, is filled with shrinework in white,
enclosing figures, or figure subjects, into which white enters largely
(the flesh and some of the drapery, often a good deal, is sure to be
white), upon a background of colour. Not much of this coloured
background, most often in blue or ruby, and sometimes deep in colour,
was ordinarily shown, so fully was the space occupied by figure work.
Sometimes there would be represented, behind the figure, a screen of
white, so that only the head and shoulders would stand revealed against
dark colour. Sometimes this screen would be in colour, contrasting with
the background, richly diapered in imitation of damask (page 342).
Sometimes the background would be white, leaded perhaps in quarries; but
in any case the prevalent scheme of design was to frame up pictures,
more or less in colour, in architectural canopy work of white and stain.
Yellow stain, it should be said, was freely used in connection with all
this white; and its invariable association therewith is one of the
marked characteristics of Later Gothic glass; but as a rule the yellow
was not only delicate in tint but delicately introduced, so that it did
not much disturb the effect of white. There were significant passages of
yellow in it, but the effect of the mass was cool and silvery.

In canopies yellow stain was used as gold might be in stonework, which
the canopies imitated; crockets and pinnacles would be tipped with
yellow, as with gilding (see opposite), and the reveal of the arch,
shown in false perspective above the figure, would be similarly stained,
so as to soften the transition from the dark colour of the background to
the white of the canopy mass.

One comes upon windows, probably of about the beginning of the end of
the fourteenth century, in which the colour scheme is practically
limited to red, white, and blue, the yellow being, comparatively
speaking, lost in the white. Again, one finds windows in which the
colours are much lighter than in earlier glass. But as a rule the
lighter colours now introduced (the glazier's palette was by this time
quite extensive) were used to support, and not to the exclusion of, the
richer and deeper colour, which is the glory of glass, seldom to be
dispensed with even in grisaille. You may do without colour altogether,
but pale colours always have a poor effect.

[Illustration: 139. FIGURE AND CANOPY, S. MARY'S, SHREWSBURY.]

The typical Perpendicular canopies illustrated and already referred to
are quite favourable specimens of the kind of thing in vogue throughout
the fifteenth century. In France much the same forms were adopted (page
342). Some exceptionally delicate figure-and-canopy windows (or parts of
them) are to be found in the cathedral at Toulouse--the figure in
colour, or in white and colour, against a background of white, richly
diapered with damask pattern, which quite sufficiently distinguishes it
from the architecture only just touched with yellow. An instance of
later German work is given below. The German designer indulged
temperamentally in the interpenetration of shafting and other vagaries
of the kind, which we find in German stone carving. Sometimes in German
work, and occasionally also in French, Late Gothic canopies were all in
yellow, framing the picture, as it were, in gold. As a rule, however,
they were, as with us, silvery in tone, and framed the coloured glass in
a way most absolutely satisfactory, so far as effect is concerned.

[Illustration: 140. GERMAN LATE GOTHIC CANOPY.]

In itself, however, this canopy work is rarely of any great interest;
occasionally, as already in the preceding century, the designer has
enniched in the shafts little figures of saints or angels (there is just
the indication of such introduction of little statuettes in the very
simple and restrained example of canopy work from Cologne, on page 191),
redeeming it from dulness; but as a rule it is trite and commonplace to
a degree. The white, as frame, is perfect. It is none the more so that
it simulates misplaced stonework. What a strange thing it is in the
history of ornament that the natural bias of the designer seems to be so
irresistibly towards imitation! The man's first thought seems to be to
make the thing he is doing look like something it is not. Why, having
designed openings in the wall of his building, he should proceed
forthwith to fill them up with something in poor imitation of masonry,
is a mystery. Economy had then, perhaps, as now, more to do with it than
art, for it is a very cheap expedient.

[Illustration: 141. ALL SOULS' COLLEGE, OXFORD.]

Not only in the matter of colour, but in that of proportion, the later
Gothic canopies were a great improvement upon what had gone before. They
were distributed still very much upon the horizontal principle so
noticeable in Decorated work; but by this time the architect had come to
the tardy conclusion that the long lights of his window wanted holding
together, and he tied them together, if they were of any length, by
means of transoms, in which case the glass-worker had to deal with
lights of manageable length. The light from All Souls' College, here
given, is an example of a very usual Perpendicular arrangement. About
one half its entire length is occupied by a figure enshrined, as it
were, in an architectural niche. The base of the canopy is about equal
in height to the width of the light. The shafts are broad enough to
emphasise the independence of the light. The pinnacles of the canopy
extend into the window head. A point or two of background colour, as
though one could see through, are ingeniously introduced into the canopy
and its base. It would be difficult to better such an arrangement of
white and colour, except that one feels the urgent want of a margin of
white, to separate the coloured background from the masonry round the
window head.

[Illustration: 142. TWO WINDOWS, S. MARY'S, SHREWSBURY.]

The idea is, no doubt, that the shrinework should appear to stand in the
opening, and the figure be sheltered under that. The illusion aimed at,
it is scarcely necessary to say, is not produced, and in any case would
not have been worth producing. On the contrary, the desirable thing to
be done was, to acknowledge the window opening, which, except for this
pretence, the colour of the design effectually does.

[Illustration: 143. FAIRFORD.]

A frequent and equally typical arrangement was, where the light was long
enough, to make the base itself take the form of a low canopy over a
more or less square-proportioned subject, possibly a scene in the life
of the Saint pourtrayed above. This gave opportunity of introducing
figures on two different scales, without in any way endangering the
significance of the more important figure, which, by its size and
breadth of colour, asserted itself at a distance from which the smaller
subject appeared only a mass of broken colour. The proportions and
outline of such a subject are indicated by the Nativity on page 54, the
jagged line at the top of the picture marking the inner line of the
canopy work. In German work very commonly the base canopy encloses, as,
for example, at Cologne Cathedral, a panel of heraldic blazonry.

The height of the canopy was, with us, more or less in accordance with
the length of the window; but sometimes more space was allowed for the
figure than at All Souls', and the vacant space about the head of the
saint was occupied with a label in white and stain bearing an
inscription. There are some admirable figure-and-canopy windows of this
description on the north side of the choir of York Minster, which seem
to have inspired a great deal of our modern mock-Perpendicular
figure-and-canopy glass. The label occurs, on a background of white
architecture, behind the Prophets from Fairford on pages 187, 391. A
more important example of it occurs round the figure of Edward the
Confessor, from S. Mary's, Ross (opposite), and again in the group from
the same source on page 339. Extremely clever ornamental use is made of
the label--a typically Perpendicular form of enrichment--in the German
glass on page 186. The extraordinary breadth of the phylacteries held by
the Prophets in the early fifteenth century windows in the S. Chapelle
at Riom, gives them quite a character of their own, and an admirable
one.

[Illustration: 144. THE QUEEN OF SHEBA BEFORE SOLOMON, FAIRFORD.]

At Great Malvern we find the lights above the transom of a window
occupied each by a figure and its canopy, whilst the lower lights
contain each three tiers of small subjects, separated only by bands of
inscription. In the four-light window at Malvern illustrating the Days
of Creation, each light contains three little subjects, one of which is
given on page 252. Sometimes, as in the windows from Fairford on pages
188, 372, subjects under a canopy are drawn to a scale as large as the
size of the window will allow.

[Illustration: 145. KING EDWARD, S. MARY'S, ROSS.]

In some shape or another the canopy almost invariably appears in
connection with figure work; it is the rarest thing to find, in place of
the familiar shafting, a border, such as that opposite.

[Illustration: 146. YORK MINSTER.]

Of the gradual improvement in drawing in the fifteenth century work it
is not necessary to say much. It belongs to the period rather than to
glass painting, and it is shown in the examples illustrated. It is of no
particular country, though our English work was possibly more
constrained than contemporary continental work. Particularly
characteristic of English work was the delicate tracing of the faces,
which were pencilled, in fine lines, the treatment altogether rather
flat, and this at a period when foreign glass was much more solidly
modelled. It is not possible, on the scale of illustration determined by
a book of this size, to illustrate this English peculiarity as clearly
as one would wish, but it will be apparent to the seeing eye even here.
It is within the bounds of possibility that the Fairford glass may have
been executed in England; if so, Flemish or German painters certainly
had a hand in it. To compare it with the neighbouring Perpendicular
glass at Cirencester, with its delicate tracing and fine stain (in which
matter the Fairford glass does not by any means excel), is to see how
very different it is from typical English work. Whether we look at the
detail of the canopies, or the drawing of the drapery, or the painting
of the glass, we see little to connect this with English work, though it
falls at once into its place as excellent Late Gothic glass. In the
windows of the nave of Cologne Cathedral, a figure from one of which is
here given, German Gothic glass reaches its limit. There is already a
trace, if only in the broad shaft of the canopy, of Renaissance
influence in the design. In others of these windows there are no single
figures. Entire lights are filled with biblical or legendary scenes, one
above the other, under dwarf canopies, which do not very clearly define
the horizontal divisions of the window; for all that, the horizontal
divisions are for the most part there. Except where the canopies are so
insignificant as not to count, a Perpendicular window presents, as a
rule, a screen of silvery-white, on which the pictures form so many
panels of more or less jewelled colour.

[Illustration: 147. COLOGNE CATHEDRAL.]

The enormous East window at York Minster, which belongs to the very
early years of the fifteenth century, contains, apart from its tracery,
no less than a hundred and seventeen subjects in its twenty-seven
lights; but the canopies dividing them are so narrow that they scarcely
answer the purpose of frames to the separate subjects. The design is
inextricably confused, and the subjects are very difficult to read; but
the effect is still as of a mass of jewels caught in a network of white.
In fact, the progress towards light is such that, whereas in the last
century the problem was how to get more and more white glass into a
coloured window, it seems now more often to be how to get colour into a
white one.

White and stain enter so largely into Late Gothic glass that there
remains little to be said about grisaille. The glass of the period is,
for the most part, in grisaille and colour, the difference between it
and earlier grisaille being, that it consists so largely of
figure-and-canopy work. Windows, however, do occur all in white or all
in white and stain. Figures, for example, in white and stain, occur, as
in the South transept at York, on a ground of delicately painted
quarries. Again, a common arrangement is that of figures in white and
colour against a background of quarry work, a band of inscription
separating the pavement upon which they stand from quarries below them.
Such figures form a belt across many moderate-sized windows in parish
churches. Mere quarry lights also occur, with a border in which perhaps
some colour occurs. But the subject of quarries and quarry windows is
reserved for consideration in a chapter by itself.

It must not be supposed that the drift of Later Gothic in the direction
of white glass was uninterrupted. That was by no means so. At certain
places, and at certain periods, and especially by certain artists, there
seems to have been a reaction against this tendency, if ever there was
any yielding to it. For example, notwithstanding all that has been said
about the lighter tone of Decorated glass, some of the very finest
fourteenth century German work, at S. Sebald's Church, Nuremberg, is as
intensely and beautifully rich as anything in Early work. There rows of
small subjects are framed in little canopies as deep in colour as the
pictures, and white glass is conspicuous by its absence. The nearest
approach to it is an opaque-looking horn colour, and that is used only
very sparingly. Possibly, however, it is not quite fair to call these
windows rich, for the upper part of them is light. So light is it, and
so little has it to do with the stained glass, that one scarcely accepts
it as part of the window, and therefore speaks of it as if it ended with
the colour.

The unfortunate plan has been adopted here, as in the cathedral at
Munich and elsewhere in Germany, of filling only about half the window,
from the sill upwards, with strong stained glass. This ends abruptly at
an arbitrary and very unsatisfactory canopy arch, which, in a way,
frames it; and above it the window is filled with plain white rounds. At
Freiburg there is yet a further band of plain rounds next the sill of
the windows. The object of this is, doubtless, to get light into the
church; but the effect is as if the builders had run short of coloured
glass, and had only finished off the window temporarily. As a means of
combining white and colour this German shift is not, of course, to be
compared to the plan current elsewhere of distributing them in
alternating bands. It does not attempt to combine them, but cuts the
window deliberately in two. Not until you have shaded off from your eyes
the distracting rays of white light, can you properly appreciate or
enjoy the coloured glass.

But, if these windows must be considered, as in a sense they must be, as
conforming to the demand for more light, there are others in which
strong colour is carried consistently through, not only in the
fourteenth but in the fifteenth century. (It is irritating and annoying
to have to hark back in this way to periods supposed to have been long
since left behind, but any arbitrary line of division between the styles
must, as it were, cut off points which project from one into the other,
sometimes very far indeed across the boundary line; and hence the
absolute necessity, at times, of seeming to retrace our steps, if we
would really trace the progress of design.) There are shown opposite
four lights out of a large window in the clerestory of the cathedral at
Troyes, in which the history of the Prodigal Son is pictured in little
upright subjects, framed in canopies of quite modest proportions and of
colour which in no wise keeps them separate from the richly coloured
figures underneath. One of them, for example, is of green, very much
the colour of an emerald, on an inky-purple ground. The result is a very
rich window, full of quaintly dramatic interest when you come to examine
it; but there are no broadly marked divisions of colour in the glass to
affect the architecture of the building one way or the other, nor does
it tell its tale very plainly. It is more easily read on page 194 than
from the floor of the church.

[Illustration: 148. THE PRODIGAL SON, TROYES.]

In the windows so far discussed the figure subjects, however small and
however close together, have always been marked off one from the other,
slightly as it might be, at first by the marginal lines round the early
subject medallions, and then by canopies. It is shown in another
fifteenth century window from Troyes (opposite) how even that amount of
framework was now sometimes abandoned.

Progress in glass design, it was said, was in the direction of light and
of picture. Moved by the double impulse, the designer of the Later
Gothic period framed his coloured pictures in white. But where he
happened not to care so much about light, or had not to consider it, he
omitted even the narrow shaft of white or colour (which, so long as he
used a canopy, usually divided the picture from the stonework) and left
it to the mullions to separate them vertically. Horizontally he divided
them slightly by a band of ornament, as at Troyes, of about the width of
the mullions, or more frequently, and more plainly, by lines of
inscription on white or yellow bands. If the subjects were arranged
across the window in tiers alternately on ruby and blue grounds, that,
of course, separated each somewhat from the one next above and below it,
but it banded those on the same level together. This helped the
architectural effect, but confused the story-telling.

If the pictures were arranged, throughout the width as well as the
length of the window, alternately in panels on red and blue grounds,
that kept the pictures rather more apart, but made the distribution of
the colour all-overish. That mere change of ground could not keep
pictures effectively separate will be clear when it is seen (opposite)
how little of the background extends to the mullion. The greater part of
the figures come quite up to the stonework, and the subjects
consequently run together. It is difficult to realise, except by
experience, how little the stonework can be depended upon to frame
stained glass. It seems when you see it all upon paper that the
mullions, with their strongly marked mouldings, must effectually frame
the glass between them. They do nothing of the kind. They go for so much
shadow: what you see is the glass. This the glass painters realised at
length, and took to carrying their pictures across them. And it has to
be confessed that so long as they schemed them cleverly the interference
of the mullion was not much felt.

[Illustration: 149. THE STORY OF TOBIT, TROYES.]

The distinction drawn so far between "single figures" and "subjects" has
answered its obvious purpose; but that also is, in a manner, arbitrary.
Figures standing separately, each in a light by itself, form very often
a series--such as the four Evangelists, the twelve Apostles, the
Prophets, the Doctors of the Church, or a succession of kings, bishops,
or other ecclesiastics. More than that, they form perhaps a group. When
we discover that facing the figure of the Virgin Mary is that of the
Angel Gabriel, we see at once that, though each figure occupies a
separate light of the window, and each stands in its own separate niche,
we have in reality here a subject extending through two lights--the
Annunciation. So in a four-light window--if in one light stands the
Virgin with the Infant Christ, and in the others a series of richly
garbed figures with crowns and gifts in their hands, it is clear that
this represents the Adoration of the Magi--a subject in four lights; and
the canopies over them may be taken to be one canopy with four niches. A
yet more familiar instance of continuity between the single figures in
the lights of a window occurs where the central light contains the
Christ upon the cross, and in the sidelights stand the Virgin and S.
John. We have in such cases the beginning of the subject extending
through several lights. It is only a short step from the Annunciation,
or the Adoration, or the Crucifixion described, to the same subject,
under one canopy, extending boldly across the window, with shafts only
to frame the picture at its sides. That is what was done--especially in
Germany. It occurs already in Early Decorated glass, where the upper
part of a big geometric window is sometimes occupied by brassy pinnacle
work, which asserts itself, perhaps, upon a ground of mosaic diaper, in
the most unpleasant way. In the white glass of a later period the effect
was happier.

At first the designer did not, as a rule, aspire to carry his subjects
right across a big window. Accepting the transom as a natural division,
he would perhaps divide a four-light window vertically into two, so as
to get four subjects, each under a canopy extending across two lights;
or, in a five-light window, he would probably separate these by other
narrow subjects in the central lights. Divisions of this kind often
occur already in the stonework of the window, the lights being
architecturally divided by stronger mullions into groups. In that case
all the glass painter does is to emphasise the grouping of the lights
schemed by the architect. Where the architect has not provided for such
grouping he does it, perhaps, for himself. It enables him to design his
figures on a larger scale, and to get a much broader effect in his glass
than he could do so long as he kept each picture rigorously within the
limits of a single light. Consideration for his picture had probably
more to do with his reticence than respect for its architectural
framework; and so soon as ever he realised how little even a strong
mullion would really interfere with his work, he made no scruple to take
all the space he wanted for his purpose. Infinite variety of composition
is the result. The upper half of the window is perhaps devoted to a
single subject, or to two important pictures, whilst below the transom
the lights are broken up into quite little pictures; or in place of
these smaller pictures may be found little panels of heraldry, as occurs
often in Flemish work. These or the smaller pictures may be continued in
the sidelights of a broad window, flanking, and in a way framing, a
large central picture. Sometimes, as in the nave of Cologne Cathedral,
the upper half of the window may contain one imposing composition; below
that may be a series of important single figures, each provided with its
separate canopy; and below that again, at the base of the window, may be
a series, or several series, of small heraldic panels.

The canopy extending across a broad window (page 200) may be so schemed
that there is obvious recognition of the lights into which it is
divided, or it may sprawl across the window space with as little regard
to intervening mullions as possible. There is now, in short, full scope
for the fancy of the artist, were he never so fanciful; and it would be
a hopeless task to try and catalogue the lines on which the design of a
large window might now be set out.

We do not in the fifteenth century arrive yet at the most remarkable
achievements in glass painting. But you have only to compare such
pictures as those on pages 194, 196, with that on page 127 to see what a
complete revolution has come over the spirit of design. It is not only
that the draughtsman has learnt to draw, and the painter to paint; they
work on quite a different system. It was explained (page 44) how in
early days the glazier conceived his design as mosaic, how he first
thought it out in lead lines, and only relied on paint to help him out
in details which glazing could not give him. Now, it is easy to see that
the painter begins at the other end. He thinks out his picture as a
painting, and relies upon glazing only for the colour which he cannot
get without it.

In the beginning, it was said, the glazier might often have fixed his
lead lines, and trusted to his ingenuity to fill them in with painted
detail. Now, it would seem, the painter might almost have sketched his
picture, and then bethought him how to glaze it. But that is not yet
really so. He did not even conceive his design as a picture and then
translate it into glass. His work runs so smoothly it cannot be
translation. The ingenuity with which he leads up little bits of colour
in the midst of white, is no mere feat of engineering; it is
spontaneous. It is clear that he had the thought of glazing in his mind
all along--that he designed for it, in fact. The difference between the
thirteenth century and the fifteenth century designer is, that one
thinks first of glazing, is primarily a glazier, the other thinks first
of painting, is primarily a painter.

[Illustration: 150. FAIRFORD.]

[Illustration: 151. RENAISSANCE WINDOW, TROYES CATHEDRAL.]



CHAPTER XVII.

SIXTEENTH CENTURY WINDOWS.


The customary line between Gothic and Renaissance glass is drawn at
about A.D. 1530. That is to say, that there are to be found examples,
presumably of that date, which are still undoubtedly Gothic in
character. But he would be a bold man, even for an archæologist, who
dared to say precisely when the Gothic era came to an end.

Quite early in the sixteenth century the new Italian movement began to
make itself felt in France, Germany, Flanders; in due course it spread
to this country. Eventually it supplanted the older style; but it was
only by degrees that it insinuated itself into the affections of
cis-alpine craftsmen. And in stained glass, even more plainly than in
wood or stone carving, is seen how gradually the new style was
assimilated by the mediæval craftsmen--more quickly, of course, by the
younger generation than the older--so that, concurrently with design in
the quasi-Italian manner, Gothic work was still being done. Much of the
earlier Renaissance work shows lingering Gothic influence. In the first
quarter of the sixteenth century a great deal of glass was designed and
executed by men hesitating between the old love and the new, only
partially emancipated from mediæval tradition, or only imperfectly
versed in the foreign style.

There is a window at S. Nizier, at Troyes, for example, in which the
details are Renaissance, but the feeling is quite Gothic. The subjects
are even explained by elaborate yellow scrolls or labels inscribed in
black, very much after the manner of those which form such a feature in
the German Gothic work at Shrewsbury (page 186). Renaissance forms are
traced with a hand which betrays long training in the more rigid
mediæval school; and Gothic and Italian details are put together in the
same composition with a _naïveté_ which is sometimes quite charming.

You can see that the designer of the window on page 203 was not
untouched by Renaissance influence. Possibly he thought the hybrid
ornament in his canopy was quite up to date.

In the glass in the nave of Cologne Cathedral the suspicion aroused by
the side columns of the otherwise quite Gothic canopy on page 191 is
confirmed by definitely Renaissance forms in the ornament in the window
head. Again, at the Church of S. Peter, at Cologne, is a sort of pointed
canopy with ornament which looks at first like Gothic crockets, but on
nearer view it is just Italian arabesque in white and stain. Apart from
architectural accessories and detail of costume or ornament, to justify
the attribution of the work to this or that period, it is very often
difficult to give a name to early Renaissance work; the only safe refuge
is in the convenient word transitional.

But for the nimbus in perspective, and the shield of arms and its little
amorino supporter, it would have seemed safe to describe the "Charge to
S. Peter" from S. Vincent at Rouen on page 207 as "Gothic."

In French glass a lingering Gothic element is noticeable at a period
when Italian forms had firmly established themselves in contemporary
plastic art; but, then, glass painting was not an Italian art; and,
whilst wood carvers and sculptors were imported from Italy, and directly
influenced the Frenchmen working with them, glass painting remained in
the hands of native artists.

Before very long the Renaissance did, of course, assert itself, in glass
painting as in all art, and we arrive at windows absolutely different
from anything that was done in the Middle Ages. The change was in some
places much more rapid than in others. Wherever there was a strong man
his influence would make for or against it. But meanwhile much
intermediate work was done, belonging more or less to the new school,
whilst retaining very much of the character of Gothic glass.

That Gothic character was something well worth keeping; for it is the
character which belongs inherently to the material.

The Gothic glass painters did, in fact, so thoroughly develop the
resources of the material, that a Renaissance window treated really like
glass inevitably suggests the lingering of Gothic tradition. This is no
slight praise of Gothic work; and, by implication, it tells against the
later Renaissance glass painters, whose triumphs were in a direction
somewhat apart from their craft. The great windows at Brussels, for
example (page 71), illustrate a new departure. They seem to have nothing
in common with mediæval art. On the other hand, one traces the descent
of such masterpieces of translucent glass painting as are to be found at
Arezzo (page 397), through those same intermediate efforts, directly to
Gothic sources.

[Illustration: 152. ST. MARY'S, SHREWSBURY.]

To trace the steps by which the new encroached upon the old, as one may
do, for example, at Rouen, is almost to come to the conclusion that the
short but brilliant period of Renaissance glass painting is really the
after-fruit of Gothic tradition, fertilised only by the great flood of
Renaissance feeling which swept over sixteenth century art. Nowhere is
this more clearly argued than in the windows at Auch, completed,
according to all accounts, as early as 1513. A strain of Gothic is
betrayed by the cusping which here and there fringes a semicircular
canopy arch; but no less mistakably mediæval is the technique
throughout, and equally so the setting out of the windows. For the
somewhat imposing canopies are not, for once, devised as frames to
correspondingly important pictures; but are simply shrines adorned with
figures each confined to its separate light: it is only the small
subsidiary predella or other such pictures which extend beyond the
mullions. No doubt there is doctrinal intention in the juxtaposition of
Prophets, Sibyls, and the rest--one of whom may even be supposed to be
addressing the other--but to all intents and purposes decorative, they
are just a row of standing figures, as distinct one from the other as
the usual series of figures under quite separate canopies. It is only
the canopy which connects them. This kind of composition (which is seen
again at Troyes, page 200) would never have occurred to a man altogether
cut off from Gothic tradition.

[Illustration: 153. CHAPEL OF THE BOURBONS, LYONS.]

[Illustration: 154. S. GODARD, ROUEN.]

It is worth remarking that, even when Gothic and Renaissance canopies
alternate at Auch in a single window, or where Gothic niches are built,
as it were, into or on to larger Renaissance structures, there is no
appearance of incongruity. Truth to tell, the Gothic is not so purely
Gothic, nor the Renaissance so purely Renaissance, as that they should
clash one with the other. Both are seen through the temperament of the
artist. He mixed them in his mind; and the result is quite one, _his_
style in short.

Early Renaissance glass submitted itself, one can hardly say duly, but
almost as readily as late Gothic design, to the restraint of Gothic
mullions. The windows in which, as it happens, some of the best Early
French Renaissance work is found (and it is in France that the best is
to be found) are often smaller than the great Perpendicular windows
referred to, and do not lend themselves to such elaborate subdivision.
But the lines on which they are subdivided are very much as heretofore.
The canopy still extends through several lights, and covers a single
subject. Only now it is Renaissance in design. That does not mean to say
merely that round arched architecture takes the place of pointed. The
round arch occurs indeed, as in the windows in the Chapel of the
Bourbons, in Lyons Cathedral (on pages 204 and 349), supplemented by
amorini and festoons of fruit. But more often the canopy takes the form
of a frieze of Renaissance ornament, painted in white and stain, as at
S. Godard, Rouen (opposite), or glazed in white on colour, as in the
cathedral of the same city (pages 75, 350), supported at each end by a
pilaster. Not seldom it resolves itself into arabesque only very
remotely connected with architecture at all. Indeed, if it simulate
anything, it is goldsmith's work rather than masonry. Executed, as at
Rouen (pages 75, 206), in brilliant yellow on a dark coloured ground, it
has very much the appearance and value of beaten gold. That, rather than
sculpture, must have been in the mind of the designer. One form of
imitation is not much better than another; but here, at all events,
there is nothing which in the least competes with the surrounding
architecture; and it will scarcely be denied by any one who takes the
least interest in ornament, that design of this kind is vastly more
amusing than the dull array of misplaced pinnacles which often did duty
for ornamental detail in Gothic shrinework. A German version of a canopy
which ceases almost to be a canopy and becomes more like arabesque, is
given on page 350. That is supported by columns (the caps are shown in
the illustration) rather out of keeping with the ornament they support,
which makes very little pretence of being architectural. The canopies on
pages 204, 350, are supported only on little brackets at each side, and
have no shafts at all. This marks a new departure. The picture has now
no frame at its sides, only the stone mullion.

[Illustration: 155. S. PATRICE, ROUEN.]

[Illustration: 156. SUBJECT, S. VINCENT, ROUEN, 1525.]

It was explained, in reference to glazing, what confusion of detail
resulted from the use of leads of which some were intended to form part
of the design and some not. Similar confusion is inevitable when certain
of the mullions are meant to be accepted as frame to the picture and
others to be ignored. The perhaps not very conspicuous canopy is often
the only hint as to which of the stone divisions you are to accept as
such, and which not. Even that was not always there to serve as a guide.
Already, as early as 1525, the date given to the window illustrating
the life of S. Peter (page 207), the canopy was sometimes annulled, and
the window given over entirely to picture, either one complete subject
or a series of smaller ones. The window dedicated to S. Peter contains
in its four lights eight equal subjects, a plan adopted in several
others of the windows at S. Vincent, Rouen. In a series of unframed
subjects, such as these, there is much less danger of confusion should
some one prominent figure recur throughout always in the same costume.
That is the case here, and again at Châlons, where the figure of Our
Lord, robed in purple, is conspicuous throughout: the mind grasps at a
glance that this is not one picture but a series.

A change of period is indicated by the departure from the disc-shaped
nimbus. On pages 207, 210, 234, 397, the nimbus is shown in perspective;
an attempt is even made to make it hover above the head, an effect not
possible to produce in leaded glass; even at Arezzo it is not achieved.
Neither is the use of a mere ring of light, whether in flat or in
perspective, a happy substitution for the Gothic colour disc, as may be
seen, for example, at Cologne. The idea of the nimbus only keeps within
the border line which separates the sublime from the ridiculous, so long
as the thing is frankly accepted as a symbol, not as an effect. But,
were it otherwise, the use of the strongly marked disc of colour about
the head of prominent personages has an enormous value as a means of
distinguishing them from the background or from surrounding figures. Its
decorative importance is no less than its symbolic. Very especially is
this so in glass; and the glass painter who wantonly departs from its
use, reduces it to a mere ring (which does not separate it at all from
the background) or poises it in the air, is beginning to wander from the
way, narrow if you please, which leads to success in glass. This is said
with some reluctance in face of the all but perfect little panel from S.
Bonnet, at Bourges, on page 210. It is true that there the nimbus of the
boy saint, though in perspective, does by its dark tone separate the
head from the light ground, as the face is separated from the darker
drapery of his teacher; and, in so far, little of definition is
sacrificed; but, after all, admirably as the design is schemed, the oval
nimbus is not a whit less conventional than the round disc of mediæval
times, and it does lack something of distinction and dignity which that
conveyed. The date inscribed (1544) serves to remind us that we are
nearing the middle of the century, at which period glass painting may
safely be said to have reached its zenith and to be nearing the verge of
decline.

It will have been seen in the examples lately instanced how story is
gradually more and more naturally set forth in glass. There is now no
vestige of flat treatment left. Even the standing figure (page 191)
stands forth from his niche, and though he may be backed by a curtain of
damask, there is shown above that a background of receding architecture.
So in the S. Bernard windows at Shrewsbury (pages 56, 203) there is
architectural distance shown in perspective, and again in the subjects
from Fairford, whether it be the portcullised gate of Jerusalem that is
represented (page 251), or the very inadequate palace of King Solomon
(page 188), or the Garden of Eden, in which the scene of the Temptation
is primitively pourtrayed (page 372), there is some attempt to render
the scene. Even in the fifteenth century work at Troyes (page 194) the
Prodigal is not merely shown among the swine, joining them in a dinner
of gigantic acorns, but he leans against an oak tree, and in the
distance is a little forest of trees. In Renaissance glass the scene is
much more naturally rendered, and forms almost invariably an important
part of the composition. Witness the palace of Herod (page 74) when
Salome dances before him, which is a great advance upon the Gothic
throne-room of King Solomon (page 188).

[Illustration: 157. SUBJECT, S. BONNET, BOURGES.]

The scene takes one of three forms: either it is architectural, or it is
landscape, or it is of architecture and landscape combined. A very
favourite plan of the French was to show distant architecture (glazed in
deep purple) through which were seen glimpses of grey sky, and perhaps a
peep of landscape; and it resulted invariably in a beautiful effect of
colour. In fact, a scheme of colour which recurs again and again at
Rouen, and in other French glass of the first part of the sixteenth
century, consists in the introduction of figures in rich colour and
white upon a background where white, green, purple, and pale blue
predominate to such an extent as to give quite a distinctive character
to the glass. The more distant landscape was painted very delicately
upon the pale grey-blue glass which served for sky, as shown on page
255, and in the same way architecture was also painted upon it. In the
view through the arches above the screen in a window at Montmorency
(page 213), both trees and buildings are represented in that way upon
pale grey glass, the green of the trees and hills stained upon it.
Sometimes the distance is painted upon white, as at King's College,
Cambridge; but in France the pale grey-blue background is so usual as to
be quite characteristic of the period. All this is a long way from the
mere diaper of clouds which in the early fifteenth century sometimes
took the place of damask pattern upon the blue which formed a background
to the Crucifixion, or other scene out of doors. It is now no longer a
case of symbolising, but of representing, the sky, and it is wonderful
what atmospheric quality is obtained by the judicious use of pale blue
painted with the requisite delicacy. The beauty of this kind of work,
especially on a small scale, is beyond dispute. Together with the
rendering of the flesh, it implies consummate skill in painting. The
painter comes quite to the front; but he justifies himself inasmuch as
he is able to hold the place. He does what his Gothic predecessors could
not have done, and does it perfectly. Could the Gothic artist have
painted like this, he also might have been tempted so far in the
pictorial direction as to have sacrificed some of the sterner qualities
of his design.

The architectural environment of the figures on page 213 fulfils
somewhat the function of the Perpendicular canopy; it forms a kind of
setting of white for the colour; but, in the first place, it does not
pretend to frame them at the side, and, in the second, the attempt at
actual perspective necessitates an amount of shading upon the white
glass which detracts at once from its purity and from its value as
setting to the colour. The idea is there that you see through the window
into space; and, though that effect is never obtained, it is wonderful
how far some of the glass painters later in the century went towards
illusion. A certain false air of truth was sometimes given to the
would-be deception by an acknowledgment of the window-shape--that is, by
making the foremost arch or arches follow the shape of the window head,
and form, as it were, a canopy losing itself in perspective.
Architecture proper to the subject, or not too inappropriate to it, is
sometimes schemed so far to accommodate itself to the window-shape as to
form, with the white pavement, a more or less canopy-like setting for
the figures. It may be a sort of proscenium, the sides of which recede
into the picture, and form what may be called the scenery. At King's
College, Cambridge, Esau is seen bargaining away his birthright at a
table where stands the coveted pottage, in the midst of spacious halls
going back into distant vistas, seen through a sort of canopy next the
actual stonework. That concession to the framework of the window does
mend matters somewhat. The base of the picture opposite, for example, is
much more satisfactory than it would have been had it not acknowledged
the window-sill; but the architecture in the top part of the lights is
not a frame to the picture at all, nor yet a finish to the glass: it is
part of the picture, which thus, you may say, occupies the window as a
picture its canvas. In reality that is not quite so. There is some
acknowledgment, though inadequate, of the spring of the arch by a
horizontal cornice parallel with the bar; and the arcading, though
interrupted by the mullion and by the marble columns, steadies the
design; and altogether the architecture is planned with ingenuity,
though without frank enough acceptance of the window-shape. One would be
more tolerant to such misguided freedom of design were it not for the
kind of thing it led to. It must be admitted that both French and
Flemings, until they began to force their perspective, and to paint
shadow heavily, did very beautiful and effective work in this way.

A multitude of figures, as, for example, in the Judgment of Solomon at
S. Gervais, Paris, more or less in rich colour, could be held together
by distant architecture and foreground pavement largely consisting of
white glass, in a way which left little to be desired, except fuller
acknowledgment of the stonework. But it took a master of design to do
it, and one with a fine sense of breadth and architectural fitness.

When such architecture was kept so light as to have the full value of
white, and when the figures against it were also to a large extent in
white, and the colour was introduced only in little patches and jewels
skilfully designed to form, here the sleeves of a white-robed figure,
there a headdress, there again the glimpse of an underskirt, and so
on--all ingeniously designed for the express purpose of introducing rich
colour, the whole shot through with golden stain--the effect is
sometimes very beautiful.

[Illustration: 158. SAINTS, CH. OF S. MARTIN, MONTMORENCY.]

Admirable Flemish work, Renaissance in detail, but carrying on the
traditions of Gothic art, is to be found in plenty at Liège, both in
the cathedral (1530 to 1557) and at S. Martin. This is excellent in
drawing and composition, most highly finished in painting, fine in
colour, and silvery as to its white glass, which last is splendidly
stained. In the same city there is beautiful work also at S. Jacques,
with admirable treatment of the canopy on a large scale. It differs from
French work inasmuch as it is Flemish, just as the glass at the church
of Brou differs in that there is a characteristic Burgundian flavour
about it; but those are details of locality, which do not especially
affect the course of glass painting, and which it would be out of place
here to discuss.

In England we are not rich in Renaissance glass. The best we have is
Flemish, from Herkenrode, now in the cathedral at Lichfield. The greater
part of this is collected in seven windows of the Lady Chapel--no need
to explain which; the miserable shields of arms in the remaining two
convict themselves of modernity. In the tracery, too, there is some old
glass, but it is lost in the glare of new glazing adjacent. Otherwise
this glass is not much hurt by restoration. Four of the windows are
treated much alike; that is, they have each three subjects, extending
each across the three lights of which they are composed, some with
enclosing canopy, and some without. A fifth three-light window is broken
up into six tiers of subjects, each of which appears at first sight as
if it were confined to the limits of a single light, but there is in
fact connection between the figures; for example, of three figures the
central one proves to be the Patron Saint of the Donor, himself
occupying one of the sidelights, and his wife the other. If the Saint is
seated the Donors stand. If he is represented standing they kneel before
him. The two larger six-light windows at Lichfield are divided each into
four; that is to say, the four quarters of the window have each a
separate subject which extends laterally through three lights, and in
depth occupies with its canopy about half the entire height of the
window.

The Lichfield glass has very much the character of that at Liège. So has
the Flemish glass now at the east end of S. George's, Hanover Square, a
church famous for its fashionable weddings. This is some of the best
glass in London, well worthy the attention of the guests pending the
arrival of the bride. The design, however, is calculated to mystify the
student, until he becomes aware that the lights form part of a "Tree of
Jesse," adapted, not very intelligently, to their present position, and
marred by hideous restoration, such as the patch of excruciating blue in
the robe of the Virgin. The vine, executed in stain upon white, with
grapes in pot-metal purples, is not nearly strong enough to support the
figures; this may be in part due to the decay of the paint, which has
proceeded apace.

Again, at Chantilly (page 218) may be seen how lead lines quarrel with
delicate painting. The more delicate the painting, the greater the
danger of that--a danger seldom altogether overcome.

[Illustration: 159. S. GEORGE'S, HANOVER SQUARE, LONDON.]

The most important series of Renaissance windows in this country is in
King's College Chapel, Cambridge. "Indentures" still remain to tell us
that these were contracted for in 1516 and 1526. Apart from some
strikingly English-looking figures in white and stain upon quarry
backgrounds in a side chapel, and other remains of similar character,
and from a very beautiful window almost opposite the door by which one
enters--differing in type, in scale, in colour, altogether from the
other windows--the glass throughout the huge chapel was obviously
planned at the time of the first contract, and there is a certain
symmetry of arrangement throughout which bespeaks the period of
transition. The windows consist each of two tiers of five lights. A
five-light window offers some difficulty to the designer if he desire
(as in the sixteenth century he naturally did) to introduce subjects
extending across more than one light. A subject in two lights does not
symmetrically balance with a subject in three. He might carry his
subject right across the window, but that might give him very likely a
larger space to fill than he wanted; and besides, the time was hardly
come for him to think of that. He might carry it across the central
group of three; but that would leave him a single light on each side to
dispose of. Remains the idea of a subject in two lights at each side of
the window, and a central composition occupying only one light. That was
not a very usual plan, although it was adopted, at Fairford for example,
where the side subjects in two lights under a canopy are effectually
separated by a central subject which has none. At King's the sidelights
have no canopies further than such as may be accepted as part of the
architecture proper to the subject, schemed more or less to frame the
picture (as in the case of the window at Montmorency, page 213); it is
only in the centre lights that the figures (two in each light, one above
the other) are enclosed in canopy work. These figures (described as
"messengers"), with elaborately flowing scrolls about them inscribed
with texts of Scripture, are many of them quite Gothic in character,
even though they have Renaissance canopies over them. The designs of
these mostly do duty many times over, as if this merely decorative or
descriptive work were not of much account; and the same figure occurs,
here well painted, there ill done, or painted perhaps in a late, loose
way, quite out of keeping with the drawing: there is no sort of sequence
in them. The notion of these intermediate figures, at once
distinguishing the subjects one from the other, and throwing light upon
their meaning, is good. But in effect it fails of its object, thanks to
the independent spirit of the later painters, who thought more of their
pictures than of architectural restraint.

The subjects on each side of the window are very large in scale, very
pictorially and very freely treated, very finely designed at times, and
very splendid in effect; but they are most unequal, and they are all
more or less of a tangle. Their confusion is the greater inasmuch as
there is no attempt to balance one picture with another. A landscape
background on one side of the window answers to an architectural
background on the other. On one side the interest of the subject is
towards the top of the lights, on the other to the bottom, and so on.
Either subject or both may be so merged with the "messengers" that a
casual observer would hardly be aware of the existence of such
personages.

[Illustration: 160. THE STORY OF PSYCHE, CHANTILLY.]

All this makes it difficult to trace the subject; and yet the windows
are in a certain pictorial way the more effective. In fact the unity of
the _window_ has been preserved: the white landscape on one side, and
the white architecture on the other, make equally a setting for the
colour, and form, with the "messengers" and their little canopies, _one_
framing, not several frames. Right or wrong, the artist has done what he
meant to do, and done it oftentimes very cleverly, though not with
uniform success. The inequality spoken of is not only in workmanship but
in design. Some of these pictures have characteristics, such as the
needless evasion of leading, which one associates rather with quite
the end of the century than with anything like the date of the second
contract: possibly the execution of the work extended over a longer
period of time than is generally supposed. However that may be, the
windows generally, remarkable as they are, are not markedly enough of a
period to serve as an object lesson in glass design. They are neither
quite late enough to illustrate the decline of art, nor workmanlike
enough to show the culmination of sixteenth century design--painter-like
and pictorial, but in which the designer knew how to make the most of
the glass in which it was to be wrought.

That is best seen in some of the French and Flemish work above referred
to, in the work, for example, at Ecouen and Montmorency, so fully
illustrated in Monsieur Magne's most admirable monograph. The figure,
for example, of William of Montmorency (page 66), the father of the
great Anne, might serve for a votive picture of the period; but it is
designed, nevertheless, as only a man careful of the conditions under
which glass painting was done could design. Careful of conditions! That
is just what the designers of the King's College glass were not, or not
enough. And so begins the end.



CHAPTER XVIII.

LATER RENAISSANCE WINDOWS.


The magnificent windows of Van Orley at S. Gudule, Brussels, mark in a
sense the summit of design, as well as of painting, in stained glass.
But it is design of a kind not strictly proper to the material, for
which reason the discussion of his work, though it was done well within
the first half of the sixteenth century, has been reserved by way of
introduction to the period which it inaugurated, the period when the
glass painter not merely put painting first of all, but sacrificed to it
qualities peculiar to glass.

The heavy painting of this work and much that followed it has already
been discussed. But something of that was perhaps implied in the very
ideal of the painter; the execution only follows out the scheme of the
design. The scope as well as the power of the designer is better
illustrated in the two great transept windows, than in those of the
chapel of the Holy Sacrament. Even in the very inadequate rendering of
the one of them on page 71 may be seen how large and dignified the man's
conception was. The effect is gorgeous; but it is produced as simply,
for all the unsurpassed elaboration of ornamental detail, as a Goth
could wish. An unsophisticated designer of the thirteenth century could
scarcely have gone more directly to work. He would not have grouped his
figures with such art, but he would have separated each from the other
and from the ground in much such a straightforward way. Yet the _motif_
of the design, the idea of making figures and architecture stand as it
were in strong and round relief against the light, went far to bring
about excessive use of paint; and the design is therefore in a measure
at fault, as was the later Netherlandish work, founded upon it, of which
it may be taken as the nobler type.

It is a far cry from the slender Perpendicular canopy to this triumphal
arch. The architecture is here no frame to the picture, but the backbone
of the picture itself, and it is disposed in the most masterly way. It
takes the place of a magnificent high altar. Sometimes in compositions
of this kind the altar-like canopy enshrines a rich picture, just as
veritable stonework might frame a painted altar-piece, whilst in the
foreground kneel the Donors. In this case Charles the Fifth and his wife
Isabella and their attendant saints are the picture, the object of their
adoration, the Almighty, being relegated to one of the side arches.
Similarly in a three-light window (of much more glassy character,
however) at Montmorency, Guy de Laval has the central position, and the
crucifix before which he kneels is put on one side. This is rather
characteristic of the period. In the sixteenth century windows were
erected, not so much to the glory of God, as to the glorification of the
Donor, who claimed a foremost, if not the very central, place for
himself.

The donor was no doubt always, as to this day, an important person in
connection with the putting up of a stained glass window. But in early
days he was content to efface himself, or if he appeared upon the scene
at all it was in miniature, modestly presenting the little image of his
gift in a lower corner of the window. In the fourteenth century he is
still content with the space of a small panel, bearing his effigy or his
arms, at the base of the window. Even in the fifteenth he is content at
times to be represented by his patron saint, as in the beautiful window
in the chapel of Jacques Coeur, at Bourges. In the sixteenth he is
very much in evidence. No scruple of modesty, or suspicion of
unworthiness, restrains him from putting in an appearance in the midst
of the most serious and sacred scenes, very much sometimes to the
confusion of the story. Eventually the donor, his wife, and perhaps his
family, with their patron saints, who literally back them up in their
obtrusiveness, claim, if they do not absorb, all our attention, and the
sacred subject takes quite a back place. In the foreground of the scene
of the Last Judgment which occupies the great west window at S. Gudule,
Brussels, kneels the donor, with attendant angels, on a scale much
larger than the rest of the world, competing in fact in importance with
the figure of Our Lord in Majesty above.

However, the vain-glory of princes and seigneurs resulted in the
production of works of such consummate art that, as artists, we can but
be grateful to them. In the presence of the splendid achievement of Van
Orley, who shall say that the artist does not justify himself? Nothing
equal to it _in its way_ was ever done.

[Illustration: 161. THE PARABLE OF THE PHARISEE AND THE PUBLICAN,
GOUDA.]

It may not be according to the strict rules of the game: it is not; but
that it is magnificent, no fair-minded artist can deny. Our just cause
of quarrel is, not with that, but with what that led to, what that
became in less competent hands. It is the price we pay for strong men
that they induce weak ones to follow them in a direction where they are
bound to fail. Van Orley's triumphant answer to any carping of ours
would be, to point to the great west window of the cathedral, designed
on earlier and more orthodox lines, and say: "Compare!" We have no right
to limit art to what small folk can do.

The further development of the Netherlandish canopy is shown in the
Gouda glass above. Here is still considerable skill in the way in which
the window is set out, and the patches of colour are introduced (for
example, in the two figures leaning on the balcony and the wreath of
leaves and fruit above them) amidst the predominant white,--if only the
white glass had been whiter in effect. But there is altogether too much
of this architectural work, even though it is used, in the pictured
parable at least, to dramatic purpose. The notion of the Pharisee
gesticulating away in the far distance, whilst the Publican modestly
fills the foreground, is cleverly conceived and skilfully carried out;
but the picture is overpowered by its ponderous frame.

[Illustration: 162. GOUDA, 1596.]

It is in the wonderful series of late sixteenth century windows at
Gouda, in Holland, that the fullest and furthest development of
pictorial design is shown. The period of their execution extends from
1555 to 1603; and, as they are admittedly the finest works of their day,
they may be taken to represent the best work of the latter half of the
sixteenth century. They are, in fact, typical of the period, only at its
best; it is not often that work of that date was designed with such
power or painted with such skill. The diagrams given here and on pages
79, 244, 258, do no manner of justice to the glass; but they will help
the reader better to understand what is said concerning it. They
indicate at least the lines on which these daring designers planned
their huge windows, the main lines which pictorial design on a large
scale is destined henceforth to take.

In the clerestory of S. Eustache, Paris, are some large two-light
windows which somewhat recall the Gouda work; but the design is rather
original. One vast architectural composition in white, not very heavily
painted, fills the window, against which stand a series of giant
Apostles in colour, one in each light, occupying about one-third of the
height of the window. This much recognition of the separate openings is
something to be thankful for towards the middle of the seventeenth
century.

[Illustration: 163. S. SEBALD'S, NUREMBERG.]

A striking feature, we have seen, about the later Renaissance canopy as
shown at Gouda, and already at Brussels, is its vast dimensions. It no
longer frames the picture: it is a prominent, sometimes the most
prominent, feature in its design.

Even earlier than that the canopy was already sometimes of very
considerable extent. At S. Sebald's, Nuremberg, there is a great
altar-like canopy ending in a pediment about two-thirds of the way up
the window, with plain white glass above, in which the shafting at the
side takes up practically the entire width of the two outer lights, as
here shown in the diagram of a portion of the glass. Yet this window is
as early as the year 1515, and before the period when masses of deep
shadow were represented by paint. Accordingly the canopy in this
instance is glazed in pot-metal of steely grey-blue, which, with the
little figures, mainly in steely grey armour against a white ground, and
the heraldic shields at the side, mainly in red and white, all very
slightly shaded, has a singularly fresh, bright, and delicate effect.

Another instance of preponderating architectural work occurs also at
Nuremberg in the choir of the church of S. Lorenz, and though it belongs
to the beginning of the seventeenth century, that too is leaded up much
as it might have been in the fifteenth. But the great clumsy column,
opposite, with its clumsier figure of Fame, against a ruby background
extending right up to the stonework of the window, is not a satisfactory
filling to the outer light of a big window.

The last thing to expect of late Renaissance work is modesty in the use
of architectural accessories, whether in the form of frame or
background. Frame and background they are not; they claim to be all or
nothing. Just as ornamental design was gradually pushed out of use by
figure work, so the picture was in time overpowered by its frame. And
the frame was in the end such that, when it came to be discarded, it was
not much loss.

[Illustration: 164. S. LORENZ, NUREMBERG.]

In the latter half of the sixteenth century and thenceforward design
continued to travel in the direction of what was meant for a sort of
realism. If the more or less altar-like canopy was retained, it was
meant to appear as if it stood bodily under the arch of the window; if
it was abandoned, you were supposed to see more or less _through_ the
window, perhaps into distant country, perhaps into receding aisles of
the church.

It formed part of the canopy scheme, that the structure should end
before it reached the top of the window, so that you could see beyond it
into space. The designers would have been only too happy if they could
have done away with the glass above that. If they had had big sheets of
plate glass, they would certainly have used them to produce the effect
of out of doors--there was already a _plein air_ school in the
eighteenth century--as they had not, they were obliged to accept the
inevitable, and lead up their white glass; but they went as far as they
could to doing away with its effect, using thin, transparent material,
which was not meant to appear as though it formed part of the
composition. Occasionally they would use pale blue glass, or tint it in
a blue enamel, further to suggest the sky beyond. This (page 222) would
commonly be glazed in squares. The pure white glass also was often
glazed in square or, as at Brussels, diamond quarries (page 71).

Subjects themselves, it has been explained, came to be glazed as much as
possible in rectangular panes; but it marks, it may here be mentioned, a
decline of design, as well as of technique, when these came to interfere
in any way, as they did, with the drawing. Having made up his mind that
his design is to be glazed in rigid square lines, the artist should
logically have designed accordingly. He had only to mark off the
glazing lines on his cartoon, and scheme his composition so that it was
not hurt by them. Towards the seventeenth century the plain glass, the
extra part beyond the canopy or beyond the picture, would often be
glazed in some simple pattern. That, you might imagine, stood for the
window _behind_ the picture or the monument. At the church of S.
Jacques, Antwerp, above a picture of the Circumcision, is a canopy
leaded in squares and painted to look like falsehood, beyond which clear
glass is glazed in a pattern.

Occasionally an attempt is made to merge the picture into the plain
glazing above, as at S. Paul's, Antwerp, where the yellow sky, against
which is shown the distant city, and so on, is glazed in squares, which
further off become gradually white, and then at their interstices have
smaller diamond-shaped pieces of glass let in.

Where a subject glazed in quarries is represented against a background
of plain glazing of more elaborate design, there is difficulty in
joining the two, except by means of a strong lead outline to the
figures, or whatever may come next to the plain glass, which outline the
seventeenth century designer was anxious before all things to avoid.
Accordingly, as the plain pattern work approached the margin of the
painted work, he replaced the leads by paint, which sham leads, of
course, could be made to disappear as seemed good to him. But these
little games of his, to judge by results, were hardly worth the candle.

It will be seen how, in the French glass on page 200, the canopy came to
be backed and surrounded by unpainted glass, quarries in that case.
There the canopy sufficiently occupies the window space not to strike
one unpleasantly; but that is sixteenth century work; later, and
especially in Flanders, canopies are represented, as in the cathedral at
Antwerp (1615), adrift, as it were, in a sea of plain glazing. Even when
the glass has some quality of glass the effect of that is not happy.
When the glass is thin and transparent it is disastrous.

At S. Jacques, Antwerp, again, coats of arms hover unsupported in
mid-air, the mere lines of the glazing being quite inadequate to their
apparent support. It is different, of course, where the heraldic device,
as opposite, is itself little more than plain glazing. That is a very
mild form of art; but, in its way, it is satisfactory enough.

Perhaps least fortunate of all in effect are the landscapes at S.
Jacques, which float, without even a canopy to frame them, in an
atmosphere of leaded glass. Antwerp is rich in glass, much of it very
cleverly executed, which would serve very well to illustrate how _not_
to design a window.

[Illustration: 165. GOUDA, 1688.]

The place of the canopy was supplied sometimes, especially in later
Netherlandish work, by the cartouche so dear to the Dutch. It fulfilled
very much the office of the canopy, framing the design; and, had it
been kept white, it would have framed it well, affording circular and
other shapes which form a welcome variation upon the usual arched
opening. But it was not white at all; very much the reverse. Indeed the
idea of the Dutch cartouche, with its interpenetration of parts, and
curling and projecting straps and bolts, tempts the painter to a heavy
method of painting, destructive of the very quality of white. The device
depends for its effect far too much upon force of shadow to be of any
great use in white glass. The comparatively early cartouche in the lower
half of the window at Gouda, given on page 223, is of the simplest kind,
and has none of that too-seductive bolt work; but it is dull and heavy
in effect, being painted in heavy brown, with the idea of giving
atmospheric effect to the picture supposed to be seen through it.

[Illustration: 166. PLAIN GLAZING, S. GERVAIS, PARIS.]

A great cartouche is often used as a kind of base to a canopy extending
across the whole width of a wide window, or the base of the canopy may
include a very important cartouche, occupied in either case by a long
inscription. Here again the oblong patch of white or yellow may have
value, in proportion as it is allowed to preserve the quality of glass.
There is, however, something poor and mean about large areas of small
lettering, and it is a pity to see the opportunity which bold
inscriptions give quite thrown away. Moreover, the inscriptions are
invariably too long. The framers of inscriptions do not realise the
multitude of readers they scare away by the volume of their wording. The
design of a window at S. Jacques, Antwerp, consists merely of an
inscription label, with a helmet above and mantling in black and white
(the black, of course, paint) set in plain glazing.

Up to the very last whole windows were glazed very often in plain
patterns, usually all in clear white glass. A couple of designs, into
which a little colour is introduced, are given below and opposite. In
spite of the increased facility for cutting glass, afforded from the
beginning of the century by the use of the diamond, patterns were seldom
very elaborate; but, by way of illustrating what can be done by means of
the diamond, there is shown overleaf quite a conjuring feat of glazing.
The thick black lines in the drawing represent the leads; the white
spaces enclosed are plain white glass, rather poor in quality; the
thinner lines stand for cracks, possibly not, or not all of them, of the
glazier's doing, for it would be almost impossible to handle such work
without breaking it. It is well-nigh incredible that each of these
_fleurs-de-lys_ should have been cut out of a single piece of glass, the
marginal band to it out of a second, and so with the background spaces.
Glaziers may be inclined to question the possibility of such a _tour de
force_, even in poor thin glass. Certainly one would not have thought it
possible; but there it is, in the museum at Angers, close to the eye,
where you can see and examine it. This is glazing with a vengeance. It
is not the sort of thing that any one would undertake, except as a trial
piece, to show his skill; but if ever a glazier deserved his diploma of
mastership here is the man.

[Illustration: 167. PLAIN GLAZING, LISIEUX.]

[Illustration: 168. A TOUR DE FORCE IN GLAZING, ANGERS MUSEUM.]

The composition of some of the windows belonging to the first half of
the seventeenth century at Troyes does not follow the general tendency
of the period. The better part of this, if not the greater, is
attributed to Linard Gontier (1606-1648). But the design of these
windows, and the style of them, is so varied, and sometimes so little of
the period, that one is disposed to think, either that he was a painter
only and did not design them at all, or that he borrowed his designs
freely from Italian and other sources. The panel on page 400, the Virgin
girt with clouds and cherubs, distinctly recalls the work of the Della
Robbia School; and again the figures opposite remind one of late
sixteenth century paintings. An unusual thing, however, about some of
these windows is the way they are set out. The disposition of the design
of the three-light window from S. Martin ès Vignes is as simple and
severe as though it had been Gothic. The glazing, too, is not in
squares, but follows the design. Except for the rather robustious
drawing of the figures, and the futile kind of detail which does duty
for canopy work, the glass might belong to the first half of the
sixteenth century.

[Illustration: 169. THREE LIGHTS, S. MARTIN-ÈS-VIGNES, TROYES.]

Again, in the subject of the marriage of SS. Joachim and Anna on page
234, it is rather by the types of feature and the cast of draperies,
than by the composition, that the date of the work proclaims itself. It
is proclaimed, of course, unmistakably by the use of enamel, not only in
the warm-coloured flesh, but throughout, to support, and sometimes to
supply the place of, pot-metal glass. Nevertheless, the effect of much
of this glass is brilliant to a degree almost unprecedented in the first
half of the seventeenth century. The painter had skill enough to get the
maximum of modelling with the minimum of paint. He could afford,
therefore, to use paint sparingly, leaving plenty of glass clear, and
seldom sacrificing its translucency, as was done in the group of donors
on page 81, whose black mantles are rendered in solid paint. Those
heavily painted figures recall a couple of Donors in a window at Antwerp
(1626), equally black robed, against a nearly black screen, all in
paint: they would have made a capital votive picture; but they are about
as unlike glass as anything one can conceive.

Exceptionally good seventeenth century work is to be found also at Auch.
It seems that it was proposed (towards 1650) to complete the windows in
a way worthy of the splendid beginning in the choir; but the art was not
forthcoming; and the Chapter of that day was wise enough to fall back
upon comparatively unimportant quarry windows, with borders and tracery
in white and stain and blue enamel, which is at least brilliant in
colour, and pleasing in effect. That may be said also of the Western
Rose. In the Roses of the transepts, the artist goes further, and
produces, by means of arabesque in white and stain, upon a ground mainly
of blue and ruby, occasionally varied by green, each light defined by a
simple border of white and stain, a couple of flamboyant Rose windows
with glass which would do credit to the period of the stonework. They
might well (at the distance they are placed from the eye) be taken at
first sight for Early Renaissance work. In fact they are really mosaic
glass--so rare a thing by this time that the windows are probably of
their kind unique.

Even at its best enamelled glass is less effective than the earlier
work. In proportion as the place of pot-metal is supplied by enamel, the
colour is inevitably diluted, and at times it is quite thin. Indeed, it
is pretty well proved, by the work of men who are masters in their way,
that, in painted as distinguished from mosaic glass, the choice lies
between weak colour and opacity. At Auch and at Troyes we have weak but
still often pure and brilliant colour.

The opposite defect of opacity reaches probably its greatest depth in
the four great Rubens-like windows at S. Gudule in the chapel of Our
Lady immediately opposite that of the Holy Sacrament, where Van Orley's
windows are. The design is there absolutely regardless of any
consideration of glass or architecture. Each window is treated as a vast
oil picture, without so much as a frame. Here is no vista of distant
architecture, nor any such relief of lighter colour as you find at
Gouda. Force of colour is sought by masses of deep shadow, into which
the figures merge. This shadow being obtained by paint, and the glazing
being in the now usual squares, there are literally yards of painted
quarries, which, except when the sun is at its fiercest, are all but
black. And withal the effect is not rich as compared with even the
common Gothic glass, though it is not without a certain picturesqueness
when perchance the sun struggles through. A painter might find it an
admirable background to his picture; no architect would choose it for
his building. Three of these windows were designed, it seems, by a pupil
of Rubens, Van Thulden, who worked under him at the Luxembourg, and they
have all the character of his work--except that the colour is dull.

At New College, Oxford, are some smaller windows with figures, also
recalling the manner of the master, and said to be by pupils of his.
They, too, are dull and heavy in effect. The canopies over the figures
are terrible caricatures of the Gothic shrines in the ante-chapel.
Better seventeenth century glass is to be found at Oxford in the work of
the Van Lingen, a family of Dutchmen settled in England, who executed
windows in Wadham and Balliol Colleges and elsewhere. Some of these are
rich in colour. Apart from the rather interesting use of enamel made in
them, they are not of great value; but they show as well as more
important examples the kind of thing which did duty for design.

The windows in Lincoln's Inn Chapel, London, illustrate not unfairly the
dreary level of dulness as to colour and design to which seventeenth
century glass declined. That it could fall still lower was shown, for
example, by Peckitt, of York, who is responsible for the glass on the
north side of New College Chapel, Oxford, facing the work of the
Dutchmen. These date from 1765 to 1774.

[Illustration: 170. ST. MARTIN ÈS VIGNES, TROYES.]

The history of eighteenth century windows may, if one may plagiarise a
famous bull, be put into the fewest possible words: there were
none--worth looking at. To find pleasure even in Sir Joshua's design at
New College, you must consider it as anything but glass.



CHAPTER XIX.

PICTURE-WINDOWS.


The course of glass design was picture-ward. Picture design, however,
did not stand still, and hence arises some confusion in the use of the
word "pictorial." It is time to try and clear that up. Stained glass, it
may be truly said, has been from the very first pictorial. The earliest
glass, therefore, and the latest, the best and the worst, may alike be
termed pictorial. The difference is in the conception as to what
constituted a picture, say, in the thirteenth century and the
seventeenth. It all depends upon the kind of picture attempted.

Archaic art aims already at nature. We probably do not give the early
painter credit enough for his intention of rendering natural things
naturally. In part at least the stiffness of his design comes from lack
of skill, and often where we find him quaint he meant no doubt to be
perfectly serious and matter-of-fact. But it was not alone incompetence
that held his hand. He was restrained always by a decorative purpose in
his work. Here again he was not conscious of sacrificing to any higher
rule of art; he bothered himself as little about that as a bee about the
way it shall fashion its cell; he worked in the way to which he was
born; but the idea had not yet developed itself that a picture could be
painted quite apart from the decoration of something, and it never
entered his mind to do anything but adapt himself to the decorative
situation.

A picture, then, in mediæval times was a work of decorative art,
designed to fit a place, to fulfil part of a scheme of decoration, in
which it might more often than not take the first place, but no more; it
had no claim to independence.

In glass the picture obeyed two conditions which more or less pulled
together: as art it subserved to decorative and architectural effect; as
craftsmanship it acknowledged and accepted the limitations of glass
painting. In the course of years the ideal of architectural fitness
underwent successive changes, and the limitations of the glass painter
grew less; his scope, that is to say, was widened, and his art took
what we call more pictorial shape. Still, so long as the pictorial ideal
itself was restrained within the limits of mediæval ambition, glass
painting might safely approach the pictorial. It was not until painting
broke loose from traditional decorative trammels and set up, so to
speak, on its own account, until pictorial came to mean something widely
different from decorative, that the term became in any way distinctive
of one kind of art or another. It is in that later sense that the word
pictorial is here used.

Artists still differ, and will continue to differ, as to the precise use
of the term. There are artists still who contend that, since in old time
art was decorative, and since in their opinion all art should be
decorative, therefore the picture which is not decorative is not art.
Arguing thus in a circle, they would say (the pictorial including in
their estimation the perfection of decorative fitness, and all art which
overshot the mark ceasing to count with them) that art was always at its
best when it was most pictorial. But that is a species of quibbling
about words which not only leads us no further, but hinders mutual
understanding. It is wiser to accept words in the sense in which they
are generally understood, and to try and see where the real difference
of opinion is.

Difficult it may be, impossible even, to draw the line between a picture
which is decorative and decoration which is pictorial; but there is no
difficulty in drawing a band on one side of which is decoration and on
the other picture. You have only to draw it wide enough. If we can
succeed in defining a picture as distinguished from a work of decorative
art, and can then show how a stained glass window, in attempting to
conform to conditions which we have agreed to call pictorial, fails of
its decorative function, it will then not be so difficult to see how, in
proportion as glass aims at the pictorial, it falls short of making good
windows. Granted, then, that a picture may fulfil all decorative
conditions, and that a decoration may sometimes rightly be pictorial,
that the two go, as historically they did, a long way hand in hand, it
is contended that there is a point at which decoration and picture part
company and take distinctly different ways; thenceforth, if either is
led away by the other, it is at the cost of possible success in the
direction more peculiarly its own.

Now, the first point at which picture definitely parts company with
decoration is where the painter begins to consider his work apart from
its surroundings. The problems the artist may set himself to solve are
two. "How shall I adorn this church, this clerestory, this chancel, this
window, with stained glass?"--that is distinctly a problem of the
decorator; "How shall I realise, on canvas or what not, this thought of
mine, this fact in nature, this effect seen or imagined?"--that is
distinctly a problem of the painter. Each, it is granted, may be swayed
more or less by the other consideration also, but according as a man
starts with the one problem or the other, and seeks primarily to solve
that, he is painter or decorator. Suppose him seriously to endeavour to
combine pictorial and decorative qualities in his work, there will come
times when he has perforce to choose between the two. Upon the choice he
makes will hang the final character of his work, decorative or
pictorial.

We are too much in the habit of laying down laws as to what a man may or
may not do in art. He may do what he can. He may introduce as much
decorative intention into his picture, as much pictorial effect into his
decoration, as it will stand; it is not till he overweights one with the
other, attempts more than his means or his power allow him, and fails to
do the thing that was to be done, that we can say he has gone wrong.

When the two ideals of decoration and painting were more nearly one, and
in proportion as that was so, success in the two directions was
possible; when painting aimed at effects, of painting--in proportion,
that is, as it became pictorial--it was impossible. It is safe to say,
since masters attempted it and failed--since, for example, the finest
work in glass which aims at the pictorial and depends upon painting ends
always in being either thin or opaque in effect--that the happy medium
was not found. The fact is, the time came when a painter, in order to
design successfully for glass, was called upon to relinquish some of the
effects he had come greatly to value in painting: effects of light and
shade, atmosphere, reflected light, relief, perspective, violent
foreshortening. To seek these at the expense of qualities proper to
decoration and to glass, was to attempt picture; to sacrifice such
pictorial qualities to considerations of architectural fitness, to the
quality of the glass, its translucency, its colour, its consistent
treatment, was to attempt decoration; and in proportion as the sacrifice
is not made, the work of the glass painter may be characterised as
"pictorial." There should now be no possible misunderstanding as to what
is meant by the word. It implies something of reproach, but only as
applied to glass. Let the pictorial flourish, in its place--that is, in
picture. All it is here meant to assert is that, pictures being what
they are, what they were already by the end of the sixteenth century,
the pictorial element in stained glass is bound to spoil the window.

There are two respects in which a stained glass window differs from a
picture: first, in that it is a window; second, in that it is glass.
Suppose we take these two points separately. It scarcely needs showing
that the designing of a window is a very different thing from the
painting of a picture. In the first place, the architectural frame of
the window is there, arbitrarily fixed, whereas the painter chooses his
frame to suit his picture. The designer of a window has not only to
accept the window-shape, but to respect both it and the architecture of
the building. The scale of his work, the main lines of its composition,
if not more, are practically determined for him by architectural
considerations, just as the depth of colour in his scheme is determined
by the position of his window and the amount of light he desires "or is
allowed" to shut out. Moreover, he has to accept the window plane, to
acknowledge it as part of the building, to let you feel, whatever he
does, that it is a window you see, and not something through the window
or standing in it. That was tried, as we have seen, at Gouda and S.
Gudule; but, even if the illusion had been achieved, it would have been
destructive of architectural effect. The idea of a picture seen through
the mullions of a window is one of the will-o'-the-wisps which led glass
painters astray. They did not succeed; and, had they done so, they would
have given a very false, and to some of us a very uncomfortable,
impression of not being protected from the outer air.

Mullions are in any case a very serious consideration. It has been shown
already (page 197) how the artist sought continuity of subject through
the lights of his window, and gradually extended his picture across
them. And if he is at liberty to occupy a four-light window with the
Virgin and Child and the Three Kings, and if it is lawful to introduce
more than one figure into a light, why may not each king be accompanied
by an attendant, holding his horse or bearing gifts; why should not the
Kings kneel in adoration; why should not Joseph be there, the manger,
and the cattle; why should there not be one landscape stretching behind
the Magi, binding the whole into one picture? So with the Crucifixion.
If the Virgin and S. John may occupy sidelights, why not introduce as
well in a larger window the two thieves, the Magdalene at the foot of
the cross, the good centurion, the soldiers, the crowd? Obviously there
is no reason why the subject should not be carried across a window; and
from the time that windows were divided into lights it was done, at all
events in the case of certain subjects, such as the Tree of Jesse, which
spread throughout the window, or the Last Judgment, for which the
available space was yet never enough.

But there is a wide difference between designing a subject which extends
through the whole width of a window and designing it so that it appears
to be seen through the window. In the one case the mullions are
seriously taken into account; in the other they are ignored. If you were
looking at a scene through a window, of course the mullions would
interfere. Why, therefore, consider them if you wish to produce the
effect of something seen through? Naturally you would not allow the
stonework to cut across the face of a principal personage, or anything
of that kind; but, apart from that, its intervention would only add to
the air of reality. The problem of dealing with the mullions is thus
rather shirked than solved. Its solution is not really so difficult as
would seem. Mullions count for much less in the window than one would
suppose. The eye, for example, follows naturally the branches of a Tree
of Jesse from one light into another, and it is not felt that the
stonework interferes with it at all seriously, whilst the scheming of
the figures, each within a single light, is a very distinct
acknowledgment of its individuality. So in the case of a subject. If the
design is so planned that the important figures are grouped in separate
lights, the landscape or other continuous background helps to hold the
picture together, and is not hurt by the mullions.

The important thing is that mullions should be considered; only on that
condition do they cease to interfere with the design. There is no
reason always to put a border round each light, or even to keep every
figure within the bounds of a single light. A reclining figure, such as
that of Jesse at the base of the window (below), Jacob asleep and
dreaming, or the widow's son upon the bier, may safely cross two or
three lights, if it be designed with reference to the intervening
stonework.

Further, it seems desirable that the shape of each separate window
opening should be acknowledged by at least a narrow fillet of white or
pale colour next the masonry, broken, it may be, here and there by some
feature designed to hold the lights together, but practically clearing
the colour from the stonework, and giving to the division of the window
the slight emphasis it deserves. It is not worth while dividing a window
into lights and then effacing the divisions in the glass. Given a window
of four or five lights, the decorator has no choice but to design a four
or five-light window. He must render his subject so that the
constructional divisions of the window keep their proper architectural
place; if his subject will not allow that, he must abandon his subject,
or give very good reason why not. The reason of mere pictorial ambition
will not hold good. The test of a good picture-window is, how the
mullions affect the design. If to take them away would make it look
foolish, then it has probably been designed as a window, decoratively;
if to take them away would improve it, then it has been designed
pictorially; and, however good a picture it might have been, it is a bad
window design.

[Illustration: 171. S. MARY'S, SHREWSBURY.]

It is quite possible, nay, probable, that in connection with any given
window, or series of windows, there will be architectural features
which deserve to be emphasised. It may be the springing of the arch
which calls for accentuation; it may be a string-course in the walls
that asks for recognition; it may be that the proportion of the window
wants correction. Whatever it be, it is the part of the decorator to
feel the want and to meet it, to grasp the situation and to accept it.
In not doing so, he shows perhaps pictorial, certainly not decorative,
instinct. So with regard to the plane of a glass picture. It is not
necessary to restrict one's design to silhouette, to make one's picture
as flat as the first glass painters or the Greek vase painters made
theirs. How much of distance and relief a man may indulge in is partly
his own affair. It depends upon what he can manage to do without
destroying the surface of his window. So long as he preserve that, he
may do as he pleases, and yet not lay himself open to the charge of
being unduly pictorial; only it is as well to remember that on the
simplest and severest lines grand work has been done, and may still be
done, without falling into archaism; whilst the Crabeths, and the rest
of the astoundingly clever glass painters of Gouda fail to reconcile us
to the attempt to render the sky beyond (page 258) or distant
architectural vistas in glass.

It has sometimes been contended that all lines of perspective (which in
the sixteenth century begin to take a very important place in design)
are amiss in glass, inasmuch as they destroy its flatness. That is
surely to go too far. So long as no effect of relief is sought, no
effect of distance attempted, no illusion aimed at, one can hardly find
fault with lines indicating the perspective necessary perhaps to the
expression of the design--assuming, of course, that the lines of
perspective take their place in the decorative scheme, and help the
composition of the window. They do that very cleverly in Crabeth's
picture of "Christ Purifying the Temple" (page 244). Our complaint is
rather with the strong relief attempted, the abuse of shadow, and
especially of painted shadow. The case is far worse where, as at S.
Eustache, Paris, the architectural background is shown obliquely. In
that case, no uncommon one in the seventeenth century, when the painter
would just as likely as not choose his point of view as best suited his
picture, without any reference whatever to its architectural setting,
the painter shows himself, as glass painter, at his most pictorial and
worst.

So much for the window as an architectural feature, now let us look at
it as glass.

It becomes here very much a question of craftsmanship. To a workman it
seems so natural, and so obvious, that the material he is working in,
and the tools he is using, must from beginning to end affect the
treatment of his design, that it appears almost unnecessary to insist
upon such a truism. Experience, however, goes to show that only the
workman and here and there a man who ought, perhaps, to have been one,
have any appreciation of what artists call treatment. The rest of the
world have heard tell that there is such a thing as technique, to which
they think far too much importance is attached. That is so, indeed, when
artists think technique is enough; but not when they look upon it as
indispensable, the beginning of all performance, not when they insist
that a man shall know the grammar of his art before he breaks out into
poetry.

Now the A, B, C, of workmanship is to treat each material after its
kind. It is a truism, therefore, to say that glass should be treated as
glass. Yet we find that a man may be enthusiastic to a degree about an
art, learned above most men in its history, and yet end in entirely
misconceiving its scope. "What is to be condemned on canvas," said
Winston, "ought not to be admitted on glass." As well might he have
said, that what would be condemned on glass should not be allowed on
canvas, or that language and behaviour which would be unbecoming in
church should not be tolerated on the platform, or at the dinner-table.

The fallacy that one rule applies to all forms of art is responsible
alike for the muddiness of seventeenth and eighteenth century windows
and for the thin transparent tinting of nineteenth century Munich glass.

That "art is one" is a fine saying, rightly understood. So is humanity
one, and it is well to remind ourselves of the fact; but race, climate,
country, count for something; and to speak with effect we must speak the
language of the land. Each separate craft included in the all-embracing
title of art, and making for its good and its glory, works under
conditions as definite as those of climate, has characteristics as
marked as those of nationality, and speaks also a language of its own.
And, to express itself to full purpose, it must speak in its own tongue.
The only pictures, then, which prove satisfactory in glass are the
pictures of the glass painter; and by glass painter is not meant any one
who may choose to try his hand at glass painting, but the man who has
learnt his trade and knows it from end to end, to whom use has become
second nature, who thinks in glass, as we say. Now and again, perhaps,
where a draughtsman and a glass painter are in unusual sympathy, it may
be possible for the one to translate the design of the other into the
language of his craft; but good translators are rare, and translation is
at best second-hand. Success in glass is achieved mainly by the man to
whom ideas come in the form of glass, who sees them first in his mind's
eye as windows. Even such a man may lack taste, insight, discretion; he
may be led away by a misplaced ambition--it is not merely on the stage
that the low comedian aspires to play Hamlet--but only the man who knows
so well the dangers ahead that he insensibly avoids them, who knows so
surely what can be got out of his material that he makes straight for
that, who does, in short, the best that can be done in glass, can dare
to be "pictorial" without danger of being false to his trade.

A painter without experience of glass might, of course, be coached in
the technique of the material; but he would never get the most out of
it. Conditions which to the glass painter would be as easy as an old
coat, would be a restraint to him, and the greater his position the more
impatient he would be of such restraint, the more surely his will would
override the better judgment of the subordinate who happened to know.

[Illustration: 172. CHRIST PURGING THE TEMPLE, GOUDA.]

It was unfortunate that at a critical period in the history of glass,
just when great painters from the outside began to be called in to
design for it, knowledge was in rather an uncertain state. The use of
enamel had been discovered; it offered undoubted facilities to the
painter; it was believed in; it was the fashion. Any one who had
protested the superiority of the old method would possibly have been set
down as an old fogey, even by glass painters. At that moment, very
likely, a glass painter, anxious of course to conciliate the great man,
but flushed also with faith in his new-found method, would have said to
Van Orley, in reply to any question about technique:--"Never you mind
about glazing and all that; give us a design, and we will execute it in
glass." And he did execute it in a masterly and quite wonderful way.
Still the success of it is less than it would have been had the designer
known all about glass: in that case his artistic instinct would have led
him surely to trust more to qualities inherent in glass, and less to
painting upon it. Van Orley's picture scheme depended too much upon
relief to be really well adapted to glass, but it was splendidly
monumental in design, and to that extent admirably decorative. Something
of decorative restraint we find almost to the end in sixteenth century
work; the picture had not yet emancipated itself entirely, and the
pictorial ideal did not therefore necessarily go beyond what glass could
do; in any case, it did not take quite a different direction.

It may be as well to define more precisely the ideal glass picture. The
ideal glass picture is, the picture which gives full scope for the
qualities of glass, and does not depend in any way upon effects which
cannot be obtained in glass, or which are to be attained only at the
sacrifice of qualities peculiar to it.

And what are those qualities? The qualities of glass are light and
colour, a quality of light and a quality of colour to be obtained no
other way than by the transmission of light through pot-metal glass.

Compare these qualities with those of oil painting, and see how far they
are compatible. Something depends upon the conception of oil painting.
The qualities of glass are compatible enough with the pictorial ideal of
the oil (or more likely tempera) painters whom we designate by the name
of "primitives"; and, indeed, fifteenth century Italian windows often
take the form of circular pictures which one of the masters might have
designed. A painting by Botticelli, Filippo Lippi, Mantegna, or
Crivelli, might almost be put into the hands of a glass painter to
translate. It is quite possible that some of the Florentine windows
were executed in Germany from paintings by Italian masters; the odd
thing is that they are attributed sometimes to sculptors. Ghiberti and
Donatello may, for all one knows, have been great colourists; but it is
so universal a foible to ascribe works of decorative art to famous
painters or sculptors who could never by any possibility have had a hand
in them, that one never has much faith in such reputed authorship.

The severity of the "primitive" painters' design, the firm outline, the
comparatively flat treatment, the brilliant, not yet degraded,
colour--all these were qualities which the glass painter could turn to
account. Without firm and definite outline, of course, a design does not
lend itself to mosaic. But it is especially the early painter's ideal of
colour which was so sympathetic to the glass painter. A designer for
glass must be a colourist; but the colour he seeks is _sui generis_. Not
every colourist would make a glass designer. Van Thulden may not have
been a colourist of his master's stamp, but Peter Paul Rubens himself
could not have made a complete success of those windows in the Chapel of
Our Lady in S. Gudule. Reynolds was a colourist, but he came
conspicuously to grief in glass. Velasquez was a colourist, but one
fails to see how by any possibility the quality of his work could be
expressed in glass.

On the other hand, colour in which the simple artist delighted, as in
light and sunshine, in the sparkle of the sea, in the purity of the sky,
in the brilliancy of flowers, in the flash of jewels, in the deep
verdure of moss, in the lusciousness of fruit or wine, colour as the
early Florentine painters saw it and sought it--this is what glass can
give, and gives better than oil, tempera, or fresco, on an opaque
surface. How far these early painters deliberately sacrificed to pure
bright colour qualities of light and shade, aerial perspective, and so
on, may be open to question. The certain thing is that, if we want the
quality of glass in all its purity and translucency, we have to
sacrifice to it something of the light and shade, the relief, the
atmospheric effect, the subtlety of realistic colour, which we are
accustomed nowadays to look for in a picture. Happy the men who could
contentedly pursue their work undisturbed by the thought that there were
effects to be obtained in art beyond what it was possible for them to
get.

Even the Italian painters soon travelled beyond the limits of what could
possibly be done in glass. Flesh-painting, as Titian understood it, or
Correggio, or Bonifacio, is hopelessly beyond its range. But it was the
Dutch who formed for themselves the idea most widely and hopelessly
beyond realisation in glass. The Crabeths, like good glass painters,
struggled more or less against it; but they could not keep out of the
current altogether; and in proportion as their work aims at anything
like chiaroscuro it loses its quality of glass. Rembrandt, to have
realised his ideal in glass, would have had to paint out of it every
quality which distinguishes it and gives it value. In proportion, as the
painter's aim was light and shade rather than colour, and especially as
it was shade rather than light (or perhaps it would be fairer to say, as
it was light intensified by obscuring light around it) it was
diametrically opposed to that of the glass painter. His pursuit of it
was a sort of artistic suicide. It led by quick and sure degrees to what
was to all intents and purposes the collapse of glass painting. Realism
of a kind was inevitable when once the painter gained the strength to
realise what he saw, but when the glass painter, seeking the strength of
actual light and shade, began to rely upon painted shadow for his
effects, the case was hopeless. Glass asks to be translucent.

The point of perfection in glass design is not easily to be fixed. Glass
painting, it must be confessed, as it approaches perfection of
technique, is always dangerously near the border line; the painter is so
often tempted to carry his handiwork a little further than is consistent
with the translucency of glass. It happens, therefore, that one expects
almost to find consummate drawing and painting marred by some
obscuration of the glass. If on the other hand we travel back to the
time when the evil does not exist, we find ourselves at a period when
neither drawing nor painting were at their best. It is by no means
surprising that this should be the outcome of the association of glazier
and painter. According as one cares more for glass or for painting one
will be disposed to shift, backwards or forwards, the date at which
glass painting began to decline. It may safely be said, however, that
pictorial glass painting was at its best during the first half of the
sixteenth century. That is the period during which you may expect to
find masterly drawing, consummate painting, and yet sufficient
recognition of the character of glass to satisfy all but the staunch
partisan of pure mosaic glass--who, by the way, stands upon very firm
ground.

In Flanders, as has been said, and in France, are to be found exquisite
pictures in glass, admirably decorative in design, glowing with
jewel-like brilliancy of colour, not seriously obscured by paint, the
figures modelled with a delicacy reminding one rather of sculpture in
very low relief than of more realistic painting and carving, the colour
delicate and yet not thin, the effect strong without brutality.

But it is in Italy that are to be seen probably the finest glass
pictures that have ever been painted; the work, nevertheless, of a
Frenchman--William of Marseilles--who established himself at Arezzo, and
painted, amongst other glass, five windows for the cathedral there,
which go about as far as glass can go in the direction of picture. The
man was a realist in his way--realist, that is, so far as suited his
artistic purpose. Not merely are his figures studied obviously from the
life, but they are conceived in the realistic spirit, as when, in the
scene of the Baptism, he draws a man getting into his clothes with the
difficulty we have all experienced after bathing, or when, in the
Raising of Lazarus (page 397), he makes more than one onlooker hold his
nose as the grave-clothes are unwrapped from the body. In design the
artist is quite up to the high level of his day (1525 or thereabouts);
but you see all through his work that it was colour, always colour, that
made his heart beat (we have here nothing to do with the religious
sentiment which may or may not be embodied in his work), colour that
prompted his design, as in the case of so many a great Italian master.

This man possibly did in glass much what _he_ would have done on canvas;
but he could never have got such pure, intense, and at the same time
luminous, effects of colour in anything but glass, and he knew it, never
lost sight of it, and tried to get the most out of what it could best
give him--that is to say, purity of colour, and translucency and
brilliancy of glass. Whatever amount of pigment he employed (probably
more than it seems, the light is so strong in Italy) it seldom appears
to do more than just give the needful modelling. Now and again, in the
architectural parts of his composition, the white is lowered by means of
a matt of paint, where a tint of deeper-coloured glass had better have
been employed; but even there the effect is neither dirty nor in the
least heavy. And in the main, for all his pictorial bias, the system of
the artist is distinctly mosaic; his colour is pot-metal always or
purest stain. The sky and the landscape, for example, in which the scene
of the Baptism is laid, are leaded up in tints of blue and green. In the
scene where Christ purges the Temple the pavement is of clear
aquamarine-tinted glass, against which the scales, moneybags, overturned
bench, and so on, stand out in quite full enough relief of red and
yellow, without any aid of heavy shading, or cast shadow, such as a
Netherlander would have used.

And, for all that, the difficulty even of foreshortening is boldly
faced. Not even in the most violently shaded Flemish glass would it be
easy to find a figure more successfully foreshortened than the kneeling
money-changer, scooping up his money into a bag. That a designer could
do this without strong shading, means that he was careful to choose the
pose or point of view which allowed itself to be expressed in lightly
painted glass. There is no riotous indulgence in perspective, but
distance is sufficiently indicated; and the personages in the
background, drawn to a smaller scale than the chief actors in the scene,
keep their place in the picture. Everywhere it is apparent that the
figures have been composed with a cunning eye to glazing.

These are not pictures which have been done into glass; they are no
translations, but the creations of a glass painter--one who knew all
about glass, and instinctively designed only what could be done in it,
and best done. This man makes full use of all the resources of his art.
His window is constructed as only a glazier could do it. He does not
shirk his leads. He uses abrasion freely, not so much to save glazing,
as to get effects not otherwise possible. Thus the deep red skirt or
petticoat of the woman taken in adultery is dotted with white in a way
that bespeaks at a glance the woman of the people, whilst more sumptuous
draperies of red and green are, as it were, embroidered with gold, or
sewn with pearls. These are the effects he aims at, not the mere texture
of silk or velvet. He delights in delicate stain on white, and revels in
most gorgeous stain upon stain. In short, these are pictures indeed, but
the pictures of a glass painter.

Work like this disarms criticism. One may have a strong personal bias
towards strictly mosaic glass, and yet acknowledge that success
justifies departure from what one thought the likelier way. Things of
beauty decline to be put away always in the nice little pigeon-holes we
have carefully provided for them. Shall we be such pedants as to reject
them because they do not fit in with our preconceived ideas of fitness?

Alas!--or happily?--alas for what might have been, happily for our
wavering allegiance to sterner principles of design, it is seldom that
the glass painter so perfectly tunes his work to the key of glass. In
particular, he finds it difficult to harmonise his painting with the
glazing which goes with it. He is incapable in the early sixteenth
century of the brutalities of his successors, who carry harsh lines of
lead across flesh painting recklessly; but the very association of
ultra-delicate painting with lead lines at all demands infinite tact. An
idea of the point to which painting is eventually carried may be
gathered from the representation of little nude boys blowing bubbles in
which are reflected the windows of the room where they are supposed to
be playing. That is an extreme instance, and a late one. Short, however,
of such frivolity, and in work of the good period, painting is often so
delicate that bars and leads unquestionably hurt it. It is so even in
the very fine Jesse window at Beauvais (page 368).

Occur where it may it is a false note which stops our admiration short;
and, after all our enthusiasm, we come back heart-whole to our delight
in the earlier, bolder, more monumental, and more workmanlike mosaic
glass. The beautiful sixteenth century work at Montmorency or at Conches
does not shake the conviction of the glass-lover, that the painter is
there a little too much in evidence, that something of simple, dignified
decoration is sacrificed to the display of his skill. The balance
between glass decoration and picture is perhaps never more nearly
adjusted than in some of the rather earlier Italian windows.



CHAPTER XX.

LANDSCAPE IN GLASS.


At once a distinguishing feature of picture-glass, and a characteristic
of later work generally, is the _mise-en-scène_ of the subject.

[Illustration: 173. FROM THE ENTRY INTO JERUSALEM, FAIRFORD.]

In quite the earliest glass the figures, it was shown, were cut out
against a ground of plain colour (pages 33, 127), or diapered perhaps
with a painted pattern, or leaded up in squares, or broken by spots of
pot-metal (page 37), which, by the way, being usually of too strongly
contrasting colour, assert themselves instead of qualifying its tone.
Sometimes the ground was leaded up in the form of a more or less
elaborate geometric diaper (page 336). Occasionally it was broken by the
simplest possible conventional foliage. The figure stood on a cloud, an
inscribed label, a disc or band of earth. In the fourteenth century
spots breaking the ground took very often the form of badges,
_fleurs-de-lys_, heraldic animals, cyphers, and so on (page 156), and
even in the fifteenth it was quite common to find figures against a flat
ground, broken only by inscription, either on white or yellow labels
(pages 186, 339), or leaded in bold letters of white or yellow into the
background itself (page 196). But simultaneously with this the figure
was frequently represented against a screen of damask (page 191), above
which showed the further background, usually more or less architectural
in character. In the Fairford windows (page 187) is shown this
treatment together with the label which helps to break the formality of
the horizontal line. Sometimes the line is curved, as though the figure
stood in a semicircular niche, or broken, as though the recess were
three-sided. Sometimes the figure stood upon a pedestal (page 391), but
more usually, as time went on, upon a pavement. Certain subjects were
bound to include accessory architecture, but at first it was as simple
as the scenery in the immortal play of _Pyramus and Thisbe_. But even in
the fifteenth century it was rendered, one may judge how naïvely, from
the little Nativity on page 54, a subject hardly to be rendered without
the stable. Again, the quite conventional vinework, also from Malvern,
shown in the upper part of page 345 (a jumble of odds and ends), forms
really part of the scene depicting Noah in his vineyard--see the hand
holding the spade handle. The Fairford scenery (pages 251, 372), quaint
as it is, goes much nearer to realism than that; and towards the
sixteenth century, and during its first years, there was a good deal of
landscape in which trees were leaded in vivid green against blue, with
gleaming white stems suggestive of birch-bark, always effective, and
refreshingly cool in colour. There is something of that kind in the
window facing the entrance to King's College, Cambridge; but the more
usual English practice in the fifteenth century was to execute the
landscape in white and stain against a coloured ground. That is the
system adopted in the scene of the Creation at Malvern (page 252), where
trees, water, birds, fishes, are all very delicately painted and
stained. In the left-hand corner it will be seen that solid or nearly
solid brown is used for foliage in order to throw up the white and
yellow leafage in front of it. There is some considerably later work
very much in this manner at S. Nizier, Troyes. But that kind of thing
was not usual in French glass.

[Illustration: 174. FROM THE CREATION, MALVERN ABBEY.]

The sky had of course from the first been indicated by a blue
background; but, the blue ground being used, in alternation with ruby,
for all backgrounds, except a few in white, it was not distinctive
enough to suggest the heavens, without some indication of clouds, which
accordingly were leaded up upon it, sometimes in mere streaks of colour,
sometimes in fantastically ornamental shapes. It was a later thought,
which came with the use of paler glass, to paint the blue with clouds,
indicating them, that is to say, more or less in the form of diaper. As
with the sky so with the sea. It was at first glazed in wave pattern;
eventually the wave lines were painted on the blue.

The blue background, which had gradually become paler and paler, became
soon in the sixteenth century pale enough to stand approximately for a
grey-blue sky, on which was painted, with marvellous delicacy, distant
landscape, architecture, or what not, always in the brown tint used
generally for shading, although a tint of green was given to grass and
trees by the use of yellow stain. This distant view painted upon blue
was a beautiful and most characteristic feature of sixteenth century
glass. The French painters adopted it, and made it peculiarly their own,
though it occurs also in German and Flemish glass. Backgrounds of this
kind, which in themselves suffice to mark the departure from Gothic use,
are shown on pages 207, 213, and on a larger scale opposite. The wintry
landscape there with the bare tree trunks against the cold grey sky,
forms the upper portion of the subject shown on page 207, in which Our
Lord gives His charge to Peter; the paler grey behind the heads of the
group stands for the sea. The wintry effect of the scene is not
suggestive of the Holy Land, but it brings the subject innocently home
to us. The leads, it will be seen, take the lines of the larger limbs of
the trees, whilst the lesser branches and small twigs are painted on the
glass. There is ingenuity in the glazing as well as delicacy in the
painting. This is a very different thing from the landscape painted in
enamel colours. The propriety, the beauty, the decorative quality of
such work as this, comes of the acceptance of the necessary convention
of treating the painted background, of rendering it, that is, always
more or less in monochrome, and not attempting anything like realism in
colour.

The painted landscapes illustrated are of the simplest. The French
painters went much further than that, associating with their painting
broad masses of pot-metal colour, but still keeping distinctly within
the convention of deliberately simple colour. By the use of
silvery-white and shades of pot-metal blue and purple and green, they
produced the most pleasing and harmonious effects. There was no great
variety in the tune they played, but the variations upon it were
infinite. Let us picture here a few of them.

1. _Ecouen._--A distant city, in white, and beyond that more distant
architecture, painted on the pale blue of the sky.

2. _Conches._--Against a pale blue sky, broken by cumulous white clouds,
a grey-blue tower.

3. _Conches._--A grey-blue sea and deeper sky beyond: from the waves
rises a castle, in white, breaking the sky-line, the pointed roofs of
its turrets painted in black upon the background.

[Illustration: 175. BACKGROUND TO THE CHARGE OF S. PETER, S. VINCENT,
ROUEN. (COMP. 156.)]

4. _Freiburg, 1528._--A smoke-grey sea, fading away towards the horizon
into pale silver, the sky beyond dark blue, its outline broken by a
range of deeper blue mountains.

5. _Conches._--Beyond the foreground landscape in rich green, a pale
blue sea, with slightly deeper grey-blue sky beyond, a tower in darker
blue against it; a strip of deep blue shore divides the sky and sea, and
gives support to the dark tower; against that a smaller tower catches
the light, and stands out in glittering white.

6. _Montmorency._--A canopied figure subject in gorgeous colour; the
foreground a landscape with rich green herbage, separated by a belt of
white cliffs from buildings of pale grey, amidst trees stained greenish,
backed by purple hills; further a pale blue sky; against the sky,
overshadowed beneath the canopy arch by a mass of purple cloud, the
stained and painted foliage of a tree, growing from this side the hill.

7. _Montmorency._--S. Christopher crossing the stream; blue water
painted with waves and water plants, the foliage stained.

8. _S. Nizier, Troyes._--A vineyard, very prettily managed; the vines
painted on the blue, their leaves stained to green, the grapes
grey-blue, whilst grey stakes are leaded in pot-metal.

Sometimes, as at Ecouen, far-off architecture would be painted not upon
blue but upon a pale purple hill. At Laigle figures and animals are
painted upon green, but they do not hold their own. On the other hand,
at Alençon, some distant figures appearing in very pale grey against a
delicate greenish landscape (stained upon the grey), are charming in
effect.

White backgrounds painted as delicately as the blue are not rare. At
Groslay, for example, steely-white architecture is separated from white
sky beyond by grey-blue hills, a church with blue steeple breaking the
sky. But white does not lend itself so readily to combination with
colour as blue; and, as a rule, such backgrounds are grisaille in
character, relieved, of course, with stain.

The great sea-scape at Gouda (page 223), representing the taking of
Dalmatia in Egypt (a very Dutch Dalmatia), is nearly all in grisaille,
against quarries of clear white, with only a little stain in the flags
and costumes, and one single touch of poor ruby (about two inches
square), which looks as if it might be modern. The port in perspective,
the ships, the whole scene, in fact, is realistically rendered, and
comes as near to success as is possible in glass.

Delightful peeps of landscape are sometimes seen through the columns and
arches of an architectural background. Whether the architecture be in
purple of divers shades, or in white with only shadows in purple, or
whether the nearer architecture be in white and the more distant in
purple, in any case a distance beyond is commonly painted upon the
grey-blue sky seen through it. Possibly, as at Conches, further vistas
of architecture may be stained greenish upon it--any colour almost, for
a change. But whatever it may be, and wherever it may be, in the best
work it is colour; and it is always more effective than where the shadow
is represented by paint, even though the brown be not laid on with a
heavy hand, infinitely more effective than when blue or other coloured
enamels are relied upon, as in some instances at Montmorency. Enamel
may, for all one can tell, have been used in some of the landscapes here
commended--it is impossible to say without minute examination of the
glass, which is rarely feasible--but it never asserts its presence; and
in any case it has not been used in sufficient quantity to damage the
effect.

It will be gathered from the descriptions of early sixteenth century
glazed and painted distances, that they were as carefully schemed with a
view to glazing (though in a very different way) as a Gothic picture.
Sometimes, as at Conches, they are rather elaborately leaded; and where
that is the case there is not so much danger of incongruity between the
delicacy of the painting and the strength of the leads--which assert
themselves less than where they occur singly. It stands to reason also
that the more mosaic the glass the less fragile it is. Painting alone
upon the blue is best employed for small peeps of distance. It adapts
itself to smaller windows; and it must be done (as for a while it was
done) so well, that it seems as if the designer must himself have
painted it. Were the artist always the glass painter, and the glass
painter always an artist, who knows what case pictorial glass might not
make out for itself?

It is a coarser kind of distance than the French that we find at King's
College, Cambridge. There the landscape backgrounds are in white and
stain, grey-blue being reserved for the sky beyond, broken more or less
by white clouds, or, occasionally, by the white trunks of trees, the
foliage of which is sometimes glazed in green glass, sometimes painted
upon the blue and stained. Here and there a distant tree is painted
entirely upon the blue. This treatment is not ill adapted to subjects on
the large scale of the work at King's College, but one does not feel
that the painters made anything like the most of their opportunity. The
inexperience of the designers is shown in their fear of using leads, a
most unnecessary fear, seeing that, at the distance the work is from the
eye, the bars themselves have only about the value of ordinary lead
lines.

[Illustration: 176. THE RELIEF OF LEYDEN, GOUDA.]

Stronger and more workmanlike, but not quite satisfactory, is the much
later landscape (1557) of Dirk Crabeth at Gouda. There the sky is blue,
leaded in quarries, on which are trees, painted and stained, and some
rather florid clouds. In the later work generally the lead lines are no
longer either frankly acknowledged or skilfully disguised. The outline
of a green hill against the sky will be feebly softened with trivial
little twigs and scraps of painted leafage. The decline of landscape is
amply illustrated at Troyes. At Antwerp again there is a window bearing
date 1626, in which the landscape background of a quite incomprehensible
subject extends to a distant horizon, above which the sky is glazed in
white quarries, with clouds painted upon it. This is an attempt to
repeat the famous feat of glass painting which had been done some twenty
years before at Gouda. The Relief of Leyden, of which a diagram is here
given, is in its way a most remarkable glass picture. In the foreground
is a crowd of soldiers and citizens, upon the quay, about lifesize. They
form a band of rich colour at the base of the composition; but the
design is confused by the introduction of shields of arms and their
supporters immediately in front of the scene. Beyond are the walls and
towers of the city of Delft, and the adjacent towns and villages, and
the river dwindling into the far distance where Leyden lies--in the
glass a really marvellous bird's-eye view over characteristically flat
country. The horizon extends almost to the springing line of the window
arch, and above that rises a sky of plain blue quarries, broken only
towards the top by a few bolster-like and rather dirty white clouds.
Absolute realism is of course not reached, but it is approached near
enough to startle us into admiration. It is astonishing what has here
been done. But the painter has not done what he meant to do. That was
not possible, even with the aid of enamel.



CHAPTER XXI.

ITALIAN GLASS.


In the course of the preceding chapters the reader has been rather
unceremoniously carried from country to country, in a way which may have
seemed to him erratic. But there was a reason in the zig-zag course
taken. The progress of the glass painter's art was not by any means a
straight line. Nor did it develop itself on parallel lines in the
various countries in which it throve. It advanced in one place whilst it
was almost at a standstill in another.

That is easily understood. It was inevitable that glass painting, though
it arose in France, should languish there during the troublous times
when English troops overran it under Edward III. and throughout the
Hundred Years' War, that it should revive in all its glory under Francis
the First, and that during the disturbances of the Fronde it should
again decline. The extremity of France was England's opportunity; and
our greatest wealth of stained glass windows dates from the reign of the
later Plantagenets. The Wars of the Roses do not appear greatly to have
affected art; but after the Reformation we were more busy smashing glass
than painting it.

In Germany the course of art ran smoother. Glass throve under the Holy
Roman Empire, and it was not until the Reformation that it suffered any
very severe check. Mediæval Swiss glass may be classed with German.

In the Netherlands glass painting blossomed out suddenly under the
Imperial favour of Charles V. It continued to bear fruit under the Dutch
Republic, until it ran to seed at the end of the seventeenth century.

So it happens that, in following the development of glass painting, it
has been necessary to seek the best and most characteristic
illustrations first in one country and then in another, to travel from
France to England, from England to Germany and back to France, thence to
Flanders, to France again, and finally once more to the Netherlands, to
say nothing of shorter excursions from one place to another, as occasion
might demand. In each separate locality there was naturally some sort of
progress, but we cannot take any one country as all-sufficient type of
the rest; and to have traversed each in turn would have been tedious.
There were everywhere differences of practice and design; in each
country, for that matter, there were local schools with marked
characteristics of their own. Some of the characteristic national
differences have been pointed out in passing. To describe them at length
would be to write a comparative history of glass, of which there is here
no thought. What concerns us is the broadly marked progress of glass
painting, not the minor local differences in style.

Something more, however, remains to be said of Italian glass than was
possible in any general survey. The mere facts, that the Renaissance
arose in Italy so long before it reached this side the Alps, and that
glass painting was never really quite at home in Italy (any more than
the Gothic architecture which mothered it), sufficiently account for the
difficulty, nay, the impossibility, of classing it according to the
Gothic periods. Indeed, one is reminded in Italian glass less often of
other windows of the period, English, French, or German, than of
contemporary Italian painting.

The comparative fitness of the works of the "Primitive" painters for
models of glass design has already been pointed out. It is so evident
that the Italian sense of colour could find more adequate expression
than ever in glass, that one is inclined to wonder, until it is
remembered that Italian churches were at the same time picture
galleries, that it did not more commonly find vent in that medium. Even
as it is, Italian painters did found a school of glass painting,
comparatively uninfluenced by the traditional Gothic types of design,
whilst observing the best traditions of glazier-like technique. Hence it
is that we find in Italy windows such as are nowhere else to be seen,
windows which at their best are of the very best.

There are resemblances in Italian glass to German work; and some of it
is said to have been executed by Germans. It is none the less Italian.
Though it were executed in Germany, glazier and painter must have worked
under the direct influence of the Italian master, and in complete
accord with him, putting at his service all their experience in their
craft, and all their skill. So well did they work together, that it
seems more likely that the executant not only worked under the eye of
the master, but was at his elbow whilst he designed. That alone would
account satisfactorily for the absolutely harmonious co-operation of
designer and glass-worker. One thing is clear, that the artist, whatever
his experience in glass, great or little, had absolute sympathy with his
new material, felt what it could do, saw the opportunities it offered
him, and seized them.

An Englishman, or a Frenchman, who found himself for the first time in
Italy, would be puzzled to give a date to the windows at Pisa or Milan,
or in either of the churches of S. Francis at Assisi. Even an expert in
the glass of other countries has to speak guardedly as to Italian work,
or he may have to retract his words. Italian Gothic is so Italian and so
little Gothic, it is of no use attempting to compare it with Northern
work. To those, moreover, who have been in the habit of associating the
Renaissance with the sixteenth century, the forms of Quattro-Cento
ornament will persist at first in suggesting the later date--just as the
first time one goes to Germany the survival of the old form of lettering
in inscriptions throws a suspicion of lingering Gothic influence over
even full-blown Renaissance design. It takes some time to get over the
perplexity arising from the unaccustomed association of an absolutely
mosaic treatment of glass (which with us would mean emphatically Gothic
work) with distinctly Renaissance detail, such as one finds at the
churches already mentioned, at the Certosa of Pavia, or at Florence.

At Assisi the glass means, for the most part, to be Gothic. One is
reminded there sometimes of German work, both by the colour of the glass
and by the design of some of the medallion and other windows. The
ornament generally inclines to the naturalistic rather than to the
Quattro-Cento arabesque, or to the geometric kind shown on page 96; and
though it includes a fair amount of interlacing handwork of distinctly
Italian type, and is sometimes as deep in colour as quite Early glass,
it is approximately Decorated in character. That is so equally with the
brilliant remains in the tracery lights of Or San Michele at Florence.
But it is characteristic of Italian glass of the fourteenth and
fifteenth centuries that, both by the depth of its colour and the very
quality of the material, it should continually recall the thirteenth
century. Sometimes, as at Milan, for example, you find even sixteenth
century glass in which there is practically no white at all except what
is used for the flesh tint.

In the cathedral at Pisa are some windows with little subjects, framed
in ornament, all in richest and most brilliant colour, which are at
first sight extremely perplexing. The leading is elaborately minute, and
there is no modelling in the figures, which yet have nothing of archaic
or very early character. It turns out that the paint upon the glass has
perished, and there is hardly a vestige of it left to show that this was
not intended for mere mosaic. The effect, nevertheless, is such as to
prove how much can be done in pot-metal glass, and how little it depends
upon the painting on it.

[Illustration: 177. ASSISI.]

Elsewhere, as at Arezzo (in work earlier than that of William of
Marseilles), the paint has often peeled off to a very considerable
extent, revealing sometimes patches of quite crude green and purple,
which go to show that the Italians habitually used glass of a raw
colour, where it suited their convenience, and just toned it down with
brown enamel. The result proves that it was a dangerous practice; but,
where the paint has held, the effect is not dull or dirty, as with us it
would be. The Italian sun accounts probably both for the use of this
scum of paint and for its not injuring the effect of colour.

The same quality of deep rich pot-metal colour associated with
Renaissance design, is the first thing that strikes one in the windows
at Bologna, in the cathedral at Milan, and in Florence everywhere. At
Milan in particular there are compositions, in which blue and red
predominate, magnificently rich and deep, in spite of recent cleaning.
The cunning way in which green is occasionally used to prevent any
flowing together of red and blue into purple, is a lesson in colour. Two
schemes of design prevail in the nave windows (the old glass in the
choir is so mixed up with new that it does not count), both equally
simple. In the one the rectangular divisions formed by the mullions and
the stouter bars are accepted, without further framing, as separate
picture spaces; in the other the main form of the window is taken as
frame to a single picture, the mullions being only so far taken into
account that the prominent figures are designed within them. Some of
these windows are late enough in the century to show a falling off in
treatment. In the Apostle window (attributed to Michel Angelo?) the
white glass is all reduced to a granular tint of umber; and in the one
illustrating the Life of the Virgin there is a most aggressively
foreshortened figure, which may have been effective in the cartoon, but
is absurd in the glass. It is not, therefore, at Milan that typically
Italian glass is best to be studied, though there is enough of it to
startle the student of glass whose experience had not hitherto extended
so far as Italy. Neither is Italian glass at its best at Bologna, though
the city was noted for glass painting, which was practised there by no
less a person than the Blessed James of Ulm. But, truth to tell, the
best windows at Bologna (they are most of them fairly good) are not
those of the Saint but of Pellegrino Tibaldi and Lorenzo Costa. It is at
Florence that the distinctive quality of Italian glass is best
appreciated. There is a vast quantity of it, varying in date from the
early part of the fifteenth to the latter part of the sixteenth century,
but it is uniformly Italian, and, with few exceptions, it is extremely
good.

Figures under canopies are of common occurrence in Florentine windows;
but the canopies differ in several respects, both from the ordinary
Gothic canopy and from the shrine-like structure of the later
Renaissance. In the first place, the canopy returns in Italy to its
primitive dimensions. It may or may not be architecturally interesting,
but there is in no case very much of it. The Italians never went
canopy-mad; and they kept the framework of their pictures within
moderate dimensions. The Italian canopy of the fifteenth and sixteenth
centuries, then, was just a niche, sometimes of Renaissance design,
sometimes affecting a more Gothic form with pointed or cusped arch and
so on, under which, or in front of which, the figures stood. It bore
definite relation to the figures, and it was neither impossible of
construction nor absurd in perspective. Occasionally, in later work, as
at the Certosa at Pavia, it was delicate in colour, but, as a rule, it
was strong and rich. It was not merely that the shadowed portions were
glazed in pot-metal, as when, at Santa Croce, the coffered soffits of
the arches are one mosaic of jewellery, but that the canopy throughout
was in colour.

[Illustration: 178. S. MARIA NOVELLA, FLORENCE.]

That is the most striking characteristic of Italian canopy work, and
indeed of other ornamental setting--that it is as rich as the picture, a
part of it, not a frame to it. Constructionally, of course, it is a
frame; but the colour does away with the effect of framework. It serves
rather to connect the patches of contrasting colour in the figures, than
to separate one picture from another. Occasionally this results in too
much all-overishness, more commonly it results in breadth, making you
feel that the window is one. It was explained what use was made of white
canopy work in Gothic glass, judiciously to break up the surface of the
window. In Italy the surface is judiciously left unbroken, and in that
case also the result is most admirable.

With the exception of an occasional brassy yellow canopy, recalling
German colour, the same system of connecting canopy and subject together
by colour is adopted alike at S. Croce, at S. Maria Novella, and at the
Duomo at Florence. The composition of the windows is simple: within a
border of foliage or other ornament, two or three tiers of figures,
under modest canopies, separated perhaps by little medallions containing
busts or demi-figures. That occurs at S. Domenico, Perugia, as well as
at Florence.

[Illustration: 179. FLORENCE.]

A modification of the canopy occurs in the nave windows of the Duomo.
The space within a narrow border which frames the broad lancet, is
divided into two by a strong upright bar, and the divisions thus formed
are treated as separate trefoil-arched lancets, each with another border
of its own, the space above being treated much as though it were
tracery. (Something like this occurs, it will be remembered, already in
the thirteenth century, at Bourges.) In the tall spaces within the
borders are the usual tiers of figures under canopies. Again, in the
chapel of the Certosa in Val d'Ema, near Florence, there is a window
with double-niched canopies and pronounced central shaft dividing the
broad lancet into two narrow ones.

[Illustration: 180. S. GIOVANNI IN MONTE, BOLOGNA.]

The Italian canopy is not of so stereotyped a character as in Decorated
or Perpendicular design; and generally it may be said that there is,
both in the design and colour of Italian glass, more variety than one
finds out of Italy. The plan is less obvious, the scheme less cut and
dried; you know much less what to expect than in Northern Gothic, and
enjoy more often the pleasure of surprise.

Elaborately pictorial schemes of design are less common in Italian glass
than might have been expected. There is a famous window in the church of
SS. Giovanni e Paolo, at Venice (1473), in which the four lights below
the bands of tracery which here takes the place of transom are given
over to subject. There green trees and pale blue water against a deep
blue sky and deeper blue hills, anticipate a favourite sixteenth century
colour scheme; but the glass is a mere wreck of what was once probably a
fine window.

Figure groups on a considerable scale are chiefly to be found in the
great "bull's-eye" windows, which are a striking feature in Italian
Gothic churches, occupying a position where in France would have been a
rose--over the West door, for example.

[Illustration: 181. AREZZO.]

These great circular windows, which occur at Arezzo, at Bologna, at
Siena, and especially at Florence, are usually surrounded by an
arabesque border. Occasionally the border consists of a medley of
cherubic wings and faces; occasionally, as at Siena, it is in white,
more in the form of mouldings; in one case, at least, it disappears, as
it were, behind the figure group in the lower part of the window; but,
as a rule, it consists of Renaissance pattern, such as are shown here
and on page 70, large in scale, simple in design, and as mosaic in
execution as though it had been twelfth century work. The centre of
these circular lights may have, as at the Duomo at Florence, a single
upright figure, enthroned, occupying a sort of tall central panel,
supported by angels in the spandrils at the sides; or it may have a
subject running across it, as in the case of Perino del Vaga's "Last
Supper" (1549) at the West end of the cathedral at Siena. But very often
it enclosed one big figure subject, such as the "Descent from the Cross"
at Santa Croce, attributed to Ghiberti. An earlier manner of occupying a
bull's-eye is shown in the East window at Siena, dating probably from
about the beginning of the fourteenth century. This is subdivided by
four huge cross bars (two horizontal and two vertical) into nine
compartments, or a cross consisting of one central square, four squarish
arms, and four triangular spandrils. Each of these divisions is taken as
though it were a separate light, and has its own border, enclosing a
separate subject. The bars, it is true, are of great size, wide enough
almost to have been of stone; but the scheme rather suggests that the
designer was not quite aware, when he designed it, how much less
significant they would appear in the glass than they did in his drawing.

Unquestionably the finest windows in Florence are the great lancets in
the apse and south apsidal transept of the Duomo, finer than the three
lights at the East end of S. Maria Novella, which are so much more often
spoken of, possibly because they are seen to so much more advantage in
the dark-walled Lady Chapel. It is difficult to trace in these Duomo
windows the hand of Ghiberti or Donatello (1434), their reputed
designers. They are planned on the simplest lines. In the upper series,
the space within a narrowish border is divided, by a band of ornament or
inscription, into two fairly equal parts, in each of which stand two
figures facing one another (opposite) under the simplest form of canopy,
if canopy it can be called. It is a mere frame, at the back of which is
a two-arched arcade, with shafts disappearing behind the figures. They
stand, that is to say, not under but in front of it.

In the lower series the arrangement is the same, except that the upper
compartment contains a single figure, larger in scale, and seated, under
a canopy of rather more architectural pretensions. Some of the canopies
have cusped arches, and some of the borders are foliated in a more or
less Gothic way; but obviously the Gothicism throughout is only in
deference to prevailing fashion. In feeling and effect the work is
Renaissance.

The design here given shows about one half of a window; but it gives,
unfortunately, no hint of the colour. The depth of it may be imagined
when it is told that the only approach to white in it is in the beaded
line round the nimbus of the figure to the right, and that is of the
horniest character. The flesh is of a rich brownish tint.

The head on page 270 goes nearer to suggesting colour. There again the
face is brown, the hair and beard dark and bluish; against it the band
round the head, which is ruby, tells light. The orange-yellow nimbus,
rayed, is rather lighter still, the beaded fillet edging it bone-white.
The drapery is of brightest yellow diapered with occasional blue
trefoils, each of which has in its centre a touch of red. The background
is of very dark blue, the architecture nearest it bright green, beyond
that it is dark red.

[Illustration: 182. FIGURES, DUOMO, FLORENCE.]

This short explanation will serve to indicate the key in which the
colour is pitched. The glass itself, it has been said, is as rich as
French work of the twelfth century, as deep as German of the fourteenth,
but more vivid than either; there are no low-toned greens or inky blues.
The blue is sapphire, the green has the quality of an emerald. In
this palette of pure colour the artist revelled. Nowhere as in the Duomo
at Florence is one so impressed with the feeling that the designer was
dealing deliberately always with colour. Plainly that, and no other, was
his impulse, colour--broad, large, beautiful, impressive, solemn colour
masses. Elsewhere the story-teller speaks, or the draughtsman, here the
colourist confesses himself. The grand scale of his figures allows him
to treat his colour largely, and its breadth is no less notable than its
brilliancy. There is infinite variety in it; but the general impression
is of great masses of red, blue, yellow, green, purple, brown, and so
on, held together by the same colours distributed in smaller threads and
spots, as in diapers on drapery. The broad mass of any one colour is
itself made up of many various tints of glass. The accidental fusion of
colour, as of red and blue into purple, is guarded against by framing,
say, the blue with green, or the ruby with brownish-yellow. At other
times neutral tones are deliberately produced by the combination of, for
example, red and green lines.

[Illustration: 183. FLORENCE.]

The event proves that in this way, and by the choice of deep rather than
low tones, not only mellowness but sobriety of colour is to be obtained.
The artist would certainly have chosen rather to be crude than dull; but
it is very rarely that a false note occurs, and then most likely it is
due to the decay of the brown paint upon which he relied to bring it
into tone.

At Arezzo one was disposed to think nothing could be finer than the
glass of William of Marseilles; at Florence one is quite certain that
nothing could be more beautiful than the glass in the Duomo. Each is,
after its kind, perfect. But at Florence, at all events (_les absents
ont toujours tort_), one finds that this is not only the more decorative
kind, but the more dignified. One is disposed to ask, whether it is not
better that in glass there should be no deceptive pictures, no
perspective to speak of, only simple and severely disposed figures,
which never in any way disturb the architectural effect, which give to
the least attractive interior--the Duomo is as bare as a barn and as
drab as a meeting-house--something of architectural dignity.

[Illustration: 184. PRATO.]



CHAPTER XXII.

TRACERY LIGHTS AND ROSE WINDOWS.


Glass in tracery lights and Rose windows cannot consistently be planned
on the lines suitable to lancets or other upright shapes; and it is
interesting to observe the modifications of design necessitated by its
adaptation to circumstances so different. This applies not only to
Gothic glass but to Renaissance, the best of which, as it happens, is in
Gothic windows. Happily it never occurred to sixteenth century artists
to hamper themselves by any affectation of archaism, and their work is
deliberately in the new manner. One can understand, too, a certain
"up-to-date" contempt on their part for the "old-fashioned" stonework;
but it is rather surprising that so few of them seem to have realised
how greatly their own work would have gained by a little more
consideration of (if not for) the stonework.

Where, as at Gouda, by way of exception, Gothic windows were built to
receive later glass, tracery is to all intents and purposes abandoned:
the builders would have done away with mullions had they known how
otherwise to support such huge glass pictures. It has been explained
already, in reference to the influence of the window-shape, and
especially of the mullions, upon glass design, how much more formidable
these divisions appear upon paper than in the window. That is very
plainly seen in many a window where the designer has relied upon them to
frame his subjects. The pictures have a way of running together in the
most perplexing way, and one has to pick them out for oneself again. The
practical conclusion from that is, that the designer is under no
obligation to confine himself too strictly within the separate lights of
a large window. What he is bound to do is to take care that the mullions
never hurt his picture; if they do, it is his picture which is to blame.
He may urge with reason that the upright shafts of stone are there
merely for the support of the window, and that it is not his business
to emphasise them, enough if he acknowledge them. In tracery, however,
it is his bounden duty to take much more heed of the stonework. It was
designed, in intricate and often very beautiful lines, with deliberately
ornamental intent; it was meant to be seen, and it is his function to
show it off. The question he has to put to himself is now no longer:
does the stonework hurt my design? but: does my design hurt the
stonework? And he should not be satisfied unless it helps it. The artist
who, at Bourges, having _fleur-de-lys_-shaped tracery to deal with,
carried across it a design quite contrary to the lines of the stonework,
was guilty of a blank absurdity.

The Early Rose windows, which were habitually filled with rich coloured
glass, consisted either of simple piercings, as at Lincoln, or they were
made up of piercings very definitely divided by massive stonework. In
proportion as mullions become narrow, and form in themselves a design,
it seems doubtful how far deep-coloured glass can do them justice. Only
strong tracery lines will stand strong colour. At Châlons-sur-Marne, for
example, the foils of certain cusped lights surrounding a central
circular picture are successfully ornamented with arabesque of deep
yellow upon paler yellow ground; and again at Or San Michele, Florence,
certain gorgeous wheels of ruby and yellow, or of blue, green, and
yellow, and so on, are unusually satisfactory. In such cases not only
breadth of effect but definition of the tracery forms is gained by
keeping them (more especially in their outer circumference) much of one
tone, whilst contrast of colour between one light and another helps
still further to assist definition. But this applies only to stonework
strong enough to take care of itself. There is a sort of perverse
brutality in putting into delicate and graceful tracery deep rich glass
which hides its lines. Such lines want sharply defining against the
light.

Early windows had, of course, no tracery properly so called. The great
Rose windows, and the smaller Roses surmounting a pair of lancets, were
rather piercings than tracery; and it was not difficult to adapt the
design of a medallion window to suit them. A small piercing was ready
designed for a medallion subject; nothing was wanted but a border round
it, narrower, of course, than would have been used for a broad lancet
light, but of the same foliated character. The individual quatrefoils
or other principal openings, which went to make up a great Rose window,
were filled in the same way. If the opening were wedge-shaped, as it
often was, the obvious thing to do was to introduce into it a medallion
(probably circular) of the full width of the opening, at about its
widest, and to fill up the space about it with foliated ornament or
geometric mosaic, with which also the smaller and less important
piercings would naturally be filled. Sometimes the recurring figure
medallions were set alternately in foliated ornament and geometric
diaper; or the lights might be grouped in pairs, two with foliage and
two with diaper. Similar alternation of the two common kinds of Early
filling, naturally occurred in minor openings which contained no
medallion. Something of this kind occurs at Reims.

When the shape of the great Rose permitted it--if, that is to say, the
circular outline was strongly pronounced--it was possibly further
acknowledged by a fairly broad border, following it and disappearing, as
it were, behind the stonework; otherwise, except in the case of smaller
medallion-shaped openings, it was not usual to mark them by even so much
as a border line. Small Roses had sometimes, as at Auxerre, a central
figure medallion round which were secondary foliage medallions set in
diaper. A certain waywardness of design, already remarked in medallion
windows, was sometimes shown by filling the central medallion with
ornament and grouping the pictures round it.

As the lights of a Rose window radiated from the centre, features which
recurred throughout the series arranged themselves inevitably in rings;
and according to the disposition of the emphatic features of the design,
the rays or the rings pronounced themselves. This is partly the affair
of the architect who sets out the stonework, but it lies with the
glazier whether he choose to subdue or to emphasise either feature. It
is hard to say why one or other of these schemes of glass design, in
rays or in rings, should be preferred; but, as a matter of experience,
the sun and star patterns are not among the most happy. Perhaps the
stone spokes of a wheel window assert themselves quite enough any way,
and the eye wants leading, not vaguely away from the centre, but
definitely round the window.

The circular belts of pattern formed by medallions or other features
answer to, and fulfil the part of, the horizontal bands in upright
windows (page 153), and bind the lights together. The band has it all
its own way in a mere "bull's-eye," such as you find in Italy, where
there are no radiating lines of masonry. It is strongly pronounced in
some circular medallion windows at Assisi, in which an extraordinarily
wide border (a quarter of their diameter in width) is divided into eight
equal panels, each enclosed in its own series of border lines, within
which is a medallion set in foliated ornament. This is fourteenth
century work; but, as in thirteenth century Roses, the bars follow and
accentuate the main divisions of the window.

Even when it came to the glazing of a Rose window in a later Gothic
style, it is not uncommon to find a series or two of medallions running
round the window, as occurs at Angers. They hold the design together;
but in the nature of the case they are on too small a scale for the
pictures to count for more than broken colour. Indeed you may see here
the relative value in such a position of small figure subjects and bold
ornament. The scrollwork is as effective as the medallions are
insignificant. In fact, compared to them, the illegible medallion
subjects in the lancet lights below are readable by him who runs. It has
to be confessed that quite some of the most beautiful and impressive
Rose windows are perfectly unintelligible, even with a good field-glass.
This is so with the West Rose at Reims. In the centre it is ablaze with
red and orange, towards the rim it shades off into deliciously cool
greens and greenish-yellows. It may mean what it may; the colour is
enough.

Room for figure work on an intelligible scale is only to be found by a
device which verges on the ridiculous. In the beautiful North Rose at S.
Ouen, Rouen, figures which should be upright are arranged in a circle
like herrings in a barrel. Similar figures on a smaller scale occur in
certain tracery lights at Lincoln, two of which are here given. Again in
the North Rose at Le Mans there are twenty-four radiating figures. In
fact, they were customarily so arranged, even down to the sixteenth
century, a period at which one does not credit the designer with
mediæval artlessness.

It is obvious that out of a series of twenty or more figures, radiating
like the spokes of a wheel, only a very few can stand anything like
upright. The designer of the South Rose at S. Ouen has endeavoured to
get over the difficulty, as well as to accommodate his design to the
exceeding narrowness of the lights as they approach their axis, by
giving his personages no legs, and making them issue from a kind of
sheath or bouquet-holder. A number of the figures pretending to stand in
the radiating lights by a Rose or wheel window must be ridiculously
placed. And then there occurs the question as to whether they shall all
stand with their feet towards the hub. Where the figures have space to
float, it is different. The angels in the Late Gothic Rose window at
Angers, with swirling drapery which hides their feet, and makes them by
so much the less obviously human, if not more actually angelic, solve
the difficulty of full-length figures (on any appreciable scale) in the
only possible way.

[Illustration: 185. TWO LIGHTS OF A ROSE WINDOW, LINCOLN.]

A portion of a simple and rather striking wheel window of the Decorated
period, in which concentric bands of ornament form a conspicuous
feature, is shown overleaf. In the small Rose from Assisi (page 278) the
glazier has very successfully supplemented the design of the architect,
completing the four circles, and accentuating them further by glazing
the central spandrils in much darker colour than the rest of the glass,
which is mainly white.

In the elaborate tracery of the Decorated or geometric period the
mullions, as was said, ask to be pronounced. This was usually done in
the Second Gothic period by framing each light with a border, separated
from the stonework always by a fillet of white glass. The exception to
this was in the case of trefoiled or other many-foiled openings, in
which a central medallion or boss, usually circular, extended to the
points of the cusps, and the border round the cuspings stopped short
against the border to that. Or again in triangular openings a central
boss would sometimes extend to its margin, and the borders would stop
against that, or pass seemingly behind it.

A typical form of Decorated tracery occurs in the West window at York
Minster, by far the most beautiful part of it. There, every important
opening has within its white marginal line a broader band of ruby or
green, broken at intervals by yellow spots, within which border is
foliage of white and yellow on a green or ruby ground. Some of the
smaller openings show white and yellow foliage only, without any
coloured ground. A plan equally characteristic of the period is
illustrated at Tewkesbury. There again occurs similar white foliage, its
stem encircling a central spot of yellow. This also is on green and ruby
backgrounds, the former reserved for the more prominent openings; but
the border is in white, painted with a pattern. This broader white
border more effectively relieves the dark lines of the masonry than the
border of colour, which sometimes confuses the shapes of the smaller
tracery openings: it does so, for example, in the Late glass on page
200.

[Illustration: 186. PART OF A ROSE WINDOW, GERMAN 14TH CENTURY.]

For what was said of the difficulty of carrying a broad border round the
heads of Decorated lights applies more forcibly still to tracery. The
merest fillet of colour is often as much as can safely be carried round
the opening, if even that. On the other hand, a broad border of white
and stain, even though it contain a fair amount of black in it, may
safely be used--as at Châlons, where it frames small subjects in rich
colour. Some admirable Decorated tracery occurs at Wells, much on the
usual lines, and containing a good deal of pleasant green; but there the
white and yellow foliage in the centre part of the lights is sometimes
so closely designed that very little of the coloured ground shows
through it, and it looks at first as if what little ground there is had
all been painted-out. At S. Denis Walmgate, York, the background to the
foliage in white and yellow (which last predominates) is painted solid:
the only pot-metal colour (except in the central medallion head) is in a
rosette or two of colour leaded into it; the border is white. Another
expedient there employed is to introduce figures in white and stain upon
a ground of green or ruby, diapered. At Wells there occur little figures
of saints in pot-metal colour, planted upon the white foliated filling
of the tracery lights. Decorated circular medallions occupying the
centre of ornamental tracery lights are usually framed in coloured
lines; occasionally the inner margin of the medallion is cusped, in
imitation of stonework.

[Illustration: 187. ASSISI.]

An effective plan, adopted at Evreux, is to gather the lights into
groups, by means of the colour introduced into them, which grouping may
or may not be indicated by the stonework. In any case, it is a means of
obtaining at once variety and breadth of colour.

Perpendicular tracery lights are themselves, in most cases, only copies
in miniature of the larger lights below, and the glass is designed on
the same plan. A good illustration of this is at Great Malvern, where
the design consists of the orthodox canopy work in white and stain, with
little figures also nearly all in white, colour occurring only in the
lower skirts of their drapery, in the background about their heads, and
behind the pinnacles above. The effect is beautifully silvery. Often
such figures under the canopies are angels, all in white and stain.
Sometimes seraphim, in stain upon a white ground, quarried perhaps, fill
the lights, without canopies. These are all typical ways of filling the
tracery of a Perpendicular window.

It was quite a common thing to fill it with glass wholly of white and
stain. In the centre there might be a medallion head in grisaille, or an
inscribed label, the rest of the space being occupied by conventional
foliage having just a line of clear white next the stonework. Beautiful
examples of this treatment occur at Great Malvern; occasionally the
foliage is all in yellow with white flowers. Small openings are thus
often glazed in a single piece of glass, or in any case with the fewest
possible leads. At S. Serge, Angers, there is larger work of a similar
kind, a bold scroll in white and stain on a ground of solid pigment, out
of which is scratched a smaller pattern, not so bold as in the least to
interfere with the scroll, but enough to prevent anything like heaviness
in the painted ground. Similar treatment is adopted in the cathedral at
Beauvais. Once in a while one comes, in English work, upon figures in
white and stain on a solid black ground extending to the stonework,
without any line of white to show where the glass ends and the stonework
begins. It would be impossible more emphatically than that to show one's
contempt for the architecture.

Some disregard, if not actually contempt, is shown for architecture in
the practice, common no less in Late Gothic than in Renaissance design,
of carrying a coloured ground right up to the stone, without so much as
a line of light to separate the two. Comparatively light though the
colour may be, it is usually dark enough, unless it be yellow, to
confuse the forms of any but the boldest tracery. Something of the kind
occurred by way of exception even in fourteenth century glass, as at S.
Radegonde, Poitiers, and at Toulouse, where the tracery of the windows
is one field of blue, irregularly sprinkled with white stars. The lines
of the tracery are lost, and one sees only spots of white.

The Later Gothic plan was to keep tracery light, even though the window
below it were altogether in rich colour, and the effect was good; as at
Alençon, where a distinctly blue window has in the tracery only angels
in white and yellow on a white ground; or, again, at Conches, where
white-robed angels, on a ground of rich stain, contrast pleasantly with
the cool blue of the lights below.

Unusual treatment of the tracery occurs at Auch (1513). In the main the
tracery lights contain figures in colour upon a ruby or paler-coloured
ground, which, as in so many a Renaissance window, runs out to the
stonework; but occasionally here and there a light is distinguished by a
border of white. Moreover, the ground is, as a rule, not of one colour
throughout, nor even throughout a single light, but varied; and that not
symmetrically or pattern-wise, but so as artfully to carry the colour
through. In fact, the artist has taken his tracery much more seriously
than usual, and has carefully studied how best he could balance by the
colour in it the not quite so easily-to-be-controlled colour of his
figure composition below. The result is that the windows are all of one
piece--each a complete and well-considered colour composition: the
tracery is not merely the top part of the frame to the coloured picture
below.

[Illustration: 188. LYONS.]

In Renaissance glass the tracery was more often in comparatively full
colour, even though the lights below were pale. A grisaille window at
Evreux, with practically blue tracery, has a very pleasant effect.

It was not often that the Renaissance glass painters gave very serious
attention to the tracery which they had to fill. They were, for the most
part, content to conceive each separate opening as a blue field upon
which to place an angel (as above), a crown, a _fleur-de-lys_, or other
emblem, as best might fit. In very many sixteenth century windows the
design consists merely of angels, emblems, labels, or even clouds,
dotted about, as suited the convenience of the designer. Sometimes, as
at S. Alpin, at Troyes, there occurs in a tracery light a tablet bearing
a date,--presumably, but not always positively, that of the window. Such
devices were very often in white upon a ground of blue, purple, or ruby.
Angels of course adapted themselves to irregular shapes in the most
angelic way; and they are introduced in every conceivable
attitude--standing, kneeling, flying, swinging censers, singing, playing
on musical instruments, bearing scrolls or shields; angels all in white,
angels in white with coloured wings, angels in gorgeous array of colour:
and more accommodating, still, is the bodiless cherub, beloved of Luca
della Robbia.

There is a quite charming effect of colour in a Jesse window at S.
Maclou, Rouen, where the tracery lights are inhabited by little cherubs,
in ruby on a grey-blue ground, in grey on deeper grey-blue, and in
emerald-like green upon the same.

The scroll without the angel was a very convenient filling for smaller
openings. Some elaborately twisted scrolls, in white and stain on
purple, occur at Moulins.

Larger and more prominent lights often contain a separate picture, or
one picture runs through several lights, or perhaps all through the
tracery. Worse than that is, where the picture runs through from the
lights below; as at Alençon, where the trees grow up into the blue of
the tracery, broken otherwise only by white clouds; or at Conches, where
the architecture from the subject below aspires so high. It is almost
worse still where, as at Alençon again, and at the chapel at Vincennes,
it is the canopy which so encroaches. In the exceptional case of a Jesse
window there seems less objection to accepting the whole window as a
field through which the tree may grow; yet the tracery is not the
happiest part of the Beauvais window (page 368). Sometimes the heads of
the lower lights are made to appear as though they were part of the
tracery.

A happier form of Renaissance tracery design is where medallion heads in
white and stain are introduced upon a ground of plain colour--blue at
Châlons, purple-brown at Montmorency. These are sometimes most
beautifully painted, as are the Raffaellesque little cherubs amidst
white clouds, also at Montmorency; but they are much more delicately
done than they need have been, and less effective than they might. Very
delicate painting upon white does produce an effect even at a distance;
at least it gives quality; but there should be some relation between
effort and effect; and here the effect is weak as compared with the
expenditure of art. In the tracery on page 213, fairly effective though
monotonous, the birds are glazed in with such unnecessary avoidance of
lead, that the cutting of the ground must have been a work of great
difficulty. In glass of every period it has been the custom to put too
much into tracery; in Early work too much detail, in Later too much
finish. What is wanted is breadth.



CHAPTER XXIII.

QUARRY WINDOWS.


The very simplest form of window glazing, the easiest and the thriftiest
thing for the cutter to do, and the most straightforward for the
glazier, is to frame together parallel-sided pieces of glass in the form
of a lead lattice.

Quarries, as all such little square or rhomboid shaped panes of glass
came to be called, were used from the first. Ordinarily they were set on
end, so as to form diamonds; which as time went on, were generally not
rectangular, but long in proportion to their breadth.

For the most part they were painted with patterns traced in brown; and,
on the discovery of silver stain, they were in parts tinted yellow. From
the fourteenth century onwards, quarry lights, framed in borders, and
enlivened with colour, form a very important variety of grisaille.

Many a grisaille pattern was not far removed from quarry glazing, as may
be seen opposite. It was natural that, for clerestory and triforium
windows in particular, the glazier should do all he could to simplify
his work. Clerestory windows are placed too high to be fairly seen in a
narrow church, and triforium lights are often half shut off from view by
projecting shafts of open arcading in front of them. It is only when, by
rare chance, they happen to front you squarely at the end of an aisle or
transept, that they are properly seen. There is no occasion, therefore,
to indulge in subtleties of design; the one thing needful is that the
effect of the windows as a whole, should be pleasant, since all study of
detail is out of the question, except from the triforium galleries
opposite, or by the aid of a field-glass; and light arrangements of
grisaille and colour are in most cases all that is wanted. The colour
may be more or less, according as it is desired to exclude light or to
admit it; but some very simple, unpretending, and perhaps even rude
treatment, is indicated by the conditions of the case, which to
contradict, is wasteful and unworkmanlike. The effect, for example, of
the band of figures across the grisaille in the triforium of the
transepts at Evreux is admirable; but the way in which seven saints out
of the eight are cut vertically in two by the pillars of the
architectural screen in front of them, is nothing less than
exasperating. These figures tell only as the patches of colour; and that
could so easily have been obtained by much simpler means. In such a
position, quarries may well take the place, not only of figures, but of
more interesting grisaille; and, even though they be not painted at all
(as is again the case at Evreux), but merely broken by occasional
sun-discs in white and stain crossing them, and framed in a simple block
border of white and colour, the effect may be entirely adequate. It is
not meant to deny that figures in rich colour embedded in carefully
designed grisaille are more attractive; but, for its purpose, quarry
work, with borders and bosses of colour, is in the majority of such
cases, enough.

[Illustration: 189. LINCOLN.]

[Illustration: 190. EVREUX.]

Figures or figure subjects in formal bands across tall quarry lights are
always effective; so are figures planted more casually upon the
quarries--kneeling donors, flying angels, or whatever they may be. So
again, are figure panels alternating with bosses of ornament; but, if
the window occupy a position where the figures can be appreciated, a
surrounding of quarries seems hardly of interest enough, and if not, the
figures seem rather thrown away. One is tempted to make exception in
favour of figures in grisaille, which, if very delicately painted (as
for example at S. Martin-cum-Gregory, York), show to advantage on a
quarry ground, which has the modesty not to compete with them in
interest. The quarries keep their place perfectly as a background; and
the slight painting upon them is just enough to give the glass quality,
and to indicate that, however subordinate, it is yet part of the
picture.

A quarry window, no less than any other, wants a border, if only to
prevent the strongly marked straight lines of lead from appearing to run
into the stonework. A simple line of colour with another of white next
the mullions is enough for that. Even this is occasionally omitted, more
especially in tracery lights, but in that case the glass seems to lack
finish. The most satisfactory border to quarry lights into which
otherwise no colour is introduced, is a broadish border of white,
painted with pattern and in part stained. A coloured border seems to
imply other colour breaking the field of quarries. By itself it is too
much or not enough. Its proportion is a thing to be determined in each
case on the spot; but even in narrow lights, if they contain bosses of
colour (as do those in the transepts at Le Mans) a broad border about
one fifth the width of the window, with a broad white line next the
stone, is very effective.

The monotony of any great surface of quarry work, has led to the
introduction of medallions and the like, even where it is not desired to
introduce pot-metal colour. In the window from Evreux, illustrated
opposite, the effect of the delicately painted little angel medallions,
in white on a ground of stain, is all that could be wished. Any little
surprise of that kind is always welcome; but, should it occur too
frequently, it becomes itself monotonous.

There is no end to the variety of forms in which colour may be
introduced into quarry work. It is best in the form of patches, and not
in the form of lines between the quarries as occurs occasionally, at
Poitiers, for example, at Rouen cathedral, and at Châlons (page 167).

[Illustration: 191. QUARRY WINDOW, EVREUX.]

Big rosettes, discs, wreaths, rings of colour, and the like, are more
effective than small spots. They need not be heavy, there may be any
amount of white in them. In narrow lights, they may sometimes with
advantage come in front of the border; that admits of the biggest
possible medallion, and it is best to have such features large and few.
Mean little rosettes are too suggestive of the contractor; in the church
of S. Ouen, at Rouen, one is uncomfortably reminded of him--it would be
so easy to estimate for glass of that kind at so much the foot! Heraldic
shields form often peculiarly effective colour-patches in quarry
windows, more especially because of the accidental arrangement of colour
they compel. There is a point at which symmetry of colour palls upon the
eye.

[Illustration: 192. LINCOLN.]

The even surface of quarry lights all in white and stain is broken
sometimes by an occasional band of inscription, which may either take
the line of the quarries, or cross them in the form of a label. At
Evreux some quarry lights are most pleasingly interrupted by square
patches of inscription in yellow, or, which is still more satisfactory,
in white. In the same cathedral there is a very interesting instance of
inscription, in letters some five or six inches high, leaded in blue
upon a quarry ground.

[Illustration: 193. GERMAN QUARRY BORDER.]

[Illustration: 194. EARLY ENGLISH QUARRY.]

The patterns with which quarries are painted naturally followed the
ordinary course of grisaille. In the thirteenth century the designs were
strongly outlined, and showed clear against a cross-hatched ground;
which, however, did not, as a rule, extend to the lead, but a margin of
clear glass was left next to it, in acknowledgment of the quarry shape.
The combination of quarries and strap ornament in the example at Lincoln
(page 287) is unusual, but the quarries themselves are, but for the
absence of a clear line next the leads, characteristically of the
thirteenth century. The quarry border from Nuremberg (above) is rather
later in character. In that case also, as it happens, there is no
marginal line of clear glass. The typical treatment is shown below.
Later, as in other grisaille, the cross-hatched ground was omitted; and
the foliage took, of course, more natural form. It was presently more
delicately traced (page 290), and more often than not tinted in yellow
stain. Consistently with the more natural form of leafage the design in
fourteenth century work was often one continuous growth trailing through
the window, and passing behind the marginal band of stain which now
usually emphasised the top sides of the quarries. Often a futile attempt
was made (page 286) to give the appearance of interlacing to these
bands, but that was nullified by the stronger lead lines. True,
interlacing was only possible where, as in some earlier work, the bands
were continued on all four sides of the quarry, so that the lead fell
into its place as interspace between two interlacing bands. It was
better when there was no pretence of interlacing (below). Additional
importance was sometimes given to the marginal band by tracing a pattern
upon it, or, as on page 291, painting it in brown, and then picking out
geometric tracery upon it. There came a time when marginal lines were
omitted altogether. That was the usual, though not invariable, practice
in the fifteenth century, by which time the draughtsman had apparently
learnt to husband his inventive faculty. The continuous growth of the
pattern, as well as the marginal acknowledgment of the lead lines, died
out of fashion, and quarries were mostly painted sprig fashion. The
character of these sprigs will be best judged from the specimens on page
289, some of the most interesting given in "Shaw's Book of Quarries."
Quarry patterns do not, of course, occur in that profuse variety; it is
seldom that more than two patterns are found in a single window, often
there is only one. The range of design in quarries of this kind is
limited only by the invention of the artist. It includes both floral and
conventional ornament, animal and grotesque figures, emblems and
heraldic badges, cyphers, monograms, mottoes, and so on. There is scope
not only for meaning in design, but for the artist's humour; but, when
all is said, the Late Gothic pattern windows, now given over entirely to
quarry work, are of no great account as concerns their detail. The later
quarry patterns are often pretty enough, sometimes amusing, but they go
for very little in the decoration of a church. Plentiful as quarry work
is everywhere, and characteristic as it is of Perpendicular glass, there
is not much that shows an attempt to do anything serious with the quarry
window. All that was done was to paint more or less delicate and dainty
patterns upon the little lozenge panes. However, they were traced with a
light hand and a sure one, and with a kind of spontaneity which gives
them really what artistic charm they have.

[Illustration: 195. QUARRY PATTERNS (SHAW).]

[Illustration: 196. 14TH CENTURY QUARRY.]

[Illustration: 197. 14TH CENTURY QUARRIES.]

The occasional endeavours to get stronger and bolder effects in quarry
work were not very successful. At Evreux and at Rouen there are some
late quarries painted more after the fashion of bold mosaic diaper; but
the effect, though satisfactory enough, is not such as to convince one
that that is the better way.

[Illustration: 198. 14TH CENTURY QUARRY.]

To heraldry, and especially to shields of arms surrounded by mantling
(page 293), quarries form an excellent background, but only in the event
of there being enough of them left free to show that it is a quarry
window upon which the heraldry is imposed, or rather into which it is
inlaid. Odds and ends of quarries want to be accounted for, as forming
the continuation of the glass above and below. In the case of a window
not a quarry window, it is a mistake to break up the background, as was
sometimes done, into quarries, or rather into fragments of quarries. The
object of the square or diamond shape is to break up a plain surface. If
the ground is naturally broken up by figures, foliage, mantling, or what
not, why introduce further quarry lines? They are not in themselves
interesting. Their great value is in that they give scale to a window;
but that is only on condition that they are seen in their entirety.

[Illustration: 199. ROUND GLASS, ROUNDELS, OR BULL'S-EYES.]

[Illustration: 200. HERALDIC GLASS.]

In Germany the place of quarries was supplied by roundels (page 292)
unpainted. What applies to quarries applies in many respects to them;
and they have a brilliancy which flat glass has not. They were
usually enclosed in painted borders of white and stain, and have a very
delicate and pearly effect; but where (as at S. Peter's, at Cologne)
they occur in great quantity as compared with coloured subjects, these
appear to be floating rather uncomfortably in their midst. The Italians,
who also used roundels in place of quarries, often let colour into the
interstices between them, and also little painted squares or pateræ of
white and stain. In the sham windows decorating the Sistine Chapel at
Rome, separating Botticelli's series of Popes, the pointed spaces
between the rounds are coloured diagonally in successive rows of red,
yellow, and green; but the result is most pleasing where, as at Verona
and elsewhere, the little triangular spaces are neither of one tint nor
yet symmetrically arranged, but distributed in a quasi-accidental and
unexpected way. Sometimes it was the little pateræ that was in colour
and the rest white. In any case, the effect is refined, as it is at
Arezzo also, where the monotony of roundels, in sundry clerestory
windows, is broken by figure medallions and other features in white and
colour. The adaptation of roundels to the circular shape is shown in the
portion of a round window from Santa Maria Novella. What more remains to
be said about roundels and quarry windows is reserved for the chapter on
"Domestic Glass."

[Illustration: 201. QUARRY FROM CHETWODE CHURCH.]

[Illustration: 202. WINDOW IN THE CERTOSA IN VAL D'EMA, FLORENCE.]



CHAPTER XXIV.

DOMESTIC GLASS.


It is customary to draw a distinction between "Ecclesiastical" and
"Domestic" glass.

In mediæval days the Church was the patron of art; and, when kings and
corporations commissioned stained glass windows, it was usually to
present them to Mother Church. It is in churches, then, that the greater
part of the old glass remains to us, iconoclastic mania notwithstanding;
and it is only there that the course of glass painting can be traced.
Once in a while, as at S. Mary's Hall, Coventry, one comes upon a great
window designed to decorate a civic building; but the whiles are few and
far between. When such windows do occur they prove not to differ widely
from more familiar church work.

What, then, is the difference between the two kinds of glass? It is not
that the one is ecclesiastical the other secular, the one religious the
other profane art. "Sacred Art" is a term consecrated by use; but,
strictly speaking, it is a meaningless combination of words, signifying,
if it signify anything, that the speaker confounds the art of telling
with the thing told. Art has no more a religion than it has a country.
No doubt there clings always to the art of the devout believer some
fervour of faith, as there may hang about the sceptic's doing a chill of
doubt. The historian will enrich his glass with story, the preacher will
convey in it a dogma. Poet or proser, philosopher or fool, may each in
turn peep out of the window. Youth will everywhere betray its ardour,
manhood its vigour, age its experience. A live man cannot help but put
himself into his work. But none of that is art. His art is in the way he
expresses himself, not in what he says; and there is no more religion in
his glass painting than in his handwriting, though the graphologist may
read in it his character.

The difference between church glass and domestic arises, speaking from
the point of view of art, solely from architectural conditions. In so
far as they are both glass, the same methods of glazing and painting
apply to both. It is only in so far as the position and purpose of the
two are different, that they call for different treatment in design. The
treatment suitable to a great hall does not materially differ from that
adapted to a church; the same breadth of design, the same largeness of
execution, are required; what suits a cloister would suit a passage.
When, however, it comes to the windows of dwelling-rooms, the scheme and
execution appropriate even to the smallest chapels of a church, would
most likely be out of place. The distinction is very much as that
between wall decoration in fresco and cabinet paintings in oil- or
water-colour.

In the house there is less need than in the church for severity, and
more for liveliness, less occasion for breadth, and more for delicacy.
The scale of the dwelling-room itself justifies, perhaps demands, a
smaller treatment. Here, if anywhere, is opportunity for that
preciousness of execution which, in work of more monumental character,
it seems a pity to expend upon so frail a substance as glass--frailer
than ever when it was the thin white glass employed for window panes.
For, so far from the glazier of the sixteenth or seventeenth century
imagining, as we mostly do, that it was any part of the purpose of
domestic glass to shut out the view--less need in those days!--he
employed in most cases a material which was not merely translucent but
absolutely transparent.

This use of transparent glass marks a distinction, and forms something
of a new departure. It was employed to some extent in Renaissance church
work; but there it was more as a background to the stained glass window
than as a part of it. Here the transparent glass is the window; and the
design, whether in pot-metal or in enamel, shows more or less against
the clear.

The relationship of certain seventeenth century windows at Antwerp to
the Italian windows on pages 295, 299, 352, is obvious. They may be
quite possibly founded upon them. There is the same arrangement of
subjects in cartouches, set in geometric glazing of clear glass. But in
the Italian windows one kind of glass is used throughout (the little
pieces of thin pot-metal colour in the cartouches, and so on, scarcely
count); and the proportion of the painted work to clear glass is so
schemed that, although you may feel that the plain work wants just a
touch of enrichment to bring it all together, you are not asked
deliberately to imagine yourself to be looking through, beyond the
painting, into space.

[Illustration: 203. ITALIAN GRISAILLE, FLORENCE.]

The detail in these windows from the Certosa in Val d'Ema, near
Florence, is all outlined and painted in brown upon clear white glass,
the flesh warmer in tint than the rest; the high lights are brushed out
of a matt tint, and some pale stain is washed in. The artful thing about
the design is, the cunning way in which the borders are planned, so as
to avoid the absolute parallelism of marginal lines. For the rest the
design is rather characteristically Late Renaissance, though the
relation of border to cartouche, and of both together to clear glass, is
better than usual. It will be noted that these are not strictly domestic
windows; but they are designed to be seen about on a level with the eye,
and from a distance of not more than ten feet, which is as far as the
width of the cloister allows one to get away from them.

[Illustration: 204. CERTOSA IN VAL D'EMA.]

They fulfil, therefore, altogether very much the conditions which apply
generally to domestic glass, and may be taken, if not as types of
domestic work, at least as something on the way from the church to the
house. This, though the common type of Italian Renaissance grisaille,
was not invariable. At S. Frediano, Lucca, for example, there is a white
window, which, except for a little medallion in its centre, might at a
glance almost pass for thirteenth century work: the Cinque-Cento scroll
is so rendered, with cross-hatched ground and all, as to suggest the
early mediæval craftsman; it is centuries away from Da Udine in style.

The domestic quarry window differed, in mediæval work, in no respect
from church work. In the sixteenth century it took rather a new form. It
consisted no longer of a more or less diaper-like all-over pattern, but
of a panel, designed to be glazed in quarries. Here, again, is an
approximation to the seventeenth century practice of leading up
pictures in rectangular panes, but only an approximation. There is this
important difference, that the quarry window starts from the lead lines,
and is religiously designed within them.

Thus to accept, the simple square and obviously fit lines of quarry
glazing, and to expend his art in painting upon them, simplifies the
task of the glass painter; and he very frequently fell back upon that
plan, more readily perhaps when he happened to know more about painting
than about glazing. That was Da Udine's case, who is credited with the
design of the windows in the Laurentian library at Florence, as of those
at the Certosa in Val d'Ema. They bear a date some few years after his
death; but they are so like what he certainly would have done that,
directly or indirectly, the design is clearly due to him. The one
illustrated on page 298 is quite one of the best of these windows; in
the others the ornament is even less coherent. The characteristic
arabesque is painted in brown enamel, with redder enamel for the flesh
tints, some yellow stain, and a little blue enamel in the heraldic
lozenge, all upon clear white glass. The effect is delicate and silvery
and no appreciable amount of light is excluded (a point usually of some
importance in domestic work); but, though the main forms are designed
within the lead lines, one feels that these have not been considered
enough, that the leads compete with the painting, and that the bars, in
particular, which are far thicker than need be, and occur with
unnecessary frequency (in fact, at every horizontal quarry joint but
one), very seriously mar the effect of delicate painting. That is as
much as to say that the design, graceful and fanciful as it is, does not
fulfil the conditions of quarry glass.

It is not enough for complete success in this form of window that the
quarry lines shall be the basis of the design; the painting also must be
strong enough to hold its own against leads and bars. That is hardly the
case with the exceptionally delicate ornament in the Dutch glass
opposite. But here, notwithstanding that the scroll is slighter than the
Italian work and more delicately painted, the central patch of enamel
colour in the shield and mantling does, to some extent, focus the
attention there, and so withdraw the eye from the lead lines. The window
is not merely cleverly designed; it is a frank, straightforward, manly
piece of work, marred only by the comparative heaviness of the leads.
The truth is that a glass painter becomes so used to lead lines, and
gets to take them so much for granted, that they do not offend him; and
he is apt to forget how obtrusive they may appear in the eyes of the
unaccustomed. Hence his sometimes seemingly brutal treatment of tenderly
painted ornament.

[Illustration: 205. DUTCH QUARRY WINDOW, S. K. MUSEUM.]

Other good examples of Dutch domestic glass, not quite so good as this,
but painted with admirable directness, are to be found at the _Musée des
Antiquités_ at Brussels. At the Louvre also the Dutch work is good.
There are two lights there in which cartouches enclosing small oval
subjects (fables) spread over the greater part of the quarry glazing,
leaving only the lowermost of them comparatively empty. On these are
painted butterflies, a dragon-fly, even a gad-fly, almost to the life.
These flies upon the window pane, like the little miniature figures in
the bottom corner quarries on page 301, are trivial enough in idea; but
the idea is cleverly and daintily expressed; and one does not expect
much else than triviality in seventeenth century design. Moreover, in
the privacy of domestic life it is permitted to be trivial.

For dignity of treatment it would be difficult to match the specimen of
Flemish glass shown on page 304, now at Warwick Castle. Like the Dutch
and Italian work, it is painted on clear glass but without the
prettiness of flesh tint, and the background to the ornament (it shows
dull grey in the print) is brilliant yellow stain. This little light and
its companion on page 98 are as large in style as they are beautiful in
effect.

There is a gayer touch in the less seriously decorative panel of French
work in the Louvre given on page 307. In that pot-metal is used for the
dark ruby of the outer dress, and for the little bits of blue rather
cunningly let into the spandrils of the arch. The fancifully designed
canopy, the arabesque, and a portion of the drapery are in stain, all
delicately painted upon clear glass, and glazed mainly on quarry
lines--from which, however, the designer saw fit to depart. What he
meant by the unfortunate circular lead line about the head is difficult
to imagine. It can hardly be, like other erratic leading, the result of
mending. No fracture could possibly have steered so carefully between
the figure and the ornament. It looks almost as if at the last he had
lost confidence in his technique, and, in trying vainly to avoid lead
lines, had ended in giving them extraordinary emphasis.

In ultra-delicate domestic work the leads are more than ever the
difficulty. One is uncomfortably conscious of them in the wonderful
series of windows--formerly at Ecouen, and now in the Château de
Chantilly--in which is set forth in forty pictures the story of Cupid
and Psyche. A specimen of these is given on page 218, thanks to the
friendly permission of Monsieur Magne, who illustrates the whole of them
in his admirable monograph of the Montmorency glass. The legend to the
effect that Raffaelle designed and Palissy painted them, is past all
possible belief; but they are very remarkable specimens of sixteenth
century work, restored about the period of the First Empire, and mark
somewhere about the high-water mark of French domestic picture glass.

A glance at these windows is enough to show that they were never schemed
with any definite view to glazing. Rather it would appear that the
pictures were first designed and then the leads introduced where best
they could be disguised. But the disguise is everywhere transparent.
Such gauzy painting is inadequate; it hides nothing. You see always the
thick black lines of lead, cruel enough, but clinging in a cowardly way
to the edges of weak forms, sneaking into shadows, and foolishly
pretending to pass themselves off as the continuation of painted
outlines not one-twentieth part so strong as they. The sparing use of
glazing lines makes them all the more conspicuous. They must originally
have asserted themselves even more than they do now; for the accidental
lead lines introduced in reparation, however much they damage the
pictures, do in a measure support the original glazing lines, and pull
the windows together. The Chantilly glass goes to prove the
impossibility of satisfactorily disposing of the leads in very small
figure subjects in grisaille. In work on a larger scale it wants only a
man who knows his trade to manage it. Witness what was done in church
work.

[Illustration: 206. GRISAILLE, WARWICK CASTLE.]

The propriety of executing figures in grisaille at all has been called
in question by Viollet le Duc. "Every bit of white glass," he said,
"should be diapered with pattern traced with a brush; and, since this
treatment is not possible in flesh painting, flesh ought not to be
painted." Moreover, he says that grisaille has always the appearance of
vibrating, and the vibration fatigues the eye; therefore, he argues, it
is labour lost to paint white figures. Far be it from an ornamentist to
deny that a great deal too much importance is attached to figure work in
decoration. But the amount of tracing necessary on white glass is
relative. In grisaille it is quite safe to leave some glass clear; and,
if it is not worth while to paint figures, is it worth while to paint
anything worth looking at, or worth painting?

[Illustration: 207. LOUIS XIII. AND ANNE OF AUSTRIA.]

The truth is, it wearies the sight to look at any glass for long at a
stretch, and for a mere _coup d'oeil_ the most brutal workmanship
would often do. But, if work is ever to be seen from near, the charm is
gone when once you know how coarse it is. One tires of crude work, and
delights more and more in what is delicate. Whoever has taken pleasure
in such work as the windows at S. Alpin at Troyes would find it hard to
renounce the figure in grisaille.

To return to the leading of grisaille. Of the two extremes, the bold,
even the too bold, acknowledgment of the constructional lines of a
window, is far preferable to the timid attempt to conceal them. The
glaziers of the Renaissance eventually got over the difficulty by the
simple plan of inserting into quarry windows (usually unpainted) or into
pattern work of plain glass only, little panes of painted glass. In this
way there are introduced into some windows at the Château de Chaumont
some very beautiful little portrait medallions, outlined with a firmness
and modelled with a delicacy which remind one of the drawings of Clouet.
At the Germanic Museum at Nuremberg are some similar medallion heads,
quite Holbein-ish in character. A later portrait panel, lacking the
style and draughtsmanship of these, but very cleverly painted (by Linard
Gontier they say), is reproduced on page 305. It represents, as the
inscription and cypher go to show, Louis Treize and Anne of Austria, as
bride and bridegroom. Its date, therefore, speaks for itself. Another
little pane by Gontier, from the Hôtel des Arquebusiers at Troyes, now
in the library there, is given on page 310. The characteristic
ornamental work surrounding this, though not forming a consecutive frame
to the picture, is of about the same period with it (1621). Its design
consists of that modified form of Arab foliation (compare it with the
detail on page 352), which was very much used in damascening and niello
work; indeed, the French still call that kind of pattern "_nielle_."
Here it is traced in a fine brown outline, and filled in partly with
yellow stain and partly with blue enamel. The effect is pleasing.

[Illustration: 208. DOMESTIC GLASS, THE LOUVRE.]

It was in Switzerland that glass painting other than for churches was
most extensively practised. The Council Chambers of Swiss towns, and the
halls of trade and other guilds, were enriched with bands of armorial
glass across the windows; and throughout the sixteenth century it was
the custom to present to neighbouring towns or friendly Corporations a
painted window panel. Great part of these have been dispersed, and in
Switzerland they are now perhaps rarer than in the museums of other
countries. The Germanic Museum at Nuremberg and the Hôtel Clûny, at
Paris, are rich in Swiss glass; and we have some at South Kensington.
Superb examples, however, still remain in Switzerland--for example, in
the Rath-haus at Lucerne--though they belong to a period as late as the
first ten years of the seventeenth century.

[Illustration: 209. PIERCED QUARRIES, WARWICK.]

The usual form of design consisted of a sort of florid canopy frame of
moderate dimensions, enclosing a shield or shields of arms, supported by
fantastically dressed men-at-arms. There was often great spirit in the
swagger of these melodramatic swashbucklers, admirably expressive of the
idea which underlies all heraldry: "I am somebody," they seem to say,
"pray who are you?" It is a comparatively modest specimen of this class
that is presented on page 90. In the windows of a private house it was
frequently the master and mistress who supported the armorial shield,
all in their Sunday best, and very proud of themselves too. Little Bible
subjects were also painted, mainly in grisaille. It was for window panes
that Holbein drew the Stations of the Cross, now among the chief
treasures of the museum at Bâle. These also must be classed with
domestic work. They may in some cases have been destined for a church;
but they would much more appropriately decorate a private oratory.

These heraldic or pictorial panes go even beyond the delicacy of cabinet
pictures, and are sometimes more on the scale of miniatures; but of such
miniature painting the Swiss were masters. They carried craftmanship to
its very furthest point, and among them traditions of good work lingered
long after they were quite dead in France. Of English work there was not
much; and of that the less said the better.

Far into the eighteenth century the Swiss still had a care for their
window panes, and, when painting went out of fashion, engraved them with
armorial or other devices. Precisely that kind of engraving was employed
also upon polished mirrors, of which one finds examples in Italy.

Unpainted quarry windows in English houses were sometimes relieved, at
the same time that ventilation was secured, by the occasional
introduction (in the place of glass) of little fretted panels of pierced
lead, as shown on page 308. Below is a diamond-shaped piercing of the
Jacobean period.

[Illustration: 210. QUARRY OF FRETTED LEAD.]

[Illustration: 211. DOMESTIC WINDOW PANE, TROYES.]



CHAPTER XXV.

THE USE OF THE CANOPY.


No one can have paid much attention to stained glass without observing
the conspicuous part played in its design by the quasi-architectural
canopy.

Inasmuch as it, in a sense, enshrines the figure, there exists some sort
of symbolic reason for its use. But that is not enough to account for
its all but universal employment. A more obvious excuse for it is, the
purpose it fulfils in the construction of design. It is a means of
accounting for the position of figures midway up the window, perhaps one
above the other, and not standing upon the sill. It is at once framework
and support to them, preventing them from seeming to float there in
space.

Where the designer of the church designed also the glass for it, it was
almost inevitable that he should plan it more or less upon architectural
lines; and so we find that in windows known to have been designed by
architects the canopy is very often the most conspicuous part of the
design. But at all times the master-builder must have been a power, and
at all times also even glaziers and glass painters must have been so
intimately acquainted with forms of architecture, that it is not
surprising they should have introduced them into their work.

The fact is, the designer happens upon something like a canopy almost
without intending it, and, having arrived so far, perfects the
resemblance to it. Suppose a window of four long lights, in each of
which it is desired to introduce three figures. That means dividing it
horizontally into three, which may be done by the use of bands of
inscription, as at _a_ in the diagram overleaf: there is no suggestion
of architecture there. Supposing you wish to frame the window at the
sides, so as to stop the picture, as at _b_, to the left of the diagram;
you have still no very distinct suggestion of architecture. But if, the
better to frame the picture, you add an extra band of colour, as shown
at _c_, you arrive at once at something so like perspective as to
indicate an architectural elevation. Indeed, that is precisely the form
the canopy takes sometimes in Italian glass. Even when the
cinque-centist framed his picture merely in lines he could hardly help
giving them the appearance of mouldings, painting upon (as at Arezzo)
egg-and-tongue or other familiar architectural enrichment in white and
stain.

[Illustration: 212. DIAGRAM.]

In the clerestory at Freiburg is a window in which the serried saints
appear at first sight to be simply framed by lines of pale purple; but
on examination these resolve themselves into a simple architectural
elevation, with even a hint of unsuspected shadow in it. The date of
that example is 1512; and canopies, not to go back to Græco-Roman
decoration, begin with the beginning of Gothic. It is adduced,
therefore, to show, not the origin of canopy work, but how inevitably
something of the sort occurred. Its immediate source is clearly
imitation. The thing is borrowed straight from architecture, and
indicates, it may justly be said, if not a certain lack of inventive
faculty on the part of the designer, at least some disinclination to
take the pains to invent.

So in the thirteenth century we have funny little glass penthouses over
the figures of saints, architectural in form but not in colour; in the
fourteenth windows are crossed by rows of tall brassy disproportioned
tabernacles, as yet flat fronted; in the fifteenth, white ghosts of
masonry pretend to stand out over the figures; in the sixteenth,
altar-like, or other more or less monumental, structures, are pictured
with something like the solidity of stonework; and eventually the canopy
is merged in painted glass architecture, which joins itself on as best
it can to the actual masonry.

The forms of canopy typical of each period of architecture have been
discussed in the several chapters on design, but something remains to be
said upon canopy work in general, and upon particular instances of it.

The Early canopy goes for nothing as design. Its one merit is that it is
inconspicuous. One could wish that the Decorated were equally so. There
is, as a rule, no shutting your eyes to its mass of overpowering
shrinework. When, by way of exception, it chances to be modest it is
sometimes more interesting--as where it is scarcely more than a cusped
arch, or where, as at Strassburg, it takes the form of an arcaded band
across the window, in which are series of little demi-figures. At
Cologne Cathedral also sundry saints are pigeon-holed in this way.
_Apropos_ of this, it should be mentioned that it invariably adds to the
interest of a canopy, when; for example, the broad shaft of a Decorated
canopy enniches angels and other figures, or when they are introduced
among its pinnacles or in its base. The wide-spreading German canopy
affords scope for variety of design not possible so long as the
structure is confined within a single light. In some four-light windows
at Erfurt (1349-1372) the broad shafts of the canopies, with saints in
separate niches, occupy the whole width of the outer lights, leaving
only two lights for the central picture. In a five-light window at
Strassburg the canopy is five-arched, allowing separate arches in the
outer lights for figures of saints, whilst the three central ones cover
a single subject.

In canopies which include niches with separate subsidiary subjects,
these are sometimes by way of prelude to the main story. In the
cathedral at Berne is something of the kind. There, among the pinnacles
of the canopy which crowns the subject of the Adoration, are seen the
Kings setting out on their pilgrimage, journeying by night, having
audience of Herod, and arriving finally at the city of Bethlehem.

In the great altar-like canopies of the Renaissance there is sometimes a
gallery above, with angels or other figures, which give points of colour
amidst the white. In any case, the canopy is usually more interesting
when it is peopled.

The Perpendicular canopy is in effect much more pleasing than what had
gone before, but it sins in its simulation of stonework. There also
little figures in white and stain are very effectively introduced into
the shafts and other parts of the construction, but more in the form of
architectural sculpture. There are some very interesting instances of
this at Fairford, though the canopies themselves are not otherwise
peculiarly interesting.

The useful device of low, flat-topped canopies, adopted in the nave
windows at Cologne Cathedral, seldom occurs out of Germany. It is there
most successful. Indeed, these particular canopies are interesting
examples of the interpenetration of architectural tracery as well as of
its moderate and modest use.

Late German canopies are often much more leafy than French or English;
they are less architectural--or rather, the architecture breaks out into
more free and flowing growth. The charm of Late Gothic canopy work, as
was said, lies in its colour, or in the absence of colour--in its
silvery effect, that is to say. And one may safely add that quite the
most satisfactory canopies, in whatever style, are those in which white
largely prevails, modified by stain, but preserving its greyish
character. In later Renaissance work white is still largely used; but it
is made less brilliant by painted shadow, and so has less to excuse its
architectural pretensions. At Milan there is a window in which what
should be white is in various granular tints of brown.

The coloured canopy, to which the Italians adhered (as well as to the
border enclosing it), does not frame them as the white glass does. The
idea appears to be, on the contrary, that it should form part of the
picture. Elsewhere than in Italy coloured canopies, other than yellow,
are rare; but they occur. There are, for example, the hideous
flesh-coloured constructions peculiar to Germany. At Troyes are some not
unsatisfactory little canopies in green, and others in purple (1499). At
Châlons-sur-Marne is an effective canopy (1526-1537) of golden arabesque
on purple. At Freiburg (1525) is a steely-blue Renaissance canopy, from
which depend festoons of white and greenish-yellow, against the ruby
ground of the subject. And there are others satisfactory enough. But so
invariably effective is the framework of white and stain, that to depart
from it seems almost like giving up the very excuse for canopies.

The Late Gothic canopy work does most effectually frame the pictures,
and gives light, of course, at the same time. It goes admirably with the
colour scheme, which includes always a fair quantity of white, even in
comparatively rich figure subjects. There is no denying, nor any desire
to deny, its altogether admirable effect. If the effect were not
otherwise to be obtained, the end would justify the means. But the
effect is due simply to the setting of the subjects in a framework of
white, not to the architectural character of the design. All that those
Perpendicular canopies do could be done equally without architectural
forms at all. Canopies make no more beautiful screens of silvery-white
than, say, the Five Sisters at York. Intrinsically they are less
interesting than pattern work. They give less scope for arranging
subjects variously, just as one will; and they allow less range for the
fancy of the artist. The most interesting canopies, and among the most
effective, are those Early Renaissance picture frames (French, German,
or Italian) which, whilst just sufficiently suggesting something near
enough to architecture to be called canopies, are really little more
than arabesque. One might almost say they are pleasing in proportion as
they depart from the quasi-architectural formula.

The enormous value of the mass of white afforded by the canopy, as a
setting for colour, has reconciled us too readily to its use. Why not
this mass of white without pretended forms of masonry, without this
paraphernalia of pinnacles? The architect alone, perhaps, in his heart
likes canopy work, and would prefer it to any other kind of ornamental
device. When he plans a window, or directs its planning, forms of
architectural construction occur to him naturally. Supposing him to be
an artist (as we have perhaps a right to expect him to be) he produces a
fine thing; but were he to work upon more workmanlike lines, or, to
speak quite precisely, more upon the lines of the worker in glass, how
much better he would do--being an artist! In his reliance upon
inappropriate structural forms, he makes the obvious mistake of
depending upon the kind of thing with which he is most familiar, not the
thing especially called for. Each particular craft has a technique of
its own.

One other class of person also loves canopy work--the tradesman; but his
affection for it is less disinterested, and more easily accounted for.
The stock canopy (as every one knows who has been, as it were, behind
the counter) is a famous device for cheapening production. The examples
chosen for illustration throughout these pages do, on the whole, much
more than justice to the periods which they were chosen to represent;
but, taken altogether, they do not, even so, form a very effective plea
for canopy work.

Were the canopy more defensible than it is in glass, it would still have
monopolised far too large a place in the scheme of mediæval and
Renaissance design. We owe largely to it, in connection with the
gradually increasing claims of figure work, the all but extinction of
pattern glass. Figure work is practically implied by the canopy.
Occasionally, indeed, architecture has formed the whole _motif_ of a
window; but the case is so rare that it does not count. Once in a while
there may be excuse, and even occasion, for almost any device.

There is no valid reason of art why figures and figure subjects should
not be framed in ornament, designed indeed with reference to the
architecture of the building, but not in the least in the likeness of
architecture. This ornament might perfectly well be in white and stain.
Ornamental setting in colour does occur in thirteenth century medallion
windows, and again (though only by exception) in certain Early
Renaissance glass; but by that time pictures, as a rule, absorbed all
the interest of design. The instinct which makes us want to give even
pictured personages some sort of roof above their heads is more natural
than logical. Anyway, to make windows to look like niches in the wall,
is an absurd ideal of design, and the nearer the glass painter gets to
it the further he has gone off the track. If anything in the nature of a
canopy be desirable, clearly it should be constructed on the lines, not
of masonry, but of glazing.



CHAPTER XXVI.

A PLEA FOR ORNAMENT.


There is a direction in which glass has never been fully developed, that
of purely ornamental design. This is the more to be deplored because
that direction is the one in which was most scope for the peculiar depth
and brilliancy of colour characteristic of mosaic glass. Ornament was
used in the thirteenth century not only as a setting for figure
medallions, but as of sufficient interest to form of itself most
beautiful windows in grisaille. Presently the attractions of figure work
put an end to that; and, furthermore, the preference for picture
naturally led to the development of design in the direction of glass
painting, which lent itself so much more readily than mosaic to
pictorial expression. We owe to that, not only the perfection of glass
painting, and its ultimate degradation, but the neglect of latent
possibilities in more thoroughly mosaic glass, aye, in pure glazing.

Even in figure work, much might be done for clerestory and other distant
work, at all events, in pure mosaic glass. Those who have not closely
observed old glass have no conception of the amount of leadwork there is
in the windows they admire, at the very moment that they deprecate
leading, so little do these interfere with the design, when disposed
with the cunning of a craftsman. One can imagine figures on a large
scale boldly blocked out, with broad shadows, in which not only the
shadows, but even the reflected lights in them, might be glazed in
pot-metal, and from the floor of a big church the leads would be
inappreciable. But, except in work upon an absolutely heroic scale,
there would always be the difficulty of the flesh; the features would
have to be painted; and glass pictures of this kind would needs be
designed with a severe simplicity not calculated to satisfy the modern
pictorial sense.

The advocates of painting complain that due consideration of the
qualities of glass would limit the artist to the baldest kind of
pictorial effect. Something certainly must be sacrificed to fit
treatment of the material, or glass suffers, whatever picture may gain.
That is what has happened. But if so much sacrifice is necessary to
figure, why always adopt that form of design? Why not sometimes at least
abandon subject, and seek what can best be done in glass, even though
that be barbaric? It is not quite certain but that glass really lends
itself only to a rather barbaric kind of design, or what we are
barbarous enough to call barbaric. This is certain: the interest of
figure work has put an end to ornamental glass. It has become almost an
article of faith with us that, to the making of a window worth looking
at, figure design is indispensable. That should not be so. And, seeing
that picture does not afford full scope for the qualities which
glass-lovers most dearly love in glass, it seems rather cruel that
picture should so largely preponderate in its design as to suppress the
possibilities in the way of ornament. Why should it be so?

There are two very important reasons for the introduction of figure into
glass, the one literary, the other artistic. In the first place, we love
a story, that is no more than human; we want to know what it is all
about, that is no more than rational; and figure subjects afford the
most obvious means of satisfying those cravings of ours. But artists
want these cravings satisfied by means of art. Some of them, perhaps,
think more of the means employed than of the end achieved, and would
have "art for art's sake." Theirs is a doctrine of very limited
application. Sanity insists upon subordination of the means to end; and
art is not an end in itself, nor is craftsmanship. It is not, therefore,
for one moment suggested that story, sentiment, meaning, in windows,
should be ruthlessly sacrificed to craftsmanship, even though expression
implied the use of figure, which it does not. What is claimed, is merely
this: that when you employ a material or a process some consideration is
due to it.

Before undertaking to express an idea, it is always as well for the
artist to consider how far its expression is consistent with art. If it
can be expressed only at the cost of all that is best in art, it were
better to adopt some other means of expression. If a particular craft is
your one means of expression, and that particular thing cannot well be
said in it, then say what can be said; it will be to much more purpose
than saying even a better thing and saying it ill. The better the
thought, the greater the crime of saying it inadequately.

After all, the sentiment, or what not, which people ask for in glass,
and which compels figure work, is not, in the majority of instances, by
any means so important, even in their eyes, but that they would
sacrifice it readily enough if they knew the price in art at which they
would have to pay for it. Let patrons of stained glass, if they care for
art, ponder this statement; it is not spoken in haste, but in
conviction.

There is one reason of sentiment which would argue against great part of
the use that is made of figure work, at all events in church glass, the
doubt, namely, as to how far it is possible, in these days, to reconcile
the devout with the decorative treatment of sacred subjects. We are all
admiration when we gaze up at the splendid figure of Moses in the great
transept window at Chartres. But it is the artist in us that is
entranced, the lover of glass, and especially of colour; the artless
worshipper might feel that the dignity of the Lawgiver would perhaps
have been better expressed with less attention to decorative effect. We
are not shocked at the archaic effigy, because we realize that reverence
underlies its simplicity. In modern work it is otherwise. Artistic
intention, admirable or not from the æsthetic point of view, is
responsible for the introduction into our churches of delineations of
all that Christians hold sacred so ridiculous, it is a wonder devout
worshippers allow them to be there. The excuse for glass is its
decorative effect. Its value is in its colour. A Saint in stained glass
(to mention no higher Person) stands in a window for just so much
colour: is not that rather a degradation of the saint?

In the second place, apart altogether from what has been called the
literary interest (which no one will dispute) there is in figure work a
charm, altogether artistic, in the very unexpectedness of the
colour-patches you get in it, not accidental quite, but in many
instances at least, inspired by accident. The besetting sin of ornament
is obviousness; it has a way of distributing itself too symmetrically
and evenly, of laying its secret bare to the most casual glance. We see
at once there is nothing to find out in it, and our interest drops to
zero.

In figure design, on the contrary, there are breaks even in the very
best balanced scheme; there is always something unexpected, unforeseen,
something to kindle interest; in fact, the difficulty is, there, to
distribute the composition evenly enough. The question arises whether
this sameness, and consequent tameness, of ornament, the way the points
of intended interest recur with irritating frequency and regularity,
resolving themselves into mere spots--whether this defect is inherent in
ornament, and inseparable from it.

Proof that it is not is afforded by heraldry, distinctly a branch of
ornamental design, in which, for precisely the same reasons as in figure
work, we get just that inevitable deviation from system, and more
especially from symmetry, which seems necessary to the salvation of
ornament. Where by happy chance an ornamental window has been patched
with glass not belonging to it, or where portions of it have been
misplaced, we get similar relief from monotony. Here the unexpectedness
of contrast, colour, and so on, is accidental; in heraldry it is, in the
nature of things, unforeseen of the artist, and unavoidable. May not
similar results be obtained of set purpose and design? Surely they may.
Were it otherwise, it would be worth falling back now and then upon
haphazard, and letting colour come as it might.

Happily there is no occasion for that feeble sort of fatalism. Given a
colourist and a man with that sense of distribution (whether of line,
mass, or colour) which makes the artist, what is to hinder him from
deliberately planning so much of surprise as may be necessary to tickle
the appetite for the ornamental? The ogre in the path is what we call
economy. Because ornament can without doubt be more cheaply executed
than figure work, it is taken for granted that it must be reserved by
rights for cheap work. What else is there to recommend it? And, that
being so, ornament being but padding, by all means, it is argued, let it
be not only cheap but of the cheapest!

Design, moreover, if it be worth having at all, is costly, and there is
clearly thrift in repeating the same pattern, and even one unit of it,
over and over again. The practice of saving design in this way has
become at last so much a matter of course, that no one thinks of
designing an ornamental window, as a whole, without repetition of
pattern--except the artist; and with him it is a fond desire which he
hopes perhaps some day to fulfil--at his own expense.

Under circumstances such as these, what wonder ornament is monotonous?
It could not well be otherwise. But these conditions are not in the
nature of things. Ornamental design has subsided because no one asks
for, cares for, or encourages, ornament. It needs only to be in the
hands of an artist--not necessarily a Holbein, but just a Rhodian
potter, a Persian carpet weaver, a mediæval carver, or a nameless
glazier--to be worthy of its modest place in art.

Considering the costliness of good figure work and the absolute
worthlessness of bad, considering the way in which glass lends itself
especially to ornament, considering how in ornament the qualities most
necessary to decorative effect and most characteristic of the material
can be obtained, surely the wiser policy would be to do what can so
readily be done. When glass lends itself so kindly to ornament it seems
a sin to neglect it. Is it quite past praying for, that there may still
be a future for windows merely ornamental, which shall yet satisfy the
sense of beauty?



BOOK III.



CHAPTER XXVII.

THE CHARACTERISTICS OF STYLE.


What are the characteristics of the various styles in glass? How does
one tell the period of a window? These are not questions that can be
fully answered in the short space of a chapter, which is all that can
here be devoted to it; but it may help those to whom a window tells
nothing of its date, briefly to mention the characteristics according to
which we class it as belonging to this period or that. With a view to
conciseness and to convenience of reference it will be best to catalogue
these characteristics rather than to describe them.

Any subdivision of glass into "styles" must be more or less arbitrary.
One style merges into the other, and the characteristics of each
overlap, so to speak. The most convenient lines of demarcation are the
centuries; for, as it happens, the changes in manner do take place more
or less towards the century end. The one broad distinction is between
Gothic and Renaissance.

Gothic may best be divided into three periods--viz., Thirteenth century
and before, Fourteenth century, and Fifteenth century and after.

_Thirteenth century glass_, commonly called "Early English," or, as the
case may be, "Early French," may as well be taken to include, for our
purpose, what little remains of twelfth century or Norman work. It
includes naturally Early German work, which is Romanesque and not Gothic
in character.

_Fourteenth century glass_ belongs to the Middle or Transitional Gothic
period. We call it "Decorated," for the inadequate reason that its
detail is naturalistic.

_Fifteenth century glass_, with us "Perpendicular," in France
"Flamboyant," in Germany "Interpenetrated," may, for convenience' sake,
be taken to include so much of Gothic as may be found lingering in the
sixteenth century.

The _Sixteenth century_ is more properly the period of the Renaissance.
It is better not to apply to it the Italian term "cinque-cento," since
the greater part of it is not of the purely Italian character which that
would imply.

_Seventeenth century glass_ is to be distinguished from that of the
sixteenth mainly inasmuch as it shows more markedly that decadence which
had already begun to set in before the year 1600. It may be conveniently
described as Late Renaissance.

[Illustration: 213. ST. REMI, REIMS.]

_Eighteenth century glass_ is not of sufficient account to be classed.

It will be seen that the dates above given do not quite coincide with
those of Winston, who gives Early English to 1280, Decorated to 1380,
and Perpendicular to 1530. There is here no thought of impugning his
accuracy; but it seems more convenient not to distinguish a new style
until the work begins markedly to differ from what had gone before,
especially when the marked difference happens conveniently to coincide
with the beginning of a new century; and Winston himself says of
Perpendicular work (and implies as much of Decorated) that the style
"can hardly be said to have become thoroughly established" until the
beginning of the new century.

We have thus a century of Middle Gothic, the fourteenth century. What
goes before is Early Gothic or Romanesque, as the case may be; what
comes after is Late Gothic, cooeval for a quarter of a century or more
with the Renaissance.

[Illustration: 214. DETAIL FROM MEDALLION WINDOWS AT CANTERBURY.]


EARLY GLASS.

The first thing which strikes one in Early Glass is either its deep
rich, jewelled colour (Canterbury, Chartres), or its sober, silvery,
greyness (Salisbury; Five Sisters, York). Exception to this alternative
occurs mainly in very early ornamental glass (_circa._ 1300--S. Denis;
S. Remi, Reims; Angers), in which white and colour are somewhat evenly
mixed. Early figure work occurs also occasionally in colour on a white
ground. The design of the richer class of windows consists largely of
figure work. The design of "grisaille" windows consists mainly of
ornamental pattern.

_Composition._--Rich windows are of three kinds: medallion windows, rose
windows, figure and canopy windows. Jesse windows form an exception.
(Chapter XXIX.)

1. _Medallion Windows_ are the most characteristic of the period
(Chapter XII.). These contain figure subjects, on a quite small scale,
within medallion shapes set in ornament (Canterbury, Chartres, etc.).

[Illustration: 215. MOSAIC DIAPER.]

In the very earliest medallion windows (Angers, Poitiers) the ordered
scheme of the medallioned window is sometimes interrupted by subjects
not strictly enclosed in medallions. Or else, perhaps (Chartres), the
subjects take the form of panels one above the other--they can scarcely
be called medallions--with little or no ornament between.

After the first few years of the thirteenth century, however, the figure
medallions (circles, quatrefoils, etc.) occur, as a rule, one above the
other throughout the length of the light, with perhaps a boss of
ornament between; the interstices being filled, in English glass with
ornamental scrollwork, in French with geometric diaper (opposite).

[Illustration: 216. DETAIL OF MEDALLION WINDOW, CHARTRES.]

In the broad windows of Norman churches (pages 123, 124) the medallions
are proportionately large, and are subdivided into four or five
divisions, each of which is devoted to a separate picture. In our
narrower lancet lights there is no occasion for that.

[Illustration: 217. BARS IN MEDALLION WINDOWS.]

The figures in medallion subjects are few and far apart, standing
comparatively clear-cut against a plain background (page 325); compacter
groups indicate a later period. Landscape is symbolised rather than
represented by a conventional tree or so; a town by an arch or two, a
battlemented wall, or the like.

Medallions are framed by lines of colour and beaded bands of white, but
they do not, as a rule, separate themselves very markedly from their
ornamental surroundings. The effect is one rather indeterminate glory of
intense colour.

Except in quite the earliest medallion windows, the strong iron bars
supporting the glass are, as a rule, bent (above), to follow the outline
of the medallions. That was done in no other period.

2. _Rose Windows_ occur mainly in French churches. They are a variation
upon the medallion window. A great Rose window (Chartres, Bourges, etc.)
may be regarded as a series of radiating medallion lights, with subjects
relatively fewer in number, and a greater proportion of pattern work.
Occasionally they consist of pattern work altogether. Smaller Roses (the
only form of tracery met with in quite Early work) contain very often a
central circular medallion subject, the cusps or foils round it being
occupied with ornament, all in rich colour, even though the lights below
it be in grisaille.

3. _Figure and Canopy Windows_ (page 40) are more proper to the
clerestory and triforium of a church, but they are not entirely confined
to a far-off position.

With regard to them it should be mentioned that figures under canopies,
sitting, or more often standing--one above the other in long, narrow
lights--occur throughout the Gothic periods, and even in Renaissance
glass. The characteristic thing about the Early ones is the stiffness
and comparative grotesqueness of the figures and the modesty of the
canopy. This last is of small dimensions. It may be merely a trefoiled
arch (page 40). Usually it is more architectural (page 46), gabled, with
a little roofing, and perhaps a small tower or two rising above, not
beautiful. It is in fairly strong colours. It is so little conspicuous
that it is not at first sight always distinguishable from the background
to the figure. Occasionally the figure has no canopy at all. The saint
stands front face, straight up in his niche, in a constrained and
cramped position, occupying its full width, which is obviously
insufficient. His feet rest in an impossible manner upon a label bearing
his name; or, if that be inscribed upon a label in his hand, or on the
background behind him, then he stands upon a little mound of green to
represent the earth (page 40).

Figure and canopy alike are archaic in design, and rudely drawn. It is
seldom that a figure subject on a smaller scale is introduced below the
standing figure, as was frequently the case in later work. Groups of
figures are characteristically confined to medallion windows.

_The Border_ is a feature in Early glass. It is broad. In medallion
windows it measures sometimes as much as one-fourth the width of the
light. It takes up, that is to say, perhaps half the area of the window.
It consists of foliated ornament similar in character to that between
the medallions. Very broad borders occasionally include smaller figure
medallions. In figure and canopy windows the borders are less, and
simpler. Sometimes they consist merely of broad bands of colour
interrupted by rosettes of other colours. Circumstances of proportion,
and so on, influence the width of the border; but a broad border is
characteristic of the Early period.

[Illustration: 218. LE MANS.]

In Rose windows the border is of less account, and is confined, as a
rule, to the outer ring of lights, or, it may be, to their outer edge.

_Detail._--Ornamental detail is severely conventional. In very Early
work (page 327) it has rather the character of Romanesque ornament, with
straplike stalks interlacing, often enriched by a beaded, zig-zag, or
other pattern, which may be either painted upon it or picked out of
solid brown.

Early in the thirteenth century foliage assumes the simpler Gothic form,
with cinquefoiled, or more often trefoiled, leafage (as here shown).

[Illustration: 219. CHARTRES.]

When it begins to be more naturalistic it is a sign of transition to the
Decorated period. In Germany something of Romanesque flavour lingered
far into the thirteenth century (page 330). There is properly no Early
Gothic period there. Heraldry is modestly introduced into Early glass.
The Donor is occasionally represented on quite a small scale in the
lower part of a window, his offering in his hand; or he is content to be
represented by a small shield of arms.

_Colour._--The glass in Early windows is uneven in substance, and,
consequently, in colour. This is very plainly seen in the "white" glass,
which shades off, according to its thickness, from greenish or
yellowish-white to bottle colour. The colour lies also sometimes in
streaks of lighter and darker. This is especially so in red glass. The
shades of colour most usually employed for backgrounds are blue and
ruby. White occurs, but only occasionally.

[Illustration: 220. AUXERRE.]

[Illustration: 221. PATCHWORK OF GRISAILLE, SALISBURY.]

The Early palette consists of:--

White, greenish, and rather clouded; red, rubylike, often streaky; blue,
deep sapphire to palest grey-blue, oftenest deep; turquoise-blue, of
quite different quality, inclining to green; yellow, fairly strong, but
never hot; green, pure and emerald-like, or deep and even low in tone,
but only occasionally inclining to olive; purple-brown, reddish or
brownish, not violet; flesh tint, actually lighter and more pinkish
shades of this same purple-brown. In very early work the flesh is
inclined to be browner.

[Illustration: 222. S. KUNIBERT, COLOGNE.]

It must be remembered that, though the palette of the first glaziers was
restricted, the proceeding of the glass-makers was so little scientific
that they had no very great control over their manufacture. No two pots
of glass, therefore, came out alike. Hence a great variety of shades of
glass, though produced from a few simple recipes. They might by accident
produce, once in a way, almost any colour. A pot of ruby sometimes
turned out greenish-black. Still, the colours above mentioned
predominate in Early work, and are clearly those aimed at.

_Workmanship._--The glazing of an Early window is strictly a mosaic of
small pieces of glass. Each separate colour in it is represented by a
separate piece of glass, or several pieces.

The great white eyes, for example, of big clerestory figures are
separate pieces of white glass, rimmed with lead, and held in place by
connecting strips of lead, which give them often very much the
appearance of spectacles (page 40). In work on a sufficiently large
scale the hair of the head and beard are also glazed in white, or
perhaps in some dark colour, distinct from the brownish-pink flesh tint
peculiar to the period (same page). No large pieces of glass occur.

[Illustration: 223. S. KUNIBERT, COLOGNE.]

Upon examination the window proves to be netted over with lines of lead
jointing, much of which is lost in the outlines of the design.

In large clerestory figures and the like, masses of one colour occur,
but they are made up of innumerable little bits of glass, by no means
all of one shade of colour; whence the richness in tone.

[Illustration: 224. S. JEAN-AUX-BOIS.]

_Painting._--In Early glass painting plays a very subordinate part. Only
one pigment is used, and that not by way of colour, but to paint out the
light and define form.

Details of figure and ornament are traced in firm strong brush lines.

Lines mark the exaggerated expression of the face, the close folds of
the spare drapery wrapped tightly round the figure, the serration of
foliage, and so on (pages 33, 37, 324). Lines, in the form of sweeping
brush strokes or cross-hatching, are used also to emphasise such shading
(not very much) as may be indicated in thirteenth century work, or
perhaps it should rather be said that the lines of shading are
supplemented very often by a coat of thin brown paint, not always very
easily detected on the deep-coloured glass of the period.

_White Windows, or "Grisaille."_--Grisaille assumes in France the
character of interlacing strapwork all in white. Sometimes this is quite
without paint (page 25). Plain work of the kind occurs also with us; but
it is dangerous to give a date to simple glazing. That at Salisbury
(page 26) is probably not of the very earliest.

In France, as with us, such strapwork is associated with foliated
detail, traced in strong outline upon the white glass and defined by a
background of cross-hatched lines which go for a greyer tint (above).

After the beginning of the thirteenth century, this strapwork is
sometimes in colour, or points of colour are introduced in the shape of
rosettes, etc., and in the border (pages 137, 138).

In England there is from the first usually a certain amount of coloured
glass in grisaille windows (pages 141, 332). Sometimes there is a
considerable quantity of it (Five Sisters, York); but it never appears
to be much. The effect is always characteristically grey and silvery.

[Illustration: 225. GRISAILLE, SALISBURY.]

So long as the painted foliage keeps closely within the formal lines
of strapwork, etc., it is, at all events in English glass, a sign of
comparatively early thirteenth century work.

Later in the century the scroll winds rather more freely about the
window (page 143).

The omission of the cross-hatched background and the more natural
rendering of the foliation (page 386) announce the approach to the
Decorated period.

Figure subjects in colour, planted, as it were, upon grisaille or quarry
lights (Poitiers, Amiens), and grisaille borders to windows with figures
in rich colour (Auxerre), are of exceptional occurrence.

Winston gives the year 1280 as the limit of the Early period, but there
seems no absolute reason for drawing the line at that date. The use of
stain, which was the beginning of a new departure in glass, does not
pronounce itself before the fourteenth century. It seems, therefore,
more convenient to include the last twenty years of the century in the
first period, and to call it thirteenth century, accepting the more
naturalistic type of foliage, when it occurs, as sign of transition;
for, apart from that, the later thirteenth century work is not very
markedly different from what was done before 1280.


FOURTEENTH CENTURY.

[Illustration: 226. S. URBAIN, TROYES.]

_Decorated or Intermediate Gothic._--Decorated glass grows
characteristically livelier in colour than Early glass; at first it
becomes warmer, owing to the use of more yellow, then lighter, owing to
the use of white. It does not divide itself so obviously into coloured
and grisaille.

The figure subjects include, as time goes on, more and more white glass.
The grisaille contains more colour.

Figures and figure subjects are now very commonly used in combination
with grisaille ornament in the same window. That is a new and
characteristic departure (page 159).

_Composition._--Figure windows occur, indeed, with little or no
ornament, in which case the subjects are piled one above the other, in
panels rather than medallions, or under canopies. When the canopies are
insignificant the result is one apparently compact mass of small figure
work, as deep and rich perhaps in colour (S. Sebald's, Nuremberg) as an
Early medallion window; but the colour is not so equally distributed; it
occurs more in patches.

Decorated canopies, however, are usually, after the first few years, of
sufficient size to assert themselves as very conspicuous patches of
rather brassy yellow, which in a window of several lights (and windows
now almost invariably consist of two or more lights) form a band (or if
there are two or more tiers of canopies, a series of bands) across the
window.

In the case of grisaille windows also, figures or figure subjects are
introduced either in the form of shaped panels or under little canopies,
and take the form of a band or bands of comparatively rich colour across
a comparatively light window.

When these canopies are themselves pronounced, the window shows
alternate bands of figures (rich), canopies (yellowish), and ornamental
pattern (whitish). In any case these horizontal bands across the window
mark departure from the earlier style.

_Canopies._--Canopies occur now over subjects as well as single figures.

The canopy is designed in flat elevation. Any indication of perspective
betokens the end of the period. It has broadish shafts, usually for the
most part white, which terminate in pinnacles (page 155). It has seldom
any architectural base: the figures stand upon grass or pavement. It has
usually a three-cusped arch, and above that a pointed gable decorated
with crockets and ending in a finial. Crockets and finial are usually in
strong, brassy yellow. Above are pinnacles and shrinework in white and
colour, including as a rule a fair amount of yellow.

It may rise to a great height, dwarfing the figure beneath it. This
occurs very especially in German work.

Sometimes the most conspicuous thing in the window is this
disproportionate canopy. Its very disproportion is characteristic of the
period.

In German work one great brassy canopy will frequently be found
stretching right across the several lights of the window, over-arching a
single subject. This triptich-like composition will occupy, perhaps,
two-thirds of the height of the window. The background behind the
pinnacles of this canopy may be either of one colour or of geometric
diaper in mosaic (elsewhere characteristic of the Early period),
finished off by a more or less arbitrary line--a cusped arch, for
instance--above which is white glass. This kind of canopy has, by way of
exception, an architectural base.

[Illustration: 227. CHÂLONS.]

Another German practice is to fill the window with huge circular subject
medallions, occupying the entire width of the window, and intersected by
the mullions.

Single-light windows have sometimes a central elongated medallion or
panel subject (without canopy), above and below which is ornamental
grisaille.

_Borders._--All windows have, as a rule, borders; but they are narrower
than in Early work.

Tracery lights, which now form a conspicuous part of the window, are, as
a rule, also each separately bordered, often with a still narrower
border in colour, or it may be only a line of colour.

Grisaille windows have usually coloured borders, foliaged or heraldic
(as above). The border does not necessarily frame the light at its base;
very often there is an inscription there. Between the coloured border
and the stonework is still invariably a marginal line of white glass.

[Illustration: 228. EARLY DECORATED FIGURE, TROYES.]

Sometimes, more especially in tracery, this white line is broad enough
to have a pattern painted upon it, in which case there is no coloured
border. Or this white border line may be enriched at intervals by
rosettes or blocks of colour upon it. Or, again, it may be in part
tinted with pale yellow stain.

Some such border is usually carried round each separate tracery light,
with the result that Decorated tracery may usually be distinguished at a
glance from later work by a certain lack of breadth about it.

There is no need to say more about Decorated tracery, seeing that the
idea of this epitome is to enable the amateur to form some opinion as to
the period of a window, and not to prompt the designer. The geometric
character of the stonework proclaims the period, and, unless there is
something in the design of the glass to indicate a later date, it may be
taken to belong to it. It cannot well be earlier if it fits.

_Stain._--Yellow stain is proof positive that the glass is not much
earlier than the fourteenth century, for it is only about that time that
the process of staining white glass yellow was discovered. The
occurrence therefore of white and colour upon the same piece of
glass--_i.e._, not glazed up with it, but stained upon it, is indicative
of Middle or Late Gothic.

Stained yellow is always purer and clearer than pot-metal; when pale it
inclines to lemon, when dark to orange. It is best described as golden.
In comparison with it pot-metal yellow is brownish or brassy.

This yellow stain warms and brightens Decorated windows, especially
those in grisaille. It naturally does away with a certain amount of
glazing, for colour is now not entirely mosaic. Bands of yellow ornament
in white windows, if stained, have lead on one side of them at most.

The hair of angels comes to be stained yellow upon white glass, which
towards the fifteenth century takes the place of the flesh tint.

_Figures._--Figures are still rather rudely drawn. They do not always
fill out their niches, which, indeed, frequently overpower them. In
attitude they pose and would be graceful. There is some swing about
their posture, but it is often exaggerated. Drapery becomes more
voluminous, fuller and freer, as shown opposite.

At the back of the figure hangs commonly a screen diapered
damask-fashion--the diaper often picked out of solid paint.

_Grisaille._--The distinguishing characteristics of Decorated grisaille
are fully described in the chapter dealing with it. It has usually a
coloured border. The foliated pattern no longer follows the lines of the
white or coloured strapwork, but it does not interlace with the straps
(pages 163, 333).

Coloured bosses adorn the centre of the grisaille panels. Frequently
these take the form of heraldic shields, planted, as it were, upon the
grisaille.

[Illustration: 229. S. OUEN, ROUEN.]

The practice of cross-hatching the background to grisaille foliage dies
out in France and England. In Germany it survives throughout the period;
or, it may be, the background is coated with solid paint, and the
cross-hatching is in white lines scratched out of that.

_Naturalism._--The foliation of the ornament is now everywhere
naturalistic. That is the surest sign of the period, at first the only
sign of change. In grisaille patterns and in coloured borders you can
identify the rose, the vine, the oak, the ivy, the maple, and so on
(pages 162, 166, 168).

In Germany, the design of ornamental windows consists often of
naturalistic foliage in white and colour upon a coloured ground, the
whole rich, but not so rich as Early glass (pages 171 _et seq._). There
also occur windows stronger in colour than ordinary grisaille, designed
on lines more geometric than those of French or English glass of the
period (page 170).

[Illustration: 230. 14TH CENTURY GERMAN.]

_Colour._--Glass gets less streaky, evener, and sometimes lighter in
tint, as time goes on. Flesh tint gets paler and pinker, and at last
white; "white" glass gets more nearly white.

Much blue and ruby continue to be used; but more green is introduced,
and more yellow, often the two in combination. In fact, there is a
leaning towards combinations of green and yellow, rather than the red
and blue so characteristic of Early glass. Green is frequently used for
backgrounds. The pure bright emerald-like green gives way to greens
inclining more to olive. In some German windows, green, yellow, and
purple-brown predominate. Occasionally, in the latter part of the
century, pale blue is modified by yellow stain upon it, which gives a
greenish tint.

_Painting._--Outline is still used; but it becomes more delicate.
Shading is still smeared on with a brush. But in the latter half of the
century it was the practice to stipple it, so as to soften the edges and
give it a granular texture. This is not quite the same thing as the
"stipple or matt shading" described on page 64, where the glass was
entirely coated with a stippled tint and the lights brushed out.

[Illustration: 231. WELLS.]

Decorated glass is plentiful in England and Germany, not so abundant in
France.


FIFTEENTH CENTURY.

_Perpendicular Glass._--By the fifteenth century the glass painter had
quite made up his mind in favour of more light. He makes use of glass in
larger sheets, and of lighter and brighter colour. His white is
especially purer than before, and he uses it in much greater
quantities.

[Illustration: 232. FIGURES, S. MARY'S, ROSS.]

So decidedly is this so, that a typical fifteenth century window strikes
you as a screen of silvery-white glass in which are set pictures or
patches of more or less brilliant, rather than intensely deep, colour.

_Design._--Design takes, for the most part, the form of figure and
canopy windows, schemed somewhat on the same lines as in the Decorated
period--the subjects, that is to say, cross the window in horizontal
bands.

But there is so much white glass in the canopy work--it is practically
all in white (as stone) touched with stain (as gilding)--and it so
entirely surrounds the figure subjects, that you do not so much notice
the horizontal bands (into which the subjects really fall when you begin
to dissect the design) as the mass of white in which they are embedded.

[Illustration: 233. PERPENDICULAR CANOPY.]

_Canopies._--The larger Perpendicular windows are now crossed by stone
transoms, so that very long lights do not, as a rule, occur.

Each light has a canopy, without any enclosing border (233). The canopy
stands, as it were, in the window opening, almost filling it, except
that, above, behind the topmost pinnacles, are glimpses of red or blue
background, not separated from the stonework by so much as a line of
white, heretofore of almost invariable occurrence. The hood and base of
canopy are shown in misunderstood perspective, indicating usually a
three-sided projection (page 342).

Its shafts and base rest upon the ground, on which are painted grass and
foliage, all in white and stain. When standing figures occupy the place
of honour, the base may very likely include a small subject,
illustrative of a scene in the life of the personage depicted above. Or
the base may be a sort of pedestal (page 179).

The figures usually stand upon a chequered mosaic pavement in black and
white, or white and stain, not very convincingly foreshortened (page
185).

In the canopy may be little windows of pot-metal colour, and in the base
perhaps a spot or two of colour; but, whatever the amount of pot-metal
(never much) or of stain (often a good deal), the effect is always
silvery-white; and as time goes on the canopy becomes more solidly and
massively white. The groining at the back of the niche just above the
figures is a feature of the full-blown style. The vault is usually
stained, less often glazed in pot-metal. There is more scope for this
coloured groining in windows where the canopy runs through several
lights. That is more common in France and Germany than with us. In
English work each light has, as a rule, its own canopy.

In France, and more especially in Germany, the canopies are not seldom
in yellow instead of white, golden in effect instead of silvery.
Sometimes white and yellow canopies alternate (Nuremberg, Munich). The
German canopy is often more florid, and less distinctly architectural
than the English.

Perpendicular canopies are more in proportion to the figures under them
than Decorated. Usually they are important enough to be a feature in the
window, if not the feature. Sometimes, however, they are quite small and
insignificant (East window, York), in which event the subjects appear
more like a series of small panels, one above the other. In that case
there is likely to be a large amount of white glass in the subjects
themselves (pages 252, 339). Possibly the background is white. In any
case, there is usually a fair share of white glass in the drapery of
figures. The faces also are almost invariably white, often with stained
hair; and this white flesh is characteristic of the period.

Until the turn of the century, landscape or architectural accessories
are, to a large extent, in white and stain, against a blue or ruby
ground.

Variety of colour in the background (or a further amount of white) is
introduced by means of a screen of damask behind the figure, shoulder
high, above which alone appears the usual blue or ruby background,
diapered. The screen may be of any colour: purple-brown is not uncommon.
When scale permits, the damask pattern is often glazed in colours, or in
white and stain upon pot-metal yellow.

[Illustration: 234. FIGURE AND CANOPY WINDOWS, BOURGES.]

[Illustration: 235. FAIRFORD.]

Heraldic shields are more conspicuous than ever in the design. Donors
and their patron saints are often important personages in the foreground
of the picture.

_Tracery._--Tracery lights being now more of the same shape as the
lights below, the glass is designed on much the same plan. That is to
say, they also contain little figures under canopies. These are often
entirely, or almost entirely, in white and stain, only here and there a
point of colour showing in the background, more especially about their
heads.

Trefoiled, quatrefoiled, three-sided, or other openings not adapted to
canopy work, have usually foliated ornament in white and stain, with
border line of white and stain, the background painted in solid brown.
Inscribed scrolls and emblematical devices in white and stain also occur
in the smaller tracery lights.

_Grisaille._--Grisaille takes almost invariably the form of quarries.
The pattern of the quarries consists ordinarily of just a rosette or
some such spot in the centre of the glass, delicately outlined and
filled in with stain. A band of canopied figures sometimes crosses
quarry windows, the pinnacles of the canopies breaking into the quarries
above. Figures occur also often in white and stain, against a quarry
ground, without canopy, standing perhaps on a bracket, or on a mere
label or inscription band (York Minster). Occasionally we get subjects
altogether in white and stain, without quarry glazing. In Germany
unpainted roundels, or circular discs of white glass, take the place of
quarries (page 292).

_Detail of Ornament._--The detail of Perpendicular foliage is no longer
very naturalistic; it has often the appearance of being embossed or
otherwise elaborated. It is most commonly in white with yellow stalks.

_Borders._--The border is no longer the rule, except in quarry windows.
It is now very rarely used to frame canopies. Where it occurs it is
usually in the form of a "block" border, differing only from that of
the Decorated period by the character of the painted detail. Borders all
in white and stain also occur.

The border does not follow the deeply cut foils of the window head.
These are occupied each by its separate round of glass painted with a
crown, star, lion's head, or other such device, in white and stain,
against which the coloured border stops.

_Stain._--Abundant use of beautiful golden stain is typical of the
period. Stain is always varied, sometimes shading off by subtle degrees
from palest lemon to deep orange. The deliberate use of two distinct
tones of stain, as separate tints, say of a damask pattern, argues a
near approach to the sixteenth century. So does the use of stain upon
pot-metal yellow.

Other signs of the mature style are:--

1. The very careful choice of varied and unevenly coloured glass to
suggest shading or local colour.

2. The use of curious pieces of accidentally varied ruby to represent
marble, and the like.

3. The abrasion of white spots or other pattern on flashed blue (the
abrasion of white from ruby begins with the second half of the century).

4. The introduction of distant landscape in perspective, and especially
the representation of clouds in the sky, and other indications of
attempted atmospheric effect.

5. The treatment of several lights as one picture space, without canopy.

_Colour._--White glass is cooler and more silvery, more purely white.
Red glass is less crimson, often approaching more to a scarlet colour.
Blue glass becomes lighter, greyer; sometimes it is of steely quality,
sometimes it approaches to pale purple. More varieties of purple-brown
and purple are used. Purer pink occurs.

_Drawing._--In the fifteenth century the archaic period of drawing is
outgrown. Figures are often admirably drawn, more especially towards the
end of the period, at which time the folds of drapery are made much of.

_Painting._--Painting is much more delicate. The method adopted is that
of stippling (page 64).

Figure and ornament alike are carefully shaded, quarry patterns and
narrow painted borders excepted.

[Illustration: 236. SCRAPS OF LATE GOTHIC DETAIL.]

For a long while painters hesitated to obscure the glass much; they
shaded very delicately, and used hatchings, and a sort of scribble of
lines, to deepen the shadows. As a result the shading appears sometimes
weak, but the glass is always brilliant.

[Illustration: 237. FAIRFORD.]

With the progress of the century stronger stipple shading was used; more
roundness and greater depth of shadow was thus achieved, at
proportionate cost of silvery whiteness and brilliancy in the glass.

The characteristic of the later technique was that it depended less upon
mosaic, and more upon paint.

Leads were not used unless they were constructionally unavoidable; and
it was sought to avoid them. The nimbus, for example, was glazed in one
piece with the head (page 189), stained perhaps, or with a pattern in
stain upon it, to distinguish it from the face; or it showed white
against the yellow hair.

From the lead lines alone of an Early window, and of many a Decorated
one, you could read the design quite plainly. The later the period the
less that is so. By the end of the fifteenth century the lead lines
convey very often little or no idea of the picture, which they hold
together but no longer outline. Canopies, for example, are sometimes
leaded in square quarries, without regard to the drawing, except where
that must be (page 342).

A pretty sure sign of period is afforded by the way the leads give, or
do not give, the design. Exceptions are mentioned on page 73. Where
leads seem to occur more or less as it happens, as though they might
have been an after-thought, that is most positive proof of Late work.


SIXTEENTH CENTURY.

Renaissance glass does not, like Gothic, divide itself into periods. It
was at its best when it was still in touch with mediæval tradition.

[Illustration: 238. FRENCH RENAISSANCE, MOSAIC.]

The finest work in the new manner must be ascribed therefore to the
first half of the sixteenth century. After that its merits belong more
to picture than to glass.

Apart from details of architecture, ornament (as above), costume and so
on, which at once proclaim the style, it is difficult to distinguish
between Gothic and Renaissance glass of the very early sixteenth
century. The distinction does not in fact exist; for Gothic traditions
survive even in work belonging, according to the evidence of its detail,
to the Renaissance.

_Design._--Design takes now mainly the pictorial direction. It spreads
itself more invariably over the whole face of the window. The canopy,
for example, is seldom confined to a single light.

_Canopies._--The canopy scheme is at first not widely removed from
Gothic precedent, although the detail may be pronouncedly Renaissance.
It frames the subject as before; but it is less positively white. It is
enriched with much more yellow stain; and the mass of white and stain is
broken by festoons and wreaths of foliage, fruit, and flowers,
medallions with coloured ground, ribbons, or other such features, in
pot-metal colour. A simple François Ier canopy is given on page 349.

Sometimes these canopies consist rather of arabesque ornament than of
anything that can properly be called architectural, in white and yellow
(page 350), or perhaps all in yellow, upon a ground of pot-metal colour
(page 205); that is to say, the setting out of the window and the
technique employed are absolutely Gothic, and perhaps not even very late
Gothic, whilst the detail is altogether Renaissance in design. This
mosaic manner (as at Auch) bespeaks, of course, the early years of the
Renaissance.

Another sure sign of lingering Gothic influence is where the round arch
is fringed with cusping.

The more typically Renaissance form of design is where a huge monumental
structure fills the greater part of the window, not canopying a
subject, but having in front of it a figure group (Transept of S.
Gudule, page 71). The foreground figures stand out in dark relief
against the architecture and the sky beyond, seen through the central
arch. Into this grey-blue merges very often a distant landscape, painted
in great part upon the blue, and really seeming to recede into the
distance. The effect of distance is largely obtained by contrast with
the strong shadow of the soffits and sides of the arch seen in
perspective.

We have here four characteristics of Renaissance glass:--

1. The monumental canopy with figures in front of it.

2. Strong contrast of light and shade.

3. Fairly accurate perspective in the architecture.

4. Something like atmospheric effect in the landscape, which is painted
more or less upon the sky.

When in a canopy the shadowed portions of the architecture are glazed in
deep-coloured glass (purple, as a rule), and not darkened by painting,
it indicates the early part of the century. The canopy, instead of being
arched, ends sometimes in a rich frieze and cornice (Church of Brou).
When it is in two stages, enclosing two subjects, the lower one has
naturally this horizontal entablature (Chapel of the Holy Sacrament, S.
Gudule).

A less usual treatment is where the figures do not occupy the
foreground, but are seen through the arch. The subject occupies, in
fact, very much the position of a painted altar-piece in a carved stone
altar.

Foreground figures prove often to be donors and their patron saints. The
head of the window above the great architectural canopy, as it is
convenient to call it, is usually of plain white glass, glazed in
rectangular or diamond quarries (page 71).

A coloured ground above a Renaissance canopy indicates Gothic tradition,
and an Early period therefore (S. Jacques, Liège).

More to the latter half of the century belong the pictorial compositions
in which architecture, more or less proper to the subject, fills great
part of the window, the foremost arches adapting themselves, sometimes,
to the stonework. In this case the architecture is in white glass, more
or less obscured by painted shadow; and pot-metal colour occurs only in
the figures, where it is perhaps quite rich, in occasional columns of
coloured marble, and in a peep of pale blue distance seen through some
window or other opening (page 213).

[Illustration: 239. FRANÇOIS IER CANOPY, LYONS.]

The grey-blue distance has often figures as well as landscape and
architecture painted upon it; to represent verdure it is stained green.
Blue is more usual than white as a ground; but that also occurs,
similarly painted. The not very usual landscape in white, with a blue
sky above, in the windows of King's College Chapel, Cambridge, belongs
to the early part of the century.

_Tracery._--In small windows the subject, or its canopy, is often
carried up into the tracery lights (page 368), or the architecture ends
abruptly and horizontally at the springing of the arch, and the heads of
the lights are treated as part of the tracery.

Tracery lights often contain figure subjects. Very commonly they are
occupied by figures of angels robed in white and stain, or in rich
colour, or with colour only in their wings, playing upon musical
instruments, bearing emblems, scrolls, and so on, all on a coloured
ground (page 280). There occur also, but less frequently, cherubic
heads, portrait medallions, badges, twisted labels, or other devices,
upon a ground of ruby, pale blue, purple, or purple-brown. A purple or
purplish background is of the period.

Coloured grounds are used without borders. White grounds are usually
diapered with clouds.

There is no very distinctive treatment of rose windows. They are filled
as pictorially as they well can be. They contain, perhaps, a central
subject and in the outer lights angels, cherubs, and the like, much as
in other tracery lights.

_Ornament._--The detail of their ornament is a ready means of
distinguishing Renaissance windows. In place of Gothic leafage we have
scrollwork of the marked arabesque or grotesque character derived from
Italy. It needs no description.

Screens and draperies have often patterns in white and stain on ruby and
other coloured grounds, produced by abrading the red and painting and
staining the white thus exposed. The process may be detected by the
absence of intervening lead between the white or yellow and the deep
ground.

Other damask patterns are stained on the coloured glass without
abrasion, yellow on blue giving green, on purple olive, and so on.

Ornamental windows scarcely go beyond quarry work, with a border of
white and stain. Except in quarry windows, borders are seldom used.

Grisaille windows scarcely occur. The little subjects in white and stain
painted upon a single piece of glass, usually circular and framed in
quarries or in a cartouche set in plain glazing (page 352), belong to a
class by themselves.

[Illustration: 240. CHURCH OF S. PETER, COLOGNE.]

_Technique._--In many respects the technique of the Renaissance glass
painter is only a carrying further of the later Gothic means. He uses
more and more white glass, employing it also as a background; he uses
more shades of coloured glass, especially pale blues, greens, and
purples; he chooses his glass more carefully for specific purposes; he
uses more coated glass, and abrades it; he makes greater use of stain,
staining upon all manner of colours--ruby, blue, purple, green--and even
painting in stain, and picking out high lights upon it in white. He
paints delicate work more delicately. Flesh-painting he carries to a
very high point of perfection, more especially in the portraits of
Donors. In strengthening his shadows he eventually gets them muddy. At
first he used to hatch them to get additional strength; eventually he
was not careful always so much as to stipple them. He uses often a
warmer brown pigment for flesh painting, and by-and-by resorts to a
quite reddish tint by way of local colour; he uses large pieces of
glass when he can, and glazes his backgrounds and other large surfaces
in rectangular panes. Above canopies he comes to use pure white glass,
as if to suggest that the canopy is solid, and beyond only atmosphere.

The one quite new departure in sixteenth century technique was the use
of enamel colour (see Chapter VIII.). That began to come into use
towards the middle of the century. When you detect the least touch of
enamel colour in a window, other than the pinkish flesh tint, you may
suspect that it belongs to the second half of the century; when it
seriously affects the design and colour of the window, you may be sure
it does. But it is not until quite the end of the century that mosaic
anywhere practically gives way to enamel painting.

[Illustration: 241. S. JEAN, TROYES, 1678.]

The sixteenth century, therefore, includes, broadly speaking, all that
is best in Renaissance glass and much that is already on the decline.
There is a tide in the affairs of art; and after the full flood of the
Renaissance, sweeping all before it, glazing and glass painting sank to
the very lowest ebb, out of sight in fact of craftsmanship. Only here
and there, by way of rare exception, was good or interesting work any
longer done,--as for example at Troyes, where good traditions, piously
preserved in a family of exceptionally skilful glass painters, were
followed long after they were elsewhere extinct.


SEVENTEENTH CENTURY.

You may recognise seventeenth century work not so much by any new
departure in design (except that it aims more and more at the effect of
an oil picture, and that the portrait of the Donor and his family
constitutes the picture) as by its departure from the old methods, the
methods above described; by the introduction of pure white glass, glazed
in geometric pattern, in the upper half of the window or, it may be, as
a background; by the use of enamel paint instead of coloured glass; by
the abuse of heavy shading (in the vain attempt to get chiaroscuro), and
by a loss, consequently, of the old translucency and brilliancy; by the
aggressiveness of the lead lines (now that it is sought to do as much as
possible without them); by the adoption of thin-coloured glass, toned by
paint, instead of deep pot-metal; by the occurrence of whole panes of
glass coated with solid paint; by the decay of the enamel; and by the
general dilapidation of the window.

[Illustration: 242. CERTOSA IN VAL D'EMA.]

The unlearned must not be misled by the shabbiness of a window, by the
breakages, the disfiguring leads which represent repair, the peeling off
of the paint, and so on, into the supposition that these are signs of
antiquity. On the contrary, the very method of its making was the saving
of Early glass, and Late work owes its vicissitudes largely to the
mistaken process adopted in its execution,--by which you may know it.

It would be beyond the scope of a book about glass to go more thoroughly
into the characteristics of style generally. Enough to indicate what
more especially concerns the subject in hand.

Without some slight acquaintance with the course of art, it will perhaps
be difficult to trace the development of glass design. Historical or
antiquarian knowledge of any kind will make it more easy. Not merely the
character of ornament or architecture, but the details of lettering,
costume, heraldry, give evidence in abundance to those who can read it;
but it is with art and craftsmanship that we have here to do.

The data given in this chapter and throughout are derived from the study
of old work. Winston and other authorities have been referred to only to
corroborate impressions gained by personal experience,--the experience
only of a designer, a workman, a lover of glass, professing to no more
learning than a student must in the course of study acquire.
Nevertheless these few notes on what is characteristic in design and
workmanship, may, it is hoped, be helpful to artists, craftsmen,
students, and lovers of art, and perhaps sufficient for their guidance.



CHAPTER XXVIII.

STYLE IN MODERN GLASS (A POSTSCRIPT).


It is easy, and it is only too common a thing, for the designer to
depend for inspiration over much upon old work; but until he knows what
has been done he is not fully equipped for his trade.

Moreover, a workman skilled only in his craft may be prolific in good
work: one, on the other hand, learned only in archæology, is, in the
nature of things, sterile. He may know as much about old glass as
Winston, and fail as utterly even to direct design a-right as he did at
Glasgow. The Munich windows there are glaring evidence as to what a
learned antiquary and devoted glass-lover can countenance. Too surely
the fire of archæological zeal warps a man's artistic judgment.

What, then, about historic style? Are we to disregard it in our work?
That question may be answered by another: What about old work? Old work,
it is argued, should be our guide. Well, old work preaches no adherence
to past styles. It went its own way, in delightful unconsciousness that
the notion could ever occur to any one deliberately to go back to a
manner long since out of vogue; and when the idea of a Renaissance did
occur to the artist, he very soon made it something quite different from
the thing he set out to revive--if ever that was his deliberate
intention.

It is too lightly assumed that "the styles" are there, ready made for
us, and that all we have to do is to make our choice between them, and
take the nearest to a fit we can find. So many of us only learn to copy,
whereas the whole use of copying is to learn. Artists study style for
information, not authority.

The truth is, no style of old glass is fashioned to our use. Early
Gothic glass has most to teach us with regard to the mosaic treatment of
the material, and perhaps also about breadth and simplicity of design;
but when it comes to figure drawing and painting, here is surely no
model for a nineteenth century draughtsman. Renaissance work has most to
teach in the way of painting and pictorial treatment; but it is not an
exemplar of workmanlike and considerate handling of glass.

Because Early work was badly drawn, because Decorated was
ill-proportioned, because Perpendicular was enshrined in
stone-suggesting canopy work, because Renaissance was apt to depend too
much upon finish, because seventeenth century work was overburdened with
paint; must a man, therefore, according to the style of the building for
which his work is destined, make it rude, misproportioned, stonelike,
ultra-finished, or over-painted?

It happens that Early figure work in glass was mostly in deep rich
colour. Are we to have no figures, therefore, in grisaille? It happens
that later glass was, at its best, delicate and silvery in effect. Are
we, therefore, to have no rich windows any more? Thirteenth century
pictures were diminutive in scale. Are we to have no larger pictures
ever? Sixteenth century subjects spread themselves over the whole
window. Are we never to frame our glass pictures? And as to that frame,
are we to choose once and for all the ornamental details of this period
or that, or the formula of design adopted at a given time?

Whether in the matter of technique or treatment, of colour or design, no
one style of old glass is enough for us. What does an historic style
mean? Partly it means that during such and such years such and such
forms were in fashion; partly it means that by that time technique had
reached such and such a point, and no further. Must we rest there? If at
a certain period in the history of design the scope of the glass painter
was limited, his art rude, shall we limit ourselves in a like manner? If
at another it was debased, ought we to degrade our design, just because
the building into which our work is to go is of that date, or pretends
to be? It was the merest accident that in the thirteenth century drawing
was stiff and design more downright than refined, that the appliances of
the glazier were simple, and the technique of the painter imperfect. It
was an accident that silver stain was not discovered until towards the
middle of the fourteenth century, that the idea of abrading
colour-coated glass did not occur to any one until nearly a century
later, that the use of the glass-cutter's diamond is a comparatively
modern invention, and so on.

Out of the very scarcity of the craftsman's means good came; and there
is a very necessary lesson to us in that; but to throw away what newer
and more perfect means we have (all his knowledge is ours, if we will)
is sheer perversity.

To affect a style is practically to adopt the faults and follies of the
period. If you are bent upon making your glass look like sixteenth
century work, you glaze it in squares, and introduce enamel. To treat it
mosaically would be not to make it characteristic enough of the period
for your pedant, notwithstanding that sixteenth century glass was, by
exception, treated in a glazier-like fashion.

Should one, then, it may be asked, take the exception for model? The
answer to that is: take the best, and only the best. It is no concern of
the artist whether it be exceptional or of every-day occurrence; some
kinds of excellence can never be common. Is it good? That is the
question he has to ask himself.

With regard to the use of the forms peculiar to a style--Gothic Tracery
or Renaissance Arabesque--that is very much a question of a man's
temperament. Has he any sympathy with them? Does that seem to him the
thing worth doing? If his personal bias be that way, who shall say him
nay? Assume even that the conditions of the case demand Decorated or
Italian detail, it does not follow that they demand precisely the
treatment of such detail found in the fourteenth or the sixteenth
century.

The style of a building is not to be ignored. To put, nowadays, in a
thirteenth or fourteenth century church windows in the style of the
fifteenth or sixteenth would be absurd; to put in a fifteenth or
sixteenth century church windows in the style of the thirteenth or
fourteenth, more foolish still. But it does not follow that in a church
of any given century, the modern windows should be as nearly as possible
what would have been done in that century.

No man in his senses, no artist at all events, ever denied that the
designer of a stained glass window must take into consideration the
architecture of the building of which his work is to form part. The only
possible question is as to what consideration may be due to it.

The archæologist (and perhaps sometimes the architect) claims too much.
Certainly he claims too much when he pretends that the designer of a
window should confine himself to the imitation of what has already been
done in glass belonging to the period of the building, or of the period
which the building affects. Why should the modern designer submit to be
shackled by obsolete traditions? What is his sin against art, that he
should do this dreary penance, imposed by architectural or
ecclesiastical authority? And what good is to come of it?

The unfortunate designer of modern glass is asked to conform both to the
technique and to the design of glass such as was executed at the period
to which belongs the building where his glass is to go, no matter how
inadequate the one or the other, or both, may be. So far as technique is
concerned, it can scarcely be questioned that the only rational thing to
do, is to do the best that can be done under the circumstances.

That is equally the thing to aim at in design, simply one's level best.
It seems strange that there should be two opinions on the subject. A
building of some centuries past (or in that style) is to be filled with
nineteenth century glass. Choose your artist: a man whose work has
something in common with the sentiment of the period of the building, a
man with education enough to appreciate the architecture and what it
implies, with modesty enough to think of the decorative purpose of his
work and not only of his cleverness; let such a man express himself in
his own way, controlled only by the conditions of the case; and there
would be little likelihood that his work would, in the result, shock
either the feelings or the taste of any but a pedant--and if art is to
conform to the taste of the pedant, well, it is time the artist shut up
shop. Why will men of learning and research discount, nay, wipe out, the
debt art owes to them, by claiming what is not their due?

Even though it were necessary or desirable that we should restrict
ourselves to what might have been done in the thirteenth century or in
the sixteenth, that would not argue that we must do only what was done.
Surely we may be allowed to do what the men of those days might
conceivably have done had they possessed our experience. Surely we need
not go for inspiration to the glass of a period when glass was
admittedly ill-understood, inadequate, poor, bad. It is quite certain
that the thirteenth century workmen did not realise all that might be
done in painted glass, quite certain that those of the seventeenth did
not appreciate what might be done in mosaic glass. It would be sheer
folly to paint no better than a thirteenth century glazier, because our
window was destined for Salisbury Cathedral, to make no more use of the
quality inherent in glass than was made by a painter of the seventeenth
century, because it was designed for St. Paul's. Those who are really
familiar with old work know that, even in periods of decline, work was
sometimes done which showed no falling away from good tradition. You may
find Renaissance glass almost as mosaic in treatment as thirteenth
century work. But because that was comparatively rare, because the
average work of the period was much less satisfactorily treated, modern
Renaissance must, it is absurdly assumed, be on the same unsatisfactory
lines.

Suppose we want modern Italian Renaissance, and, further, that we wish
not only to retain the character of Renaissance detail but to get good
glass, suppose also that we do not want forgery,--the thing to do would
be, to inspire oneself at the very best sources of Italian
ornament--carving, inlay, goldsmith's work, embroidery, no matter what
(ornament is specifically mentioned because it is in ornament that the
tyranny of style is most severely exercised), and to translate the forms
thence borrowed into the best glass we can do. That, of course, is not
quite so easy as appropriation, wholesale; it implies research,
judgment, a thorough knowledge of glass; but it would certainly lead, in
capable hands, to nobler work, and work which might yet be in the
Italian spirit. The danger is that it would clash, not with Renaissance
feeling, but with preconceived ideas as to what should be.

Our affectations of old style would be much more really like old work if
they pretended less to be like it. Had the old men lived nowadays they
would certainly have done differently from what they did.

An artist in glass cannot safely neglect to study old work, more
especially in so far as it bears upon modern practice. It is for him to
realise, for example, what artistic good there was in early archaic
design, what qualities of colour and so on came of mosaic treatment,
what delicacy is due to the liberty of the later Gothic glass painter,
what fresh charm there was in the more pictorial manner of the
Cinque-Cento, and at what cost was this bought. Questions such as these
are much more to the point than considerations of the date at which some
new departure may have been made.

The several systems on which a window design was set out, the various
methods of execution--mosaic and paint, pot-metal and enamel,
smear-shading and stipple, cross-hatching and needle point, matting and
diapering, staining and abrading--all these things he has to study, not
as indices of period, but that he may realise the intrinsic use and
value of each, that he may deduce from ancient practice and personal
experience a method of his own.

Doubtful and curious points concern the antiquary not the artist. He had
best keep to the broad highway of craftsmanship, not wander off into the
byeways of archæology. Typical examples concern him more than rare
specimens--examples which mark a stage in the progress of art, and about
which there is no possibility of learned dispute. He wants to know what
has been done in order to judge what may be done, and especially he
wants to know the best that has been done.

The problem is how to produce the best glass we can in harmony with the
architecture to which it belongs, but without especial regard to what
happens to have been done during the period to which the architecture of
the building belongs. We may even inspire ourselves at the sources of
sixteenth century Italian art, and yet in no wise follow in the
footsteps of the glass painters of the period, who were more or less off
the track; we may set ourselves to do, not what they did (glass was not
their strong point), but what they might have done. There, if you like,
is an ideal worthy of the best of us.

If we pretend to be craftsmen we must do our work in the best way we
know. If we are men, let us at least be ourselves. Let us work in the
manner natural to us. If we undertake to decorate a building with a
style of its own, let us acknowledge our obligation to it; let us be
influenced by it so far as to make our work harmonious with
it--harmonious, that is to say, in the eyes of an artist, not
necessarily of a savant. Evidence of modernity is no sin, but a merit,
in modern work. To see how a man adapted his design to circumstances not
those of his own day, gives interest to work. We never wander so wide of
the old mediæval spirit as when we pretend to be mediæval or play at
Gothic. True style, as craftsmen know, consists in the character which
comes of accepting quite frankly the conditions inherent in our work.



CHAPTER XXIX.

JESSE WINDOWS.


The subjects depicted in stained glass tell the story of the Church, or
preach its doctrine. Scenes from the Old Testament, from the Life of
Christ, from the legends of the Saints, and so on, recur from the
earliest Gothic times, and throughout the period of the Renaissance.
These pictures accommodate themselves to the current plans of design, or
the plan of design is chosen to suit them, as the case may be.

There is one subject, however, occurring from the first in glass, which
does not fall into any of the usual schemes of design, and which, in
fact, differs so entirely from any of them, that it forms a class of
design apart. The subject, in fact, by way of exception to the rule, not
merely affects but determines the decorative form of the window. This
subject is the Descent of Christ--in short, the genealogical tree of the
Saviour; and the window devoted to its delineation is called a Jesse
window. Much freer and more varied scope for composition was offered by
this piece of church heraldry than the ordinary medallion or figure and
canopy window afforded, and the glazier turned it early to exceedingly
decorative use. The tree is shown issuing, as it were, from the loins of
Jesse. It bears his descendants, or rather a very arbitrary selection of
them (it is as well not to inquire too strictly as to their legitimate
right to be there), ending in the Virgin and the Saviour.

The earliest arrangement of a Jesse window is as follows: at the base is
the recumbent figure of Jesse; the straight stem of the tree, proceeding
from him, is almost entirely hidden by a string of figures, one above
the other, occupying the centre part of the window, and represented, for
the most part, as Kings; above them is the Virgin, also crowned; and in
the arch of the window sits our Lord in Majesty, surrounded by seven
doves, to signify the gifts of the Spirit. It is not perhaps quite
clear upon what these figures sit. They hold on with both hands to
branches of highly conventional Romanesque foliage, springing from the
main stem, and occupying the space about the figures in very ornamental
fashion. A series of half medallions on each side of this central design
contain little figures of attendant prophets--in a sense, the spiritual
ancestors of the Saviour. All this is in the deepest and richest mosaic
colour, as in the beautiful bluish Jesse window at the West end of the
cathedral at Chartres, which belongs to about the middle of the twelfth
century. Very much the same kind of thing occurs at Le Mans and
elsewhere.

Later the tree more often branched out into loops, forming oval or
vesical-shaped spaces, in which the figures sat, as may be seen on page
362. The ground of the window is in that case blue, the background of
the figure ruby. Had it been red the figures would probably have been
upon blue. This particular instance, by the way, is said to be of the
twelfth century, although the ornament has more the character of
thirteenth century work. You see also the doves referred to encircling
the figure sitting in Majesty, and the figures attendant upon the
Virgin. Sometimes these are prophets, sometimes angels; sometimes they
stand in little canopy niches, sometimes they are in the midst of the
foliage. The fragment from Salisbury on page 117 formed most probably
part of a Jesse window. The symbolic doves have often each a nimbus. A
single dove represents, of course, the Holy Ghost.

A rather suggestive variation upon the orthodox Early scheme occurs in a
window at Carcassonne. Each of the three lights is bordered with a
rather geometric pattern. Within the border the central light is
designed much on the usual lines: Jesse recumbent below, and above the
figures of Kings, sitting each in his own little vesical-shaped space
formed by the growth of the tree. In the sidelights, however, the
Prophets are provided with the very simplest canopies, one above the
other.

An interesting arrangement is to be found in the clerestory of the
cathedral at Tours, where the central light of a window has a Tree of
Jesse, with the usual oval compartments, corresponding with
hexagon-shaped medallions in the two sidelights, in which are depicted
scenes presumably appropriate to the subject; it is difficult to make
them out with any certainty.

[Illustration: 243. PART OF EARLY JESSE WINDOW, MUSÉE DES ARTS
DÉCORATIFS, PARIS.]

Occasionally what seems at first sight a medallion window resolves
itself, as at S. Kunibert, Cologne, into a kind of genealogical tree,
enclosing subjects illustrative of the descent of Christ. The rather
unusual combination of medallion and vine shown below, also German, is
of rather later date.

[Illustration: 244. FREIBURG.]

In the fourteenth century the tree naturally becomes a vine, usually in
colour upon a blue or ruby ground, extending beyond the limits of a
single light, and crossing not only the mullions, but the borders
(which, by the way, often confuse the effect of a Decorated Jesse
window). The vine extends also very often into the tracery, where sits
the Virgin with the Infant Christ. The figure of our Lord is always, of
course, the topmost feature of the tree--in the arms of the Virgin, in
the lap of the Father, or sitting in Majesty. A variation upon ordinary
practice occurs where the Father supports a crucifix. The figure of
Jesse naturally, as at Shrewsbury (page 241), extends across several
lights.

Occasionally a figure and canopy window proves to be also a Jesse
window--a vine, that is to say, winds about the figures, and connects
them with the figure of Jesse; but this combination of canopy work with
tree work (as at Wells, some of the detail of which is given overleaf)
is confused and confusing. A much happier combination of figures under
canopies with tree work occurs in a sixteenth century window at S.
Godard, Rouen, which has at the base a series of five figures, above
whom spreads the tree, its roots appearing above the head of the central
one, who proves to be Jesse.

By the fifteenth century the vine is rather more conventionally treated.
It is usually in white and stain upon a coloured ground, or, if the
leaves are green, the stems are white and stain. The figures also have
more white in their drapery. In the earlier part of the century the main
stem branches very often in an angular manner so as to form six-sided
bowers for the figures, framing them, perhaps, in a different colour
from the general groundwork of the window. Or the various lights of the
window may have alternately a blue and a ruby ground. It is rarely that
two figures are shown in the width of a single light, either in separate
compartments or grouped in one.

[Illustration: 245. PART OF A JESSE WINDOW, WELLS.]

Later the tree, oftenest in white and stain, branches more freely, not
twisting itself any longer into set shapes or obvious compartments. The
figures are, as it were, perched amongst its branches. In French and
German work the tree, towards the sixteenth century, is not so
necessarily a vine. It may take the form more of scrollwork, white or
yellow, and the personages in its midst may be only demi-figures,
issuing possibly from vase-like flowers or flower-like ornament.

That is so in a remarkably fine window in the clerestory of the
cathedral at Troyes (three lights of which are shown on page 366), where
the figures no longer occupy the centre of the lights, but are scattered
about from side to side, balanced in a very satisfactory way by their
names writ large upon the background. This characteristic lettering
gives not only interesting masses of white or yellow on the ruby ground,
but horizontal lines of great value to the composition. In the lower
part of the window a separate screen of richest yellow marks off the
figure of Jesse, and at the same time distinguishes the Donors, together
with their family and their armorial bearings, from the merely
scriptural part of the design. In earlier windows, it should have been
stated, prominence is sometimes given to the really more important
personages by drawing them to a much larger scale, or by showing them
full-length when the others are only half-length, or by draping them all
in white and stain, whilst the rest are in colours not so strongly
relieved against the ground.

There are two other rather unusual Jesse windows at Troyes, both of Late
Gothic period. The one is at S. Nizier: there the foliage is so rare as
to give the effect almost of a leafless scroll. The other is at S.
Nicholas: there the tree grows through into the tracery, where it
appears no longer, as in the lights below, upon a deep blue ground, but
upon yellow, the radiance, as it proves, from the group of the Trinity,
into which the tree eventually blossoms.

[Illustration: 246. PART OF A JESSE WINDOW, CATHEDRAL, TROYES, 1499.]

Quite one of the most beautiful Jesse trees that exist is in a Late
Gothic window at Alençon. It is unusual, probably unique in design. The
figures, with the exception of Jesse, are confined to the upper lights
and tracery, forming a double row towards the top of the window. This
leaves a large amount of space for the tree, a fine, fat, Gothic scroll,
foliated more after the manner of oak than acanthus leaves, all in rich
greens (yellowish, apple, emerald-like) on a greyish-blue ground. It
forms a splendid patch of cool colour, contrasting in the most beautiful
way with the figures, draped mostly in purple, red, and yellow. The
figures issue from great flower-like features as big as the width of the
light allows, mostly of red, or purple, or white, with a calyx in green.
The Virgin issues from a white flower suggestive of the lily. In the
window shown on page 368 the tree blossoms also into a topmost lily
supporting the Madonna. A characteristic feature about the Alençon
window is, the absence of symmetry in its scheme. Of the eight lights
which go to make up its width, only three are devoted, below the
springing of the great arch over it, to the Jesse tree. Three others
contain a representation of the death of the Virgin, under a separate
canopy, and in the two outermost lights are separate subjects on a
smaller scale. This kind of eccentricity of composition is by no means
unusual. A Jesse window very often occupies only one half or one quarter
of a large Late Gothic window. And the strange thing is that the effect
is invariably satisfactory, often delightful. You do not miss the
symmetry, but enjoy the accidental variety of colour.

In sixteenth century work, and even before that, you meet with windows
in which figures are in colours upon a white ground. In that case the
tree is usually painted upon the white and stained. So it was in the
beautiful Flemish window, parts of which are now dispersed over the East
windows of S. George's, Hanover Square, calculated, there, rather to
mystify the student of design. In it the grapes, it will be seen (page
216), are glazed in purple pot-metal colour. In the present condition of
the window, now that the enamel-brown has partly peeled off, the grape
bunches scarcely seem to belong to the rather ghostly vine behind them.
That is a misfortune which not uncommonly happens where reliance has
been placed upon delicate painting; but for all that this is noble
glass, and the figures, as was also not uncommon at the period, are
designed with great dignity.

[Illustration: 247. JESSE WINDOW, BEAUVAIS.]

There is distinction, again, in the drawing of the figures in the Jesse
at S. Etienne, Beauvais, shown on page 368. That is a splendid specimen
of characteristically Renaissance work. Jesse is honoured by a rich
canopy of white and stain, which allows of a deep purple background
separating him from his descendants. These appear as demi-figures, very
richly robed, in strong relief against a pale purplish-blue ground of
the atmospheric quality peculiar to the period. The vase-shaped flowers
whence they issue are also in rich colour, dark against the ground, as
are the variegated fruits and green leaves of the tree, but its branches
are of silvery-white, suggesting of birch-bark. This tree-trunk is
altogether too realistically treated for the ornamental leafage and
still more arbitrary flowers growing from it; but it is a marvellously
fine window, masterly in drawing and perfectly painted. And it owes
positively nothing to age or accident. Indeed, the effect is somewhat
diluted by restoration. Even on the reduced scale of the illustration
given, you can detect in the head of the hatless figure to the right a
touch of modern French character; and the fine colour of it all is fine
in spite of the flatness of tint in the background, for which the
nineteenth century must be held responsible.

Except for the confusion caused by the occasional introduction of
canopies and borders, a Jesse window may be usually recognised at a
glance. In the cathedral at Troyes, however, is what might be mistaken,
at first sight, for a Jesse tree. But the recumbent figure is not that
of Jesse, but of Christ. He lies, in fact, in the wine press, whence
grows a vine bearing half effigies of the Twelve Apostles, and the
patron saints of the Donor and his wife, who themselves had places in
the lower portion of the sidelights, but the figure of the wife is now
missing. The general design and effect of this window, and especially
the seriousness of the ornamental portion of it, are such as almost to
belie the period of its execution. It is an exceptionally fine window
for the year 1625.

This same subject is anticipated in a sixteenth century window (1552) at
Conches. There the Saviour treads the blue grapes, and a stream of
blood-red wine issues from them. The frame of the press immediately
behind him is designed to suggest the cross.

The Jesse window referred to in the north transept at Carcassonne is
balanced by a window on the south, which is of peculiarly interesting
design, not, to my knowledge, elsewhere to be found in glass, although
it occurs in Early Italian painting. It represents the Tree of Life, of
Knowledge of Good and Evil--which knowledge appears to be inscribed all
over it and the window. It might almost be described as a tree of
lettering, for it bears upon its branches (which are labels) and upon
its fruit (which are heart-shaped tablets) voluminous inscriptions, not,
in the present state of the glass, always easy to decipher, but most
effectively decorative. On either side the window, by way of border to
the outer lights, is a series of little figures, prophets, or whoever
they may be, bearing other inscribed scrolls, mingling with the boughs
of the tree, the leaves of which form, as it were, a kind of green and
yellow fringe to the inscribed white branches. At the foot of the tree
stand Adam and Eve, in the act of yielding to the temptation of the
woman-headed serpent coiled round its trunk, and beyond are shown the
Ark of Noah and the Ark of the Covenant. Amidst the upper branches is a
crucifix, the narrow red cross so inconspicuous that the Christ seems
almost to hang upon the tree, and at its summit is the emblem of the
pelican, _Qui sanguine pascit alumnos_. This is altogether not only a
striking, and, at the same time, most satisfactory window, but an
admirable instance of the use of lettering in ornament. Lettering is
very often introduced into Jesse windows, and forms sometimes a
conspicuous feature in them: how much more use might be made of it is
suggested by this Tree of Life.



CHAPTER XXX.

STORY WINDOWS.


There is something very interesting in the simple heartedness with which
the mediæval artist would attack a subject quite impossible of artistic
realisation, apart from his modest powers of draughtsmanship, or the
limitations of glass.

The daring of the man may be taken as evidence of his sincerity. If he
had not believed absolutely in the things he tried to pourtray, he could
not have set them forth so simply as he did, not only in the quite
archaic medallions of the twelfth and thirteenth centuries, but even in
pictures conceived at the end of what we call the Middle Ages. It would
be impossible nowadays to picture Paradise, as in the scene of the
Temptation at Fairford (overleaf), with its bald architecture and little
Gothic fountain, to say nothing of the serpent. But down to the
sixteenth century no subject was impossible to the designer. Even the
Creation did not deter him; on the contrary, it was a favourite subject
in old glass, throughout the mediæval period (page 252): there is no
shirking the difficulty of rendering the division of light from the
darkness, or the separation of the waters from the dry land. Indeed,
problems such as these are sometimes solved with very remarkable
ingenuity, if not quite in a way to satisfy us: the Creator in the
likeness of a Pope, triple crown and all, as at Châlons-sur-Marne, was
pictured no doubt in all good faith and reverence.

Perhaps one of the most daring notions ever put into stained glass
occurs in a window in All Saints' Church, North Street, York. The design
illustrates an old Northumbrian legend called "The Pryck of Conscience,"
and boldly sets out to show--the fishes roaring, the sea a-fire, a
bloody dew, and, as a climax, the general conflagration of the world.
"Of heaven and hell I have no power to tell," wrote the "idle singer"
(as he most wilfully miscalled himself) of this perhaps "empty day." It
was left to the modern artist to discover that.

The subject most frequently affected by the designer of the West window
of a Gothic church was "The Last Judgment," in which appeared our Lord
in Majesty, St. Michael weighing human souls, angels welcoming the
righteous into heaven, and fiends carrying off the doomed to hell. These
"Doom" windows, as they are also called, are not, to the modern mind,
impressive--not, that is to say, as the pictures of reward and
punishment hereafter they were meant to be. The scene strikes us
invariably as grotesque rather than terrible, actual as it may have been
to the simple artist, who meant to be a sober chronicler, and to the yet
simpler worshippers to whom he addressed himself.

[Illustration: 248. THE TEMPTATION, FAIRFORD.]

Apart from that, "Last Judgment" windows are among the most interesting
in the church. The portion of the window, in particular, which is
devoted to perdition is most attractive. Hell flames offered to the
artist a splendid opportunity for colour, upon which he seized with
delight. And the fiends he imagined! Doubtless those crude conceptions
of his were very real to him, convincing and terror-striking. The grim
humour which we see in them may be of our own imagining; but that the
draughtsman enjoyed his creations no artist will doubt.

[Illustration: 249. PART OF LAST JUDGMENT, FAIRFORD.]

That is easy to understand. His subject allowed him freedom of
imagination, gave him scope for fancy, humour, colour; and all his
faculties found outlet. No wonder his would-be fiends live beautiful in
our recollection! In the midst of ruby flames dance devils, purple,
black, and brown, gnashing carnivorous teeth or yellow fangs, their
beady, white eyes gleaming with cruelty. Devils there are apparently
red-hot; others green and grey, with a beautiful but unholy kind of
iridescence about them. As for the blue devils, they are beautiful
enough to scare away from the beholder blue devils less tangible, which
may have had possession of him. There is a great white devil in a window
at Strassburg, who has escaped, it seems, from the Doom window near by,
but not from the flames about him, a background of magnificent ruby. The
drawing of a part of the Last Judgment from Fairford (page 373) gives
only the grotesqueness of the scene, the quaintly conceived tortures of
the damned; but that division of the glass is in reality a glory of
gorgeous colour, to which one is irresistibly attracted. For that, as
ever, the designer has reserved his richest and most glowing colour.

Some slight touch of human perversity perhaps inspires him also. At
Fairford, at all events, he has put some of his best work, and
especially some of his finest colour, into the figures of the
Persecutors of the Church. Unfortunately, they are high up in the
clerestory, and so do not get their share of attention; certainly they
do not get the praise they deserve. Why, one is inclined to ask, this
honour to the enemies of the Church on the part of the churchman? Was he
at heart a heathen giving secret vent in art to feelings he dared not
openly express? Not a bit of it! He was just a trifle tired of Angels,
and Saints, and subjects according to convention; he was delighted at
the chance of doing something not quite tame and same, and revelled in
the opportunity when it occurred. In the tracery openings above the
persecutors, where in the ordinary way would be angels, are lodged much
more appropriate little fiends. They haunt the memory long after you
have seen them, not as anything very terrific, but as bits of beautiful
colour. The Devil overleaf, hovering in wait for the soul of the
impenitent thief upon the cross, is not by any means a favourable
specimen of the Fairford fiends.

Occasionally there is a grimness about the mediæval Devil which we feel
to this day. In a window at S. Etienne, Beauvais, there is a quite
unforgettable picture of a woman struggling in the clutches of the evil
one. She is draped in green, the Devil is of greenish-white, the
architecture is represented in a gloom of purple and dark blue; only a
peep of pale sky is seen through the window. On the one hand, this is a
delightful composition of decorative colour. On the other it is
intensely dramatic. It sets one wondering who this may be, and what will
be the outcome of it. The struggle is fearful, the fiend is quite
frantic in action. One is so taken with the scene that one does not
notice that his head is wanting, and has been replaced by one which does
not even fit his shoulders. That the effect, for all that, is
impressive, speaks volumes for the story-teller.

[Illustration: 250. FAIRFORD.]

Alas, alas, the Devil is dead! His modern counterfeit is a fraud. You
may see this at the church of S. Vincent, at Rouen, in one of the
subjects representing the life of that saint, where he puts the devils
to flight. The nearest of them is an evil-looking thing, ruby coloured,
uncannily spotted, like some bright poisonous-looking fungus. The
restorer has supplemented these retreating devils by a farther one
painted on the grey-blue sky. The imp is grotesque enough, and very
cleverly put in, but it plainly belongs no longer to the early sixteenth
century. It suggests a theatrical "property," not the hobgoblin of old
belief. That is just what the devilry in old glass never does.

It must be owned that mediæval Angels charm us less. They are by
comparison tame. Their colour is delicate and silvery, belike, but not
seductive; their wings sit awkwardly upon them; they fulfil more or less
trivial functions, bearing scrolls or emblems, shields of arms even.
They are not in the least ethereal. They are too much on the model of
man or woman. What possible business, for example, have they with legs
and feet? Yet it is by the rarest chance that the body is, as it were,
lost in a swirl of drapery, which, by disguising the lower limbs, makes
the image by so much, if not the more angelic, at least the less
obviously of the earth.

The glass hunter cannot but be amused every now and again by odd
anachronisms in mediæval and even later illustrations in glass. But
wonder at them ceases when we remember how simple-minded was the
craftsman of those days before archæology. If he wished to picture
scenes of the long past--and he did--there was nothing for it but to
show them as they occurred to his imagination--as happening, that is to
say, in his own day; and that is practically what he did. He had perhaps
a vague notion that a Roman soldier should wear a kilt; but in the main
he was content that the onlookers at the Crucifixion should be costumed
according to the period of William the Conqueror, or Maximilian, in
which he himself happened to live. The practice had, at least, one
advantage over our modern displays of probably very inaccurate
learnedness, in that it brought the scene close home to the unlearned
observer, and, as it were, linked the event with his own life. In short,
there is more vitality in that rude story-telling than in the more
elaborate histories, much less inaccurate in detail doubtless, to which
to-day and henceforth artists are pledged.

There is no occasion to dwell upon the oddities of glass painting; they
are those of mediæval art all through. If we take a certain incongruity
for granted, the guilelessness of it only charms us. That same
guilelessness enables the artist to make absolutely ornamental use of
themes which to-day we might think it profane to make subservient to
decorative effect. We never question his sincerity, though in the scene
of the Creation, as at Erfurth, he made a pattern of the birds, pair and
pair, each on its own tree. He can safely show the staff of S.
Christopher, as at Freiburg, blossoming so freely as conveniently to
fill the head of the window and balance the Child upon his shoulder.
According as it occurs to him, or as it suits his purpose, kings and
bishops take part in the Crucifixion; S. Michael tramples upon a dragon
big enough to swallow him at a mouthful; Abraham goes out, gorgeously
arrayed in red and purple, to slaughter Isaac on a richly decorated
altar, and a white ram, prancing among the green, calls his attention to
itself as the more appropriate sacrifice; Adam and Eve are driven forth
from Eden by a scarlet angel, draped in white, with wings as well as
sword of flaming red. In this last case the peculiar colour has a
significance. Elsewhere it implies the poverty of the glazier's palette,
or indicates the sacrifice of natural to artistic effect. So it was
that, till quite the end of the thirteenth century, we meet with
positively blue beards, ruby cows, and trees of all the colours of the
rainbow; and even at a much later date than that, primary-coloured
cattle look over the manger at the Nativity, and Christ is shown
entering Jerusalem on a bright blue donkey.

To the last the glass painter indulged in very interesting compound
subjects--the Nativity, for example, with in the distance the Magi on
their way; the Last Supper, and in the foreground, relieved against the
tablecloth, Christ washing Peter's feet, the apostles grouped round so
as to form part of each or either subject. Sometimes a series of events
form a single picture, as where you have the Temptation, the Expulsion,
Eve with her distaff, Adam with his spade, the childhood of Cain and
Abel, and the first fratricide, all grouped in one comprehensive
landscape.

Consecutive pictures, by the way, generally follow in horizontal not
vertical series, beginning on your left as you face the window. There is
no invariable rule; but in most cases the order of the subjects is from
left to right, row after row, terminating at the top of the window.

From the beginning difficult doctrinal subjects are attempted, as well
as histories and legends. In the sixteenth century the design is often
an allegory, full of meaning, though the meaning of it all may not be
very obvious. The Virtues, for example, no longer content to stand under
canopies, systematically spearing each its contrasting Vice, harness
themselves, as at S. Patrice, Rouen, to a processional car, in which are
the Virgin, Christ upon the Cross, and sundry vases, preceded by the
Patriarchs and other holy personages. Another interesting "morality," at
S. Vincent, Rouen, is pictured in a medley of little figures each with
descriptive label--"Richesse," for example, a lady in gorgeous golden
array; "Pitie," a matron of sober aspect; "Les Riches Ingrass," a group
of gay young men; "Le Riche" and "Le Poure," alike pursued by death.
Another decorative device of the sixteenth century is the Virgin,
lifesize, surrounded by her emblems and little white scrolls describing
them--"Fons ortorum," "Sivit as Dei," and so on, in oddly spelt Latin.
This occurs at Conches.

In Later Gothic, and of course in Renaissance glass, the situation is,
if not realised, at all events dramatically treated. One scarcely knows
to which period to attribute the window at S. Patrice, Rouen, with
scenes from the life of S. Louis, an admirably sober and serious piece
of work. Conspicuous in it is the recurring mantle of the King, deep
indigo coloured, embroidered with golden _fleurs-de-lys_, on an
inky-blue ground. The whole effect is rich but strikingly low in tone.
An exceptionally fine scene is that in which the King, in a golden boat
with white sails, ermine diapered, a crown upon his head, kneels in
prayer before a little crucifix, whilst his one companion lifts up his
hands in terror: the man is clad in green; for the rest the colour is
sombre, only the pale blue armour of the Saint, his dark blue cloak, for
once undiapered--as if the artist felt that here the golden lilies would
be out of place--and the leaden sea around: that extends to the very top
of the picture, distant ships painted upon it to indicate that it is
water. An inscription explains how:--

  "En revenant du pays de Syrie
  En mer fut tourmente ... gde furie
  Mais en priant Jesu Christ il en fut delivré."

It must be allowed that the storm does not rage very terrifically; but
the effect is not merely beautiful as colour but really descriptive, and
something more.

It is only occasionally that this much of dramatic effect is produced;
but touches of well-studied realism are common, as where, in the same
church, at the martyrdom of a saint, the executioners who feed the fire
shrink from the yellow flames and guard their eyes.

Decorative treatment goes almost without saying in the early sixteenth
century. At S. Patrice, again, is a singularly fine instance of that. In
the centre of the window, against a background of forest, with the
distant hunt in full cry, S. Eustache stands entranced, his richly clad
figure a focus of bright colour; facing him, in the one light, the
legendary stag, enclosing between its antlers the vision of the
crucifix, balanced, in the other, by the white horse of the convert: the
note of white is repeated in the lithe hounds running through the three
lights, and, with the silvery trunks of the trees, holds the composition
together. This subject of the Conversion of S. Hubert was rather a
favourite one in glass, and was usually well treated. The stag is
invaluable. At Erfurth he stands against the green, a mass of yellow,
with purple antlers, which form a vesica-shaped frame for the fabled
vision.

The use of white, by the way, as a means of holding the window together
is remarkable throughout Later glass, even apart from white canopy work.
In the cathedral at Perugia there is a window in which a stream of white
pavement flows, as it were, down through the groups of richly coloured
figures, emphasising them, and at the same time connecting them with the
canopy.

There is no end to the interest of subject in glass; but the subject
would lead us too far astray from the purpose of this book. Enough has
been said to indicate the kind of interest which each of us best finds
for himself in glass hunting.



CHAPTER XXXI.

HOW TO SEE WINDOWS.


The just appreciation of stained glass is more than difficult, and
judgment with regard to it more than ordinarily fallible. It is too much
to expect of a window that it should stand the test of a light for which
it was not designed. The most conscientious artist can do no more than
design it for the light by which he imagines it is most likely to be
seen. There must inevitably be times of day, when the sun is in a
position not favourable to it, and many days when the intensity of the
light, even though it come from the right quarter, is not what he relied
upon. It happens, of course, that glass is often seen under such
conditions that the brilliancy of the windows on one side of the church
is literally put out by a flood of light poured in upon them through the
windows (brilliantly illuminated by it) on the opposite side. The best
of critics could not appreciate the best of glass under circumstances
like that.

Suppose the windows north and south of a church to be of equal merit,
one's appreciation of them, at first sight, would depend upon the time
of day; and the light which did most justice to the northern windows
would do least to the southern, and _vice versâ_. Experience teaches a
man to make allowances, but he can only judge what he has seen; and it
is only with the light shining through a window that he can see its
colour or judge of its effect.

The wonderful difference which the strength of the light makes in the
appearance of a window, is nowhere quite so obvious as in the case of
windows, not of glass, but of translucent alabaster--as, for example, at
Orvieto, in the lower lights on either side of the nave, or, framed in
black marble mullions, at the West end of the cathedral. The more or
less square-shaped slabs of which they are formed are, in very many
cases, made up of a number of pieces cemented together in lines which
take very much the place of lead lines, and suggest, with the bars
holding them in place, the practice of the glazier; but the effect is
much less that of glass than of deepest amber in the unbroken panels, of
gorgeous tortoise-shell in those that are patched and pieced together.
These last are, if not the more beautiful, certainly the more
interesting. The brown and gold and horny-white grow murkier when the
light does not shine full upon the windows; but there is a mystery about
the colour still, which makes up for the loss of brilliancy. If your
mood is that way, you may find in the curious marbling of the stone
strange pictures of cloudland and fantastic landscape. It is partly the
shape, no doubt, of a circular slab high above the western door, which
calls to mind the image of the moon with its mysterious mountains.

A more delicate, if not always so rich an effect, is to be seen in the
great monolithic slabs which fill the five square-headed windows in the
apse of the upper church at S. Miniato. Effect, did I say? Nay, rather
effects, for they change with every gradation in the light. You may see
at first little more than flat surfaces of pleasantly mottled white and
purple-grey, translucent, but comparatively dull and dead. Then, as the
sun creeps round the corner, a strange life comes into them. The white
and palest greys begin to glow, and turn by slow degrees to pearly-pink,
which kindles into gold, and deepens in the duskier parts to copper-red.
The stronger markings of the stone now show out in unsuspected strength,
and the lighter veins take on by contrast a greenish tint, so that the
warm colour is subtly shot with its cool counterpart. If, when you first
see the windows, the sun illumines them, the effect is less magical; you
get your strongest impression first; but in the course of an hour or so
a great change may take place--when, for example, towards noon the light
passes away; but for a long while the stone remains luminous. Your eyes
are open now, and in the delicate ashen-grey you see--or is it that you
feel it to be there?--a tint of rose.

In proportion as it is less opaque than alabaster, glass is less
perceptibly affected by changes of light; but, whether we perceive it or
not, it owes all its effect to the light shining through it. The most
fair-minded of us misjudge windows because we cannot see them often
enough to be quite sure we have seen them at their best--that is to say,
on the right day, and at the right time of day.

In comparing one window with another we are more than ever likely to do
injustice. Even if they happen to be both in the same church, the light
most favourable to the one may, as just said, be quite the least
favourable to the other. Each must in fairness be judged at its best;
and it is no easy matter to compare to-day's impression with
yesterday's, or it may be last week's--more especially when a newer
impression of the same thing, staring you in the face, will stamp itself
upon the vision. When years, instead of days, intervene, the justice of
even the most retentive memory is open to gravest doubt.

Go to the church of S. Alpin, at Châlons, and in the morning you will
find the East windows brilliantly rich: in the early afternoon, even of
a bright day, they will be lacking in transparency, dull, ineffective.
So at S. Sebald's, Nuremberg, the splendid fourteenth century glass on
the north side of the choir proves absolutely obscure in the late
afternoon. Grisaille, which was delicate under a moderately subdued
light, will appear thin and flimsy with a strong sun behind it. It has
happened to me to describe the same glass on one occasion as too
heavily, on another as too thinly painted; and, again, to describe a
window as warm in tone which memory (and my notes) had painted cool. On
another occasion, well-remembered windows were not to be identified
again. It seemed that in the course of a few intervening years they must
have been restored out of all knowledge; a few hours later in the day
there was no mistaking them, though they had, indeed, lost something by
restoration.

When the most careful and deliberate notes tell such different, and
indeed quite opposite, stories, notes made at times not far enough apart
to allow for anything like a complete change of opinion on the part of
the critic, it is clear that conditions of light go so far towards the
effect of glass, that it is quite impossible to appraise it fairly the
first time one sees it. The more momentary the impression on which one
has to found an opinion, the more essential it is that we should choose
the moment. The strongest light is by no means the most favourable to
glass. In a glare of sunlight it is quite probable that some unhappy
windows will have more light shining upon than comes through the glass.
Happiest are the windows seen by "the subdued light of a rainy day."
Occasionally a window, so deep that under ordinary conditions of light
it is obscure, may need the strongest possible illumination; but even
in the case of very deep-toned windows--such, for example, as those in
the transepts of the Duomo at Florence--the glass, as a whole, is best
seen by a sober light. You get the maximum of colour effect with the
minimum of hurt to any individual window, if there be any hurt at all. A
really garish window may be beautiful as the light wanes. The great
North Rose at Notre Dame (Paris) is impressive at dusk.

Other conditions upon which the effect of glass largely depends are
quite beyond our control. As a matter of fact, we rarely see it at its
best. For one thing, we do not see it in sufficient quantity. We find it
in here and there a window only, white light shining unmitigated from
windows all round. Perhaps in the window itself there is a breakage, and
a stream of light pours through it, spoiling, if not its beauty, all
enjoyment of it. It is not generally understood how completely the
effect of glass depends upon the absence of light other than that which
comes through it. Every ray of light which penetrates into a building
excepting through the stained glass does injury to the coloured window;
more often than not, therefore, we see it under most adverse
circumstances. It is worse than hearing a symphony only in snatches; it
is rather as if a more powerful orchestra were all the while drowning
the sound. It takes an expert to appreciate glass when light is
reflected upon it from all sides. The effect of some of the finest glass
in Germany, as at Munich and Nuremberg, is seriously marred by a wicked
German practice of filling only the lower half of the window with
coloured glass and glazing the upper part in white rounds. That enables
folk to read their Bibles, no doubt; but the volume of crude white light
above goes far to kill the colour of the glass. In such case it is not
until you have shut off the offending light that it is possible to
enjoy, or even to appreciate, the windows.

A comparatively dark church is essential to the perfect enjoyment of
rich glass. The deep red light-absorbing sandstone of which Strassburg
and Shrewsbury Cathedrals are built, adds immensely to the brilliancy of
their beautiful glass.

White light is the most cruel, but not the only, offender. Old glass
sometimes quarrels with old glass. An Early window is made to look heavy
by a quantity of Late work about it, and a Late window pales in the
presence of deep rich Early glass. As for modern work, it is that which
suffers most by comparison with old; but it arouses often a feeling of
irritation in us which puts us out of the mood to enjoy.

Worst offence of all is that done in the name of restoration, where,
inextricably mixed up with old work, is modern forgery; not clever
enough to pass for old, but sufficiently like it to cast a doubt upon
the genuine work, at the same time that it quite destroys its beauty.

Something of our appreciation depends upon the frame of mind in which we
come to the windows. They may be one of the sights of the place; but the
sight-seeing mood is not the one in which to appreciate. How often can
the tourist sit down in a church with the feeling that he has all the
day before him, and can give himself up to the enjoyment of the glass,
wait till it has something to say to him? A man has not seen glass when
he has walked round the church, with one eye upon it and the other on
his watch, not even though he may have made a note or two concerning it.
You must give yourself up to it, or it will never give up to you the
secret of its charm.



CHAPTER XXXII.

WINDOWS WORTH SEEING.


The course of the glass hunter seems never yet to have been clearly
mapped out for him. Nor can he depend upon those who pretend to direct
his steps. The enthusiastic description of the monograph proves in the
event to have very likely no warrant of art; the paragraph in the
guide-book is so cold as to excite no spark of curiosity about what may
be worth every effort to see. Between the two a beginner stands
uncertain which way to turn, and as often as not goes astray.

The question which perplexes him on the very outskirts of the subject
is: Which are the windows to see? That depends. Some there are which
every one who cares at all about glass should certainly see, some which
the student who really wants to know should study, some which the artist
should see, if merely for the satisfaction of his colour sense. To
enumerate only a single class of these would be to write a catalogue;
but catalogues are hard reading; the more interesting and more helpful
course will be, to tell shortly of some of the windows best worth
seeing, and why they should be seen. And if choice be made of instances
typical enough to illustrate the history of glass, the list may serve as
an itinerary to such as may think it worth while to study it, as it
should be studied, not in books, but in churches.

[Illustration: 251. GRISAILLE PATTERNS, SALISBURY.]

Churches favourable to the study of Early glass in England are not very
many. A series of thirteenth century windows is rare; and good examples,
such as the fragments from the S. Chapelle, at South Kensington, are few
and far between. The one fine series of medallion windows is at
Canterbury Cathedral, in the round-headed lights of the choir. In the
clerestory also is some figure work, on a larger scale, but less
admirable of its kind. For good thirteenth century grisaille in any
considerable quantity one must go to Salisbury, where, fortunately, the
aisle windows are near enough to the eye to show the very characteristic
patterns of the glass. To sit there in the nave and wait until
service is over, is no hardship even to the most ardent glass hunter.
The silvery light from the windows facing him at the East end of the
aisles is solace and delight enough. Yet more enchanting is the pale
beauty of the Five slim Sisters, in the North transept of York Minster;
that, however, is gained, to some extent, by the confusion of the
pattern, which is not quite typically Early, but begins to show symptoms
of a transition stage in design.

To appreciate at its full value the stronger colour of the Early mosaic
glass one must cross the Channel. We have nothing in this country to
compare in quantity, and therefore for effect, with the gorgeous glass
illuminating the great French churches. Reims, for example, Bourges, Le
Mans, are perfect treasure houses of jewelled light. But richer than all
is Chartres. The windows there are less conveniently placed for study
than at Le Mans, but they are grander, and more in number. At Reims the
art is coarser, though the magnificence of certain red windows there
lives in the memory. Emphatically Chartres is the place to know and
appreciate thirteenth century glass. No other great church of the period
retains so much of its original glazing; and since it is one of the
largest, and the glass is very much of one period, it follows that no
church contains so much Early glass. The impression it produces is the
more pronounced that there is little else. Except for a modern window or
two, one Late Gothic window, and some four or five lights of grisaille,
which belong to the second period, the glass throughout this vast
building is typically Early. It is well worth a pilgrimage to Chartres
only to see it. You may wander about the church for hours at a time,
unravelling the patterns of the windows, and puzzling out the subjects
of the medallion pictures. To sit there in more restful mood upon some
summer afternoon, when the light is softened by a gentle fall of rain,
is to be thrilled by the beauty of it all. It is as though, in a dream,
you found yourself in some huge cavern, lit only by the light of jewels,
myriads of them gleaming darkly through the gloom. It is difficult to
imagine anything more mysterious, solemn, or impressive. Yes, Chartres
is the place in which to be penetrated by the spirit of Early mediæval
glass. There is a story told of a child sitting for the first time in
his life in some French church, awed by the great Rose window facing
him, when all at once the organ burst into music; and it seemed to him,
he said, as if the window spoke. Words could not better express than
that the powerful impression of Early mosaic glass, the solemnity of its
beauty, the way it belongs to the grandeur of the great church, the
something deep in us vibrating in answer to it.

Exceptionally interesting Early glass is to be found in the cathedral of
Poitiers; but it is hurt by the white light from other windows. In the
case of Early coloured windows it is more than ever true that their
intensity can only be appreciated when all the light in the building
comes through them. That intensity, as was said, is deepened where, as
at Strassburg, the colour of the walls absorbs instead of reflecting
light. There the red sandstone of which the church is built gives back
so little light that, as you enter the door, you step from sunshine into
twilight, in which the glass shines doubly glorious. Some of these
(certain of the Kings, for example, on the north side of the nave, each
with its huge nimbus eddying, as it were, ring by ring of colour, out to
the margin of the niche) are of the thirteenth if not of the twelfth
century; but they are typical of no period. The borders framing them are
perhaps a century later than the figures. Indeed, the period of this
glass is most perplexing to the student of style, until he realises
that, after the great fire at the very end of the thirteenth century,
remains of earlier glass, spared from the wreck, were incorporated with
the newer work. And, not only this, but, what was rare in mediæval days,
the fourteenth century designer, in his endeavour to harmonise, as he
most successfully did, the old work with the new, gave to his own work a
character which was not of his period,--much to the mystification of the
student, who too readily imagines that he cannot go far wrong in
attributing to the glass in a church a date posterior to its
construction.

The cathedral at Strassburg is rich also in distinctly Decorated glass,
to all of which the tourist pays no heed. He goes there to see the
clock. If he should have a quarter of an hour to spare before noon--at
which hour the cock crows and the church is shut--he allows himself to
be driven by the verger, with the rest of the crowd, into the transept,
and penned up there until the silly performance begins. To hear folk
talk of the thing afterwards at the _table d'hôte_ you might fancy that
Erwin Von Steinbach had built his masterpiece just to house this rickety
piece of mock old mechanism.

Some of the most interesting glass of the Middle Gothic period is to be
found in Germany, for tradition died hard there; and, whilst thirteenth
century glass was more often Romanesque than Gothic in character, that
of the fourteenth often followed closely the traditions of earlier
Gothic workmanship. The Germans excelled especially in foliage design,
which they treated in a manner of their own. It was neither very deep in
colour nor grisaille, but midway between the two. The glass at
Regensburg is an exceedingly good instance of this treatment; but
instances of it are to be found also in the Museum at Munich, very
conveniently placed for the purposes of study. The windows at Freiburg
in the Black Forest should also be seen. But some of the very richest
figure work of the period is to be found in the choir windows of S.
Sebald's Church, at Nuremberg. Except for the simplicity of their lines
these are not striking in design; but the colour is perhaps deeper in
tone than in the very richest of thirteenth century glass. The first
impression is that the composition is entirely devoid of white glass;
but there proves to be a very small amount of horny-tinted material
which may be supposed to answer to that description. As the light fades
towards evening these windows become dull and heavy; but on a bright day
the intensity of their richness is unsurpassed. They have a quality
which one associates rather with velvet than with glass.

[Illustration: 252. 14TH CENTURY GERMAN GLASS.]

Excellent Decorated glass, and a great quantity of it, is to be found at
Evreux, and again at Troyes. The clerestory of the choir at Tours is
most completely furnished with rich Early Decorated glass of
transitional character--interesting on that account, and, at the same
time, most beautiful to see. There is other Decorated work there with
which it is convenient to compare it, together with earlier and later
work more or less worth seeing. Again most interesting work, but not
much of it, and that rather fragmentary, is to be found at the church of
S. Radegonde, at Poitiers; but there was in France at about that time
rather a lull in glass painting. In England, on the contrary, there is
an abundance of it. There is good work in the choir of Wells Cathedral.
Part of it is in a rather fragmentary condition, but it is all very much
of a period; and there is enough of it to give a fair idea of what
English Decorated glass is like. York Minster is rich in it. It is quite
an object lesson in style to go straight from the contemplation of the
Five Sisters, which belong to the latter part of the Early period of
glass painting, into the neighbouring vestibule of the Chapter House,
where the windows are of the early years of the Second Period, and
thence to the Chapter House itself, where they are typically Decorated.
The study of Decorated glass can be continued in the nave again, which
is filled with it. Entering, then, the choir, you find mainly
Perpendicular glass, much of it typical of English work of the Late
Gothic period.

Other very beautiful Late Gothic work is to be found in some of the
smaller churches of York, such as All Saints'. There is a window there
made up of fragments of old glass, among which are some very delicately
painted and really beautiful heads. This work is all characteristically
English. English also is the glass in the Priory Church at Great
Malvern. There is a vast quantity of it, too, which adds to its effect;
but unfortunately, a great part of it now fills windows for which it was
obviously not designed. This is the more unfortunate because, where it
has not been disturbed, it shows unmistakable evidence of having been
very carefully designed for its place. The tracery of the great East
window is, for example, an admirable instance of the just balance
between white and colour so characteristic of later Gothic glass. Again,
the Creation window, amongst others, is a lesson in delicate glass
painting.

[Illustration: 253. FAIRFORD.]

Distinctly English in the delicacy of their painting are, again, the
windows in the church of S. Mary, Ross. The far-famed windows of
Fairford are, of course, not English. They were captured, the story
goes, at sea, and brought to Gloucestershire, where a Perpendicular
church was built to accommodate them. English antiquaries make claim
that they are English, but internal evidence shows them to be Flemish or
German. Considerable notoriety attaches to the Fairford windows owing to
a theory which was at one time propounded to the effect that they were
designed by Albert Dürer. The theory is now as dead as a back number,
but the notoriety remains--and not undeservedly; for although this glass
stands by no means alone, and is distinctly second to some contemporary
work (such, for example, as that on the north side of the nave of
Cologne Cathedral, which Dürer might conceivably have designed), it is
remarkably fine; and it enjoys the comparatively rare distinction of
practically filling the windows of the church. You not only, therefore,
see the colour (which, rather than the painting, is its charm) at its
best, but you have a complete scheme of decoration--Type answering to
Anti-type, the Twelve Apostles corresponding to the Prophets, the
Evangelists to the Four Fathers, and again the Saints opposed to the
Persecutors of the Church. Most old glass owes something to the
disintegration of its surface, and the consequent refraction of the
light transmitted through it. In the Fairford glass the colours are more
than usually mellow. The white, in particular, is stained to every
variety of green and grey--the colour, as it proves, of the minute
growth of lichen with which it is overgrown. It is said that, when the
fury of iconoclasm was abroad, this glass was buried out of harm's way;
which may possibly have hastened the decay of the glass, and so have
given root-hold for the growth which now glorifies it.

It would not be easy to find finer instances of Late Gothic German work
than the five great windows on the North side of Cologne Cathedral.
There, too, one has only to turn right-about-face to compare early
sixteenth century with nineteenth century German practice, and on
precisely the same scale, too. Any one who could hesitate for an instant
to choose between them, has everything yet to learn in regard both to
glass and to colour. The garish modern transparencies show, by their
obvious shortcomings, the consummate accomplishment of the later Gothic
glass painters.

There is a very remarkable late Gothic Jesse window in the Lorenz Kirche
at Nuremberg, and another almost equal to it in the cathedral at Ulm.
The Tree of Jesse is very differently, but certainly not less
beautifully, rendered in the fine West window at Alençon.

In most of the great French churches, and in many of the smaller ones,
you find good fifteenth century work. At Bourges you have seven
four-light windows and one larger one, all fairly typical. The best of
them is in the chapel of Jacques Coeur, the Jack that built at Bourges
quite one of the most remarkable of mediæval houses extant. But there is
no one church which recurs before all others to the memory when one
thinks of Late Gothic glass in France. One remembers more readily
certain superlative instances, such as the flamboyant Rose window at the
West end of S. Maclou, at Rouen, a wonder of rich colour, or the Western
Rose in the cathedral there. The fact is, that the spirit of the
Renaissance begins early in the sixteenth century to creep into French
work; and, as glass painting arrives at its perfection, it betrays very
often signs of going over to the new manner. This is peculiarly the case
in that part of France which lies just this side of the Alps; so much
so, that a markedly mixed style is commonly accepted as "Burgundian."
This is most apparent in the beautiful church of Brou, a marvel of
fanciful Gothic, florid, of course, after the manner of the Early
sixteenth century, extreme in its ornamentation, but, for all but the
purist, extremely beautiful. The church itself is as rich as a jewel by
Cellini, and infinitely more interesting; and the glass is worthy of its
unique setting.

There is a very remarkable series of windows to see in the cathedral at
Auch, all of a period, all by one man, filling all the eighteen windows
of the choir ambulatory. Transition is everywhere apparent in them,
though perhaps one would not have placed them quite so early as 1513,
the date ascribed to them. A notable thing about the work is its scale,
which is much larger than is usual in French glass of that period.
Nowhere will you find windows more simply and largely designed or more
broadly treated. Nowhere will you find big Renaissance canopies richer
in colour or more interesting in design. The fifty or more rather
fantastically associated Prophets, Patriarchs, Sibyls, and Apostles
depicted, form, with the architecture about them and the tracery above,
quite remarkable compositions of colour. And it is very evident that the
colour of each window has been thought out as a whole. There is not one
of these windows which is not worth seeing. They form collectively a
most important link in the chain of style, without, however, belonging
to any marked period. Indeed, they stand rather by themselves as
examples of very Early Renaissance work, aiming at broad effects of
strong colour (quite opposite from what one rather expects of sixteenth
century French work), and reaching it. And though the artist works
almost entirely in mosaic--using coloured glass, that is to say, instead
of pigment--and depends less than usual upon painting, he yet lays his
colour about the window in a remarkably painter-like way.

There are noteworthy windows at Châlons-sur-Marne, in the churches of
SS. Madelaine and Joseph, which can be claimed neither as Gothic nor
Renaissance, details of each period occurring side by side in the same
window. At the church of S. Alpin at Châlons is a series of picture
windows in grisaille, not often met with, and very well worth seeing.

Early sixteenth century glass is so abundant that it is hopeless to
specify churches. Nowhere is the transition period better represented
than at Rouen, and, for that matter, the Early Renaissance too. The
church of S. Vincent contains no less than thirteen windows, with
subjects biblical or allegorical, but always strikingly rich in colour.
The choir is, you may say, an architectural frame to a series of glass
pictures second to few of their period, and so nearly all of a period as
to give one an excellent impression of it: the brilliancy of the colour,
the silveriness of the white glass, and the delicacy of the landscape
backgrounds is typical. Scarcely less interesting is the abundant glass
in the church of S. Patrice, which carries us well into the middle of
the sixteenth century and beyond; so that Rouen is an excellent place in
which to study all but Early glass: there is not much of that to speak
of there. Two exceptionally fine Renaissance windows are to be found in
the church of S. Godard; and there are others well worth seeing whilst
you are in Rouen, if not in every case worth going there to see, in the
churches of S. Romain, S. Nicaise, S. Vivien, in addition to S. Ouen, S.
Maclou, and the cathedral.

Yet finer Renaissance work is to be found at Beauvais--finer, that is to
say, in design. One is reminded there sometimes of Raffaelle, who
furnished designs for the tapestries for which the town was famous;
these may very well have inspired the glass painters; but there is not
at Beauvais the quantity of work which one finds at Rouen. The very
perfection of workmanship is to be seen also in the windows at
Montmorency and Ecouen (both within a very short distance of Paris);
but, on the whole, this most interesting glass hardly comes up to what
one might imagine it to be from the reproductions in M. Magne's most
sumptuous monograph.

In a certain sense also the windows at Conches, in Normandy, are a
disappointment. In a series of windows designed by Aldegrever one
expects to find abundant ornament; and there is practically none. What
little there is, is like enough to his work to be possibly by him; but
one feels that Heinrich Aldegrever, if he had had his way, would have
lavished upon them a wealth of ornamental detail, which would have made
them much more certainly his than, as it is, internal evidence proves
them to be. It would hardly have occurred to any one, apart from the
name in one of the windows, to attribute them to this greatest
ornamentist among the Little Masters. It is only the ornamentist who is
disappointed, however, not the glass hunter. It is an experience to have
visited a church like Conches, simple, well proportioned, dignified;
where, as you enter from the West (and the few modern windows are
hidden), you see one expanse of good glass, of a good period, not much
hurt by restoration. The effect is singularly one. You come away not
remembering so much the glass, or any particular window, as the
satisfactory impression of it all--an impression which inclines you to
put down the date of a pilgrimage to Conches as a red-letter day in your
glass-hunting experiences.

There is magnificent Renaissance glass in Flanders, and especially at
Liège, in which, for the most part, Gothic tradition lingers. Most
beautiful is the great window in the South transept of the cathedral.
The radiance of the scene in which the Coronation of the Virgin is laid,
reminds one of nothing less than a gorgeous golden sunset, which grows
more mellow towards evening when the light is low. In the choir of S.
Jacques there are no less than five tall three-light windows, by no
means so impressive as the glass at the cathedral, but probably only
less worthy of study because they have suffered more restoration. The
seven long two-light windows at S. Martin, though less well-known, are
at least as good as these. In most of them may be seen the decorative
use of heraldry as a framework to figure subjects, characteristic of
German and Flemish work. Very much of this character is the glass from
Herkenrode, which now occupies the seven easternmost windows of the Lady
Chapel in Lichfield Cathedral. They are pictorial, but the pictures are
glass pictures, depending upon colour for their effect; and they are
really admirable specimens of the more glass-like manner of the Early
Flemish Renaissance. There is in the three windows at the East end of
Hanover Square Church, London, some equally admirable glass, which must
once have belonged to a fine Jesse window; but it has suffered too much
in its adaptation to its present position to be of great interest to any
but those who know something about glass.

All this work is in marked contrast to the not much later Flemish glass
at Brussels--the two great transept windows, and those in the Chapel of
the Holy Sacrament at S. Gudule, to which reference is made at length in
Chapter VII. They are windows which must be seen. They are at once the
types, and the best examples, of the glass painter's new departure in
the direction of light and shade. On the other hand, the large East
window at S. Margaret's, Westminster (Dutch, it is said, of about the
same date), has not the charm of the period, and must not be taken to
represent it fairly.

The brilliant achievements of William of Marseilles at Arezzo, and the
extraordinarily rich windows in the Duomo at Florence, have been
discussed at some length (pages 248, 268). They should be seen by any
one pretending to some acquaintance with what has been done in glass.
Other Florentine windows worthy of mention are, the Western Rose at S.
Maria Novella, and the great round window over the West door at S.
Croce, ascribed to Ghiberti. The transept window in SS. Giovanni e Paolo
at Venice does not come up to its reputation. It is in a miserable
condition, and as to its authorship (whence its reputation), you have
only to compare it with the S. Augustine picture, which hangs close by,
to see that it is not by the same hand. One of the multitudinous
Vivarini may very likely have had a hand in it, but certainly not
Bartolomeo. His manner, even in his pictures, was more restrained than
that. There are a number of fine windows in the nave of Milan Cathedral,
two at least in which the composition of red and blue is a joy to see.
Earlier Italian glass is of less importance; the windows at Assisi, for
example, are interesting rather than remarkable. They show a distinctly
Italian rendering of Gothic, which is of course not quite Gothic; but to
the designer they indicate trials in design, which might possibly with
advantage be carried farther.

[Illustration: 254. RAISING OF LAZARUS, AREZZO.]

By far the most comprehensive series of Renaissance windows in this
country is in King's College Chapel, Cambridge. In the matter of dignity
and depth of colour, the small amount of rather earlier glass in the
outer chapel holds its own; but the thing to see, of course, is the
array of windows, twenty-three of them, all of great size, within the
choir screen. It flatters national vanity, though it may not show great
critical acumen, to ascribe them to English hands. Evidently many hands
were employed, some much more expert than others. It seems there is
documentary evidence to show that the contracts for them (1516-1526)
were undertaken by Englishmen. Very possibly they were executed in
England, and even, as it is said they were, in London. That they were
not painted by the men who drew them, or even by painters in touch with
the draughtsmen, is indicated by such accidents as the yellow-haired,
white-faced negro, of pronounced African type, among the adoring Magi.
It is as clear that the painter had never seen a black man as that the
draughtsman had drawn his Gaspar from the life. Certain of the accessory
scroll-bearing figures, which keep, as it were, ornamental guard between
the pictures, might possibly have been designed by Holbein, who is
reported to have had a hand in the scheme; but they are at least as
likely to be the handiwork of men unknown to fame. But, no matter who
designed the glass, it is on a grand scale, and largely designed. It is
not, however, a model of the fit treatment of glass, though it belongs
to the second quarter of the sixteenth century. For the designers have
been more than half afraid to use leading enough to bind the glass well
together, and have been at quite unnecessary pains to do without lead
lines. The windows vary, too, in merit; and they bear evidence, if only
in the repetition of sundry stock figures, of haste in production.
Still, they have fine qualities of design and colour, and they are, on
the whole, glass-like as well as delightful pictures. We have nothing to
compare with them in their way.

To see how far pictorial glass painting can be carried, go to Holland.
No degree of familiarity with old glass quite prepares one for the kind
of thing which has made the humdrum market town of Gouda famous. Imagine
a big, bare, empty church with some thirty or more huge windows, mostly
of six lights, seldom less than five-and-twenty feet in height, all
filled with great glass pictures, some of them filling the whole window,
and designed to suggest that you see the scene through the window arch.
They do not, of course, quite give that impression, but it is marvellous
how near they go to doing it. No wonder the painters have won the
applause due to their daring no less than to what they have done. Any
one appreciating the qualities of glass, and realising what can best be
done in it, is disposed at first to resent the popularity of this
scene-painting in glass;--one measures a work naturally by the standard
of its fame;--but a workman's very appreciation of technique must, in
the end, commend to him this masterly glass painting. For the Crabeth
Brothers, their pupils, and coadjutors, were not only artists of
wonderful capacity, daring what only great artists can dare, but they
had the fortune to live at a time when the traditions of their art had
not yet been cast to the winds. Though working during the latter half of
the sixteenth century, they were the direct descendants of the men who
had raised glass painting to the point of perfection, and they inherited
from their forbears much that they could not unlearn. Ambitious as they
might be, and impatient of restraint, they could not quite emancipate
themselves from the prejudices in which they were brought up. More than
a spark of the old fire lay smouldering still in the kiln of the glass
painter, and it flared up at Gouda, brilliantly illuminating the
declining years of the century, and of the art which may be said to have
flickered out after that.

This last expiring effort in glass painting counts for more, in that it
is the doing not only of strong men but of men who knew their trade. It
is extremely interesting to trace the work of the individual artists
employed; which a little book published at Gouda, and translated into
most amusing English, enables one to do. Dirk Crabeth's work is
pre-eminent for dignity of design, his figures are well composed, and
his colour is rich; although in the rendering of architectural interiors
he falls into the mud, that is to say, into the prevailing Netherlandish
opacity of paint. His brother Walter has not such a heavy hand; he
excels in architectural distance, as Dirk does in landscape; and his
work is generally bright and sparkling, not so strong as his brother's,
but more delicate. Their pupils, too, do them credit, though they lack
taste. Among the other more or less known artists who took part in the
glass, Lambrecht van Ort distinguishes himself in canopy work, as a
painter-architect might be expected to do; Adrian de Vrije and N.
Johnson delight also in architecture, Wilhelmus Tibault and Cornelius
Clok in landscape. Clok and Tibault compete in colour with the Crabeths,
and go beyond them in originality.

Description of this unrivalled collection of later Dutch glass painting,
except on the spot, is as hopeless as it would be dull. The windows must
be seen. The men were artists and craftsmen, and their work is truly
wonderful. Who shall attempt what these men failed to do? That is the
moral of it.

[Illustration: 255. THE VIRGIN, S. MARTIN-ÈS-VIGNES, TROYES.]

The only other place where later glass is of sufficient worth to make it
worth seeing, the only place where Seventeenth century work arouses
much interest, is Troyes. There is a quantity of it in the churches of
S. Nizier, S. Pantaleon, and in the cathedral, attributed, for the most
part, to Linard Gontier, who is certainly responsible for some of the
best of it. But it is in the church of S. Martin-ès-Vignes, in the
outskirts of the town, that it is to be appreciated _en masse_. There
you may see some hundred and ten lights in all, executed during the
first forty years of the seventeenth century. This is the place to study
the decline and fall of glass painting--a melancholy sort of
satisfaction. Here more thoroughly than ever must be realised how
hopeless it is to evade in glass the glazier's part of the business; how
powerless enamel is to produce effect; how weak, poor, lacking in
limpidity and lustre, its colour is--and this even in the hands of an
artist born, one may say, after his time. Gonthier was an incomparable
glass painter. He could produce with a wash of pigment effects which
lesser men could only get by laborious stippling and scratching; he
could float enamel on to glass with a dexterity which enabled him to get
something like colour in it; but he was not a colourist, nor yet,
probably, a designer. The difference in the work attributed to him, and
the style of his design (which is sometimes that of an earlier and
better day) lead one rather to suppose that he adapted or adopted the
designs of his predecessors as suited his convenience.

To see what glass painting came to in the eighteenth century you cannot
do better than go to Oxford. You have there the design of no less a man
than Sir Joshua Reynolds, painted by one of the best china painters of
his day. None but a china painter, by the way, could be found to do it.
It is not unfair, therefore, to compare this masterpiece of its poor
period with the rude work of the fourteenth century, done by no one
knows whom. And what do we find? Conspicuous before us is the great West
window, which might as well have been painted on linen, so little of the
translucency of glass is there left in it. It in no way lessens the
credit of the great portrait painter that he knew nothing of the
capacities of glass; that was not his _métier_. And there was no one to
advise him wisely in the matter. But the result is disastrous. The
beauty of his drawing--and there is charm at least in the figures of the
Virtues--counts for little, as compared with the dulness of it all. It
has neither the colour of mosaic glass nor the sparkle of grisaille.
The white is obscured by masses of heavy paint, which, when the sun
shines very brightly behind it, kindles at best into a foxy-brown; and
even this is in danger of peeling off, and showing the poverty of the
glass it was meant to enrich. Any pictorial effect it might have had is
ruined by the leads and bars, which assert themselves in the most
uncompromising manner. In short, the qualities of oil painting aimed at
are altogether missed, and the facilities which glass offered are not so
much as sought.

It is no hardship to turn your back upon such poor stuff. And there,
high up on the other side, are seven great Gothic windows. These are by
no means of the best period. The design consists largely of canopy work,
never profoundly interesting; the figures are, at the best, rudely
drawn; some of them are even grotesquely awkward. Their heads are too
large by half, their hands and feet flattened out in the familiar,
childish, mediæval way. In all the sixty-four figures there is not one
that can be called beautiful. Yet for all that, there is a dignity in
them which the graceful Virtues lack. They are designed, moreover, with
a large sense of decoration. The balance of white and colour is just
perfect, and the way the patches of deep colour are embedded, as it
were, in grisaille, is skilful in the extreme. To compare them with the
futile effort of the eighteenth century, opposite, is to apprehend what
can be done in glass, and what cannot. The whole secret of the success
of the mere craftsman where the great painter failed, is that he knew
what to seek in glass,--colour, brilliancy, decorative breadth. He not
only knew what to do, but how to do it; and he did it in the manliest
and most straightforward way. Rude though the work, it fits its place,
fulfils its function, adorns the architecture, gives grandeur to it.
What more can you ask?

Domestic glass, such as that in which the Swiss excelled (window panes,
many of them, rather than windows), is best studied in museums, whither
most of it has drifted. There is no national collection without good
examples. Better or more accessible it would be difficult to find than
those in the quiet little museum at Lucerne--so quiet that, if you spend
a morning there, studying them, you become yourself, by reason of your
long stay, an object of interest. So little attention do these
masterpieces in miniature glass painting attract, that the guardians do
not expect any one to give them more than a passing glance; but they
leave you, happily, quite free to pursue your harmless, if inexplicable,
bent.

The list of windows worth seeing is by no means exhausted. In many a
town, as at York, Tours, Troyes, Evreux, Bourges, Rouen, Nuremberg,
Cologne, and in many a single church, you may find the whole course of
glass painting, from the thirteenth to the sixteenth century, more or
less completely illustrated; and, where that is so, of course one period
throws light upon another. But the impression is always stronger when
the century has left its mark upon the church.

Not until you have a clear idea of the characteristics of style, can you
sort out for yourself the various specimens, which occur in anything but
historic sequence in the churches where they are to be found. Having
arrived at understanding enough to do that, you will need no further
guidance, and may go a-hunting for yourself. To the glass hunter there
are almost everywhere windows worth seeing.



CHAPTER XXXIII.

A WORD ON RESTORATION.


If old windows have suffered at the hands of time, they have also
gained, apart from sentiment, a tone and quality which the glass had not
when it was new.

Their arch-enemy is the restorer, at whose hands they have suffered
cruel and irreparable wrong. He is the thief who has robbed so much old
glass of its glory, and a most impenitent one: there are times when any
one who cares for glass could find it in his heart to wish he were
crucified. So greedy is he of work, if not of gain, that restoration
cannot safely be left even to the most learned of men; to him, perhaps,
can it least of all be entrusted.

The twelfth century windows at S. Denis should be among the most
interesting extant. They are ruined by restoration. The beauty which
they may have had, which they must have had, is wiped out; and, for
purposes of study, they are of use only to those who have opportunity
and leisure to ferret out what is genuine amidst the sham. The S.
Chapelle is cited as a triumph of restoration, an object lesson, in
which we may see a thirteenth century chapel with its glass as it
appeared when first it was built. If that is so, then time has indeed
been kinder even than one had thought. No less an authority than Mr.
Ruskin (in a letter to Mr. E. S. Dallas, published in the _Athenæum_)
praises the new work there, and says he cannot distinguish it from the
old. There is at least a window and a half (part of the East window, and
the one to the left of that) in which, at all events, the old is easily
distinguishable from the new. But if the new is not more obvious
throughout, that is not because the new is so good, but because the old
has been so restored that it is unrecognisable--as good as new, in fact,
and no better. The old glass is so smartened up, so watered down with
modern, that it gives one rather a poor idea of unspoiled thirteenth
century work. A more adequate impression of what it must have been, may
be gained from the few panels of it, comparatively unhurt by
restoration, now in South Kensington Museum.

The story of destruction repeats itself wherever the restorer has had
his way. Sometimes he has actually inserted new material if only the old
was cracked, obscured, corroded; and has effaced the very qualities
which come of age and accident. Sometimes he has indulged in a brand-new
background. There, at least, it seemed to his ignorance, he might safely
substitute nice, new, even-tinted, well-made glass for streaky,
speckled, rough, mechanically imperfect material. Invariably he has
thinned the effect of colour by diluting the old glass with new. Many
quite poor new-looking windows, spick and span from the restorer (those,
for example, at the East end of Milan Cathedral), turn out to contain a
certain amount of old work, good perhaps, lost in garish modern
manufacture. At Notre Dame, at Paris, the considerable remains of Early
and Early Decorated glass go for very little. One has to pick them out
from among modern work designed to deceive. Certain windows at Mantes
have suffered such thorough restoration that one begins to wonder if
they are not altogether new; and you have precisely the same doubt at
Limoges and at scores of other places. At Lyons an Early Rose has been
made peculiarly hideous by restoration. Much of the harsh purple in
Early French mosaic is surely due to the admixture of crude new glass.
It is needless to multiply examples; they will occur to every one. All
this old work swamped in modern imitation goes inevitably for nought. If
the new is good it puzzles and perplexes one; if bad, one can see
nothing else. What is crude kills what is subdued. It is as if one
listened for a tender word at parting, and it was drowned in the screech
of the steam-engine.

Early glass was so mechanically imperfect, and age has so roughened and
pitted it, that its colour has, almost of necessity, a quality which new
work has not; and one is disposed, perhaps too hastily, to ascribe all
garish glass in old windows to the restorer. Many a time, however, the
new work convicts itself. At Strassburg it is quite easily detected. You
may check your judgment in this respect by surveying the windows from
the rear. It is a very good plan to preface the study of old work by
examining it from the churchyard, the street, the close, or in the case
of a big church from its outer galleries. The surface exposed to the
weather, with the light upon it, explains often at a glance what would
else be unaccountable. A vile habit of the restorer is to smudge over
his glass with dirty paint, perhaps burnt in, perhaps merely in varnish
colour; this he terms "antiquating."

The worse the new work added to the old, the more thoroughly it spoils
it; the better the forgery, the more serious the doubt it throws upon
what may be genuine. The modern ideal of restoration is thoroughly
vicious. All that can be done is mending; and it should be an axiom with
the repairer, that, where glass (however broken) can possibly be made
safe by lead joints, no new piece of glass should ever be inserted in
its place. Better any disfigurement by leads than the least adulteration
of old work.

It is absurd to set good old work in the midst of inferior reproduction
of it, as the common practice is, more especially in the case of Early
work. Every bungler has thought himself equal to the task of restoring
thirteenth century glass. It was rudely drawn and roughly painted. What
could be easier than to repeat details of ornament, or even to make up
bogus old subjects, and so complete the window? To paint figures
anything like those in the picture windows of the sixteenth century was
obviously not so easy, and the difficulty has acted as a deterrent.
Where it has not, the discrepancy between old and new is usually
unmistakable. Men like M. Capronnier, however, have sometimes put
excellent workmanship into their restoration of Renaissance work, to be
detected only by a certain air of modernity, which happily has crept
into it, in spite of the restorer. But was it not he who flattened the
grey-blue background to the transept windows at S. Gudule? The fine
window at S. Gervais, Paris, with the Judgment of Solomon, has lost much
of its charm in restoration. To compare it with the two lights in the
window to the right of it, is to see how much of the quality of old
glass has been restored away. That quality may be due in part to age and
decay. What then? Beauty is beauty; and if it comes of decay (which we
cannot hinder), let us at least enjoy the beauty of decay.

It has been proved at Strassburg that thirteenth or even twelfth century
work may be quite harmoniously worked into fourteenth century windows.
And even in the sixteenth century there were artists who managed to
adapt quite Early mosaic glass to Renaissance windows, in which
abundant stain, and even enamel, was used. The effect may be perplexing,
but it does not deceive. Why will not a man frankly tell us what is new
in his work? Then we could appreciate what he had done. But it is only
once in a while that he takes you into his confidence. This happens, by
way of exception, in a window at S. Mary's Redcliffe, Bristol, in the
case of some figure work on quarry backgrounds, in which the new work is
all of clear unpainted white or coloured glass, but so judiciously
chosen that you do not at first perceive the patching. The effect is
absolutely harmonious; and when you begin to study the glass, you do so
without any fear that imposition is being practised upon you. Where the
painting has in parts been made good, there is always that fear, as, for
example, at S. Mary's Hall, Coventry: the windows have been restored
with great taste; but one cannot always be quite sure as to what is
modern.

The merest jumble of old glass, more especially if it be all of one
period or quality, is far better than what is called restoration. Who
does not call to mind window after window in which the glass is so mixed
as to be quite meaningless, and is yet, for all that, beautiful? The
Western Rose at Reims is an unintelligible jumble mainly of blue and
green. It may not be design, but it is magnificent. Again, the Western
lights at Auxerre, in great part patchwork, are simply glorious when the
afternoon sun shines through.

At the East end of Winchester Cathedral is a seven-light window,
reckoned by Winston to be one of the finest of a fine period. At the
West end is an enormous window, which seems to be a mere medley of odds
and ends. On examination you can trace in perhaps twelve out of
forty-four lights of this last the outline of canopy-work, and in two or
three that of the figure under it; but for the rest, certainly in the
two lower tiers (which are best seen), it is mere patchwork, including
some quite crude blue, and a certain amount of common clear white sheet.
The effect, when you examine it closely, is anything but pleasing. But
as you stand near the choir screen on a not very bright morning, and
look from one window to the other, the effect is just the opposite of
what might have been expected. For the really fine East window has been
restored; and, whether to preserve it or to bring old work and new into
uniformity, it has been screened with sheets of perforated zinc! On the
other hand, the really considerable amount of crude white and colour
with which the West window has been botched is, so to speak, swallowed
up in silvery radiance. Probably it helps even to give it quality;
anyway, the effect is delightful. Indeed, it recalls the impression of
the Five Sisters at York, or suggests some monster cobweb in which the
light is caught. Beauty, forbid that any busybody should restore it! At
Poitiers (S. Radegonde) is a grisaille window of the fourteenth century,
all patched, defaced, undecipherable--mended only with thick bulbous
bits of green-white glass--which is quite all one could desire in the
way of decoration.

[Illustration: 256. A RESTORATION AT ANGERS.]

In very many churches there remain fragments of old glass in stray
tracery openings, not enough to produce effect. The question has been
what to do with them. A common practice is to use up such scraps in the
form of bordering to common white quarry glass. That is quite a futile
thing to do. The effect of setting old glass amidst plain white is to
put out its colour; and this, not only in the case of deep-coloured
glass, but equally of Early grisaille; which when framed in clear glass,
looks merely dirty. The most beautiful and sparkling of thirteenth
century glass so framed would be degraded. At Angers are some windows
consisting of a mosaic of scraps worked up into pattern (before the days
of restoration as we know it); and the mere introduction amidst it of a
strapwork of thin white sheet (above) is enough to take from it all
charm of colour, all quality of old glass. Massed all together in one
window, without such adulteration, the most miscellaneous collection of
chips makes usually colour. In the hands of a colourist it would be
certain to do so. What if it be confused? Mystery is, at all events, one
element of charm, and even of beauty.

[Illustration: 257. S. JEAN-AUX-BOIS.]

It is not beyond the bounds of possibility to marry old work with new;
but the union is rarely happy. It wants, in the first place, good modern
glass. Further than that, it wants an artist, and one who has more care
for old work than for his own. There is some satisfactory eking out old
glass with new at Evreux, where a number of small subjects, many of them
old, are framed in grisaille, in great part new, in a very ingenious
way. At Munster is a window in which little tracery lights (you can tell
that by their shapes) are used as points of interest in a modern
composition--with a result, only less happy than where, at S. Mary's
Redcliffe, a window is made up almost entirely of old glass, very much
of one period, the more fragmentary remains forming a sort of broken
mosaic background to circular medallions, heads, and other important
pieces, arranged more or less pattern-wise upon it. Old glass must needs
be mended sometimes, patched perhaps; new may have to be added to it; it
has even to be adapted on occasion to a new window, with or without the
admixture of new; but none of this is restoration of the glass in the
modern sense. That implies restoring it to what once it was--which is,
on the face of it, absurd.

The effect of windows made up (as at S. Jean-aux-Bois, page 409) of
segments of two or three old windows satisfies the artistic sense
perfectly. What the restorer does is to take each pattern he finds in it
for what he calls "authority," and to make two or three windows, all of
which have much more the appearance of modern forgeries (which in great
part they are) than of old work. The "antiquation" of the new glass in
them deceives none but the most ignorant; but it does throw doubt upon
the genuineness of the old work found in such very bad company.

If there remain enough old glass to make a window, let it be judiciously
repaired; if there be not enough for that, let it be piously preserved,
best of all, in a museum, where those who care for such scraps may see
it: scattered about in stray windows in out-of-the-way churches they are
practically unseen. Better than what is called restoration, the
brutality of the mason who plasters up gaps in the clerestory windows of
great churches with mortar, or the plumber's patch of zinc, which
temporarily at least keeps out the weather and the crude white light,
leaving us in full enjoyment of the colour and effect of old glass. How
grateful we are when it is only cobbled, and not restored. Restoration
is a word to make the artist shudder.

In a window at Auch, representing the Risen Christ, with, on the one
side, the doubting Thomas, and on the other the Magdalene, the customary
inscription, "Noli me tangere," is followed (in letters of precisely the
same character) by the signature of the artist, Arnaut de Moles. It is
the reverend Abbé responsible for the authorised description of the
church, who suggests that it may have been with intention he signed his
name just there. He has come off, as it happens, very much better at the
hands of the restorer than most men. Had it been possible for him to
foresee what nineteenth century "restoration" meant, well might he have
written over his signature "Leave me alone"!



INDEX.

(The ordinary figures refer to the numbers of the illustrations, and
those in black type to the pages of the book.)


  ABRASION, =60=, =62=
  AIX-LA-CHAPELLE, 14
  ALABASTER windows, =380=, =381=
  ALENÇON, =366=
  ANGELS, =375=
  ANGERS, 61, 62, 63, 256
     "   museum, 168
     "   (S. Serge), 17, 85, 86
  ANNEALING, =63=
  ANTWERP, =80=, =82=, =226=, =227=, =258=
  ARAB glass, =19=, 15, 16, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23
  ARCHITECTURE (due consideration of), =356=
  AREZZO, =248=, 41, 43, 181, 254
  ASSISI, =262=, 53, 177, 187
  AUCH, =233=, =280=, =393=, =410=
  AUGSBURG, =118=
  AUXERRE, 55, 75, 220

  BACKGROUND, =251=
      "     (architectural), =209=, =211=
      "     (landscape), =209=, =211=
  BARS, =101=, =113=, =114=, =122=, =158=, =267=, =275=
    " (shaped), 68, 69
  BEAUVAIS, =374=, =394=, 247
  BEVERLEY minster, =74=
  BLACK PAINT (used for local colour), =89=
  BOLOGNA, =264=, 180
  BONLIEU, =11=
  BORDERS (Early), =114=, =327=
     "    (Decorated), =174-7=, =335=
     "    (Perpendicular), =190=, =344=
  BOURGES, =392=, 70, 72, 234
     "   (S. Bonnet), =208=, 157
  BRABOURNE church, 16
  BRISTOL (S. Mary's), =407=
  BRITISH Museum, =1=
  BROU, =393=
  BRUSSELS (S. Gudule), =69=, =79=, =80=, =233=, =395=, 42
  BULL'S-eye windows, =267=

  CAMBRIDGE (King's College), =216=, =257=, =396=
  CANOPIES (Early), =135=, =313=, =334=
     "     (Decorated), =155=, =197=, =313=
     "     (Italian), 264=, 265=
     "     (Perpendicular), =184= _et seq._, =340=
     "     (Renaissance), =205=, =221=, =224=, =225=, =347=
  CANOPY (the beginning of the), =135=
  CANTERBURY, =385=, 23, 73, 79, 81, 214
  CARCASSONNE, =362=, =369=
  CARTOUCHES, =229=
  CHÂLONS, =393=, 12, 13, 98, 121, 122, 227
  CHANTILLY, =303=, 160
  CHARTRES, =144=, =387=, 27, 71, 76, 103, 117, 216, 219
     "    (S. Pierre), 96, 115
  CHETWODE church, 201
  CHOICE of glass, =60=, =101=
  CLERESTORY windows, =283=
  CLOK (Cornelius)   =399=
  COATED glass, =49=
  COLOGNE, =392=, 147
    "    (S. Kunibert), 25, 28, 77, 222, 223
    "    (S. Peter), 240
  COLOUR (Early), =122=, =328=, =330=
    "    (Decorated), =338=
    "    in quarry windows, =287=
    "    (Italian), =268=, =270=
    "    (Perpendicular), =346=
  CONCHES, =394=
  CONFUSED effect, =42=, =134=, =217=
  COSTA (Lorenzo), =264=
  COUTANCES, 101
  CRABETHS (the), =247=, =399=
  CUTTING, =8=
     "   (economy of), =25=

  DA UDINE (Giovanni), =300=
  DECAY, =219=
  DECLINE of glass painting, =86=
  DECORATED borders, =176=, =335=
     "      canopies, =155=, =313=, =334=
     "      colour, =338=
     "      composition, =334=
     "      figure design, =157=, =337=
     "      grisaille, =163=, =337=
     "      Jesse windows, =363=
     "      medallion windows, =152=
     "      quarries, =290=
     "      style, =333-338=
     "      tracery, =278=
  DESIGN (banded), =160=
     "   (Early), =36=, =111=, =112=
     "   (effect of window-shape upon), =113=
     "   (essential conditions of), =96=
     "   (Perpendicular), =187=, =340=
  DETAIL (ornamental), =328=
  DEVILS, =374=
  DIAPER (geometric), =133=
    "    (German), =171=
    "    (painted or picked out), =35=, 32, 33, 36, 49, 56
  DONORS, =221=
  "DOOM" windows, =372=
  DRAMATIC effect, =378=
  DRAWING, =346=

  EARLY canopies, =313=
    "   colour, =328=, =330=
    "   design, =36=, =111=, =112=
    "   English, =327=
    "   figures, their crudity, =41=
    "   glass (confusion in effect of), =42=
    "   glazing, =330=
    "   grisaille, =137= _et seq._, =408=
    "   Jesse windows, =362=
    "   mosaic windows, =32= _et seq._
    "   ornament, =40=, =115=, =130=
    "   rose windows, =273=
    "   tracery, =274=
  ECOUEN, =394=
  ENAMEL, =12= _et seq._, =77= _et seq._, =99=, =232=
    "   (influence of Byzantine), =17=
    "   (objections to), =84=
    "   (use of in ornament), =78=
  ENAMEL _plus_ POT-METAL, =79=
  ENGLISH (Early), =327=
     "    (Perpendicular), =190=
  EVREUX, =176=, =177=, 113, 118, 190, 191

  FAIRFORD, =374=, =391=, 34, 143, 144, 150, 173, 236, 237, 248, 249,
    250, 253
  FIFTEENTH century glass, =322=, =340=
  FIGURE-AND-CANOPY windows, =326=
  FIGURE design, =157=, =337=
  FIGURES (Early), =41=, =42=
  FIGURES and ornament, =126=, =319=
  FIVE Sisters (the), =146=, =147=
  FLASHED glass, =49=, =50=
  FLESH tints, =77=, =106=
  FLORENCE, =264=, =270=, =300=, 179, 182, 183
     "    (Certosa in Val d'Ema), 202, 203, 204, 242
     "    (S. Maria Novella), 178, 199
  FOURTEENTH century glass, =322=, =333=
      "         "    painting, =47=
  FREIBURG, 105, 126, 127, 244
  FRENCH glass painting, =75=
     "   medallion windows, =125=

  GEOMETRIC diaper (German), =171=
     "         "   (mosaic), =133=
  GERMAN foliated pattern windows, =174=
    "    geometric diaper, =171=
  GLAZING, =6=, =15= _et seq._, =80=, =82=, =101=, =229=, =282=, 168
     "   (Early), =330=
     "   (economy in), =144=
     "   (ingenuity in), =56=
  GLAZING _plus_ PAINTING, =43=, =44=, =53=, =54=
     "   in rectangular panes, =80=, =225=
     "   shadows in pot-metal, =72=, =224=
  GONTIER (Linard), =80=, =81=, =229=, =230=
  GOTHIC influence, =203=
    "    (Italian), =263=
    "    landscape, =253=
    "    pattern windows, =291=
    "    tracery, =280=
  GOUDA, =223=, =256=, =258=, =398=, =401=, 46, 161, 162, 165, 172, 176
  GRISAILLE (Early), =137= _et seq._, =331=, =408=
  GRISAILLE (Decorated), =163=, =337=
      "     (Perpendicular), =192=, =343=
      "     and colour, =106=, =120=, =157=

  HERALDRY, =198=
  HITCHIN church, 21

  INTERLACING, =167=
  ITALIAN canopies, =265=
     "    Gothic, =263=
     "    glass, =248=, =260= _et seq._, =299=

  JESSE windows, =360= _et seq._
    "  (Early), =362=
    "  (Decorated), =363=
    "  (Renaissance), =367=
  JEWELLERY (glass related to), =21=
  JOHNSON (N.), =399=

  KALEIDOSCOPIC effect, =42=
  KING'S College, Cambridge, =216=, =257=, =396=

  LANDSCAPE, =209=, =251=, =256=
  LAST Judgment windows, =372=
  LATE GOTHIC pattern windows, =291=
    "     "   style, =343=
    "     "   technique, =346=
    "     "   tracery, =280=
    "     "   windows, =178= _et seq._
  LATE RENAISSANCE canopies, =225=
  LEAD lines, =38=
    "  outlines, =23=
  LEADING (its influence on colour), =39=
  LEADS (contrivances for avoiding), =61=, =62=, =63=, =97=
    "   (scheming of), =27=, =28=
  LE MANS, 20, 218
  LICHFIELD, =214=, =395=
  LIÈGE, =214=, =395=
  LINCOLN, 67, 93, 95, 185, 189, 192
  LISIEUX, 167
  LOCAL schools, =261=
  LONDON (S. George's, Hanover Square), =214=, 159
  LUCERNE, =403=
  LYONS, 26, 83, 84, 153, 188, 239

  MALVERN, =55=, 37
  MANY lights (windows of), =151= _et seq._
  MAP of a window, =8=
  MARSEILLES (William of), =248=
  MATERIAL and design, =107=
  MEDALLION windows, =123= _et seq._, =324=, =325=
      "        "    (Decorated), =152=
      "        "    (French), =125=
      "        "    of many lights, =153=
  MEDIÆVAL artlessness, =376=
  MENDING (judicious), =407=
  MIDDLE GOTHIC glass, =162= _et seq._
  MILAN, =263=
  MISUSE of shading, =68=
  MONTMORENCY, =394=, 40, 158
  MOSAIC, =5=, =6=
    "   (marble and glass), =29=
    "   diaper, =133=
  MULLIONS, =151=, =195=, =197=, =198=, =240=, =272=
  MUNICH museum, 124, 128, 129, 131

  NATURALISM, =337=
  NEEDLE-POINT work, =87= _et seq._
  NETHERLANDISH glass, =73=, =302=
  NEW departures, =109=
  NIMBUS (the), =208=
  NORBURY, 114
  NUREMBERG, =224=, 125
      "    (S. Lorenz), 164
      "    (S. Sebald), 163

  OBSCURATION, =68=, =79=, =82=
  OLD work (the spirit of), =358=
  ORNAMENT (a plea for), =317= _et seq._
     "     (Early), =40=, =115=, =130=
     "     (Decorated), =160=
     "     (Perpendicular), =343=
     "     (possibilities in), =321=
     "     (Renaissance), =349=
  ORVIETO, =380=, 19
  OXFORD (All Souls' College), 35, 141
     "   (New College), =179=, =401=, 48, 109, 137

  PAINT (brushing out), =64=
    "   (early use of), =33=
    "   (first use of), =11=
  PAINT as local colour, =57=
  PAINTED mosaic glass, =43= _et seq._
  PAINTER as glass designer (the), =69=
  PAINTING, =6=, =44=, =45=, =47=, =53=, =59= _et seq._, =64=, =68=,
    =85=, =89=, =103=, =105=, =190=, =211=, =247=, =263=, =331=, =338=,
    =346=
  PAINTING out, =11=, =34=, =35=, =44=, =45=, =278=
  PALETTE (the early), =328=
  PARIS (Louvre), 208
    "   (Musée des Arts Décoratifs), 243
  PARIS (S. Eustache), =223=
    "   (S. Gervais), 166
  PATTERN windows (German), =174=
     "      "     (Late Gothic), =291=
  PECKITT, =233=
  PERPENDICULAR, =340=
       "       (English), =188=, =190=
       "       (German), =188=
  PERPENDICULAR borders, =344=
        "       canopies, =184=, =340=
        "       colour, =346=
        "       design, =187=, =340=
        "       detail, =343=
        "       drawing, =346=
        "       grisaille, =343=
        "       ornament, =343=
        "       style, =340=
        "       tracery, =278=, =279=, =343=
  PICKING out, =35=, =103=
  PICTORIAL _versus_ DECORATIVE, =238=
  PICTURE (achievement in), =250=
     "    (the ideal glass), =246=
  PICTURES (a medley of), =195=
  PICTURE-WINDOWS, =236= _et seq._
  PISA, =263=
  PLAIN glazing, =226=, 166, 167
    "      "   and painted grisaille, =139=
  POICTIERS, =388=, 24, 58, 59, 60
  POSSIBILITIES in the way of ornament, =321=
  POT-METAL, =5=
  PRATO, 184

  QUARRIES, =146=, =168=, =192=, =283= _et seq._
  QUARRY-LIKE patterns, =169=
  QUARRY windows (colour in), =287=

  REGENSBURG, =389=, 123, 128, 131, 252
  REIMS, 92, 99
    "  (S. Remi), =118=, 22, 65, 66, 213
  RENAISSANCE canopies, =205=, =347=
       "         "    (Late), =225=
  RENAISSANCE Jesse windows, =367=
       "      landscape, =255=
       "      ornament, =349=
       "      tracery, =280-282=, =349=
  RESOURCES of the glass painter, =95= _et seq._
  RESTORATION, =404= _et seq._
  REYNOLDS (Sir Joshua), =401=, =402=
  ROSE windows, =272= _et seq._, =326=
    "    "    (Early), =273=
  ROSS (S. Mary), 55, 145, 232
  ROUEN, =392=, =394=, 45, 119, 238
    "  (S. Godard), 154
    "  (S. Ouen), 29, 229
    "  (S. Patrice), =377=, =378=, 155
    "  (S. Vincent), =375=, =377=, 44, 156, 175
  ROUNDELS, =293=, 199

  S. DENIS, =404=
  S. JEAN-AUX-BOIS, 87, 88, 100, 224, 257
  S. MINIATO, =381=
  SALISBURY, =385=, 15, 30, 64, 97, 102, 221, 225, 251
  SCRAPS, =409=
  SENS, 90
  SEVENTEENTH century glass, =233=, =323=
      "          "    style, =352=
  SHADING (misuse of), =68=, =70=, =73=, =79=, =80=, =247=
     "    (the beginning of), =13=, =45=
  SHREWSBURY, 38, 39, 57, 139, 142, 152, 171, 174
  SILVER stain, =52=
  SINGLE-FIGURE windows, =118=, =197=
  SIXTEENTH century glass, =323=, =347=
     "         "    style, =348=
     "         "    technique, =350=
     "         "    windows, =201= _et seq._
  SOISSONS, 89, 91
  SOUTH KENSINGTON Museum, 205
  STAIN, =50=, =52=, =60=, =61=, =62=, =105=, =182=, =336=, =344=
  STANTON S. John, 120
  STORIED windows, =195=, =209=, =371= _et seq._
  STRASSBURG, =388=, 134
  STYLE, =111=, =112=, =156=, =177=, =178=, =323=
    "  (Early), =324=
    "  (Decorated), =335=, =338=
    "  (Late Gothic), =343=
    "  (Perpendicular), =340=
    "  (16th century), =348=
    "  (17th century), =352=
    "  (the characteristics of), =322= _et seq._
    "  in modern glass, =354= _et seq._
  SUBJECTS not within mullions, =198=
  SUBJECT-WINDOWS, =197=
  SWISS glass, =87=, =94=, =308=

  THIRTEENTH century glass, =322=
      "         "    ornament, =130=
  TIBALDI (Pellegrino), =264=
  TIBAULT (Wilhelmus), =399=
  TIME of day to see windows (the), =382=
  TOURS, =362=, =389=
  TRACERY (Early), =274=
     "    (Decorated), =278=
     "    (Gothic), =280=
     "    (Perpendicular), =343=
     "    (Renaissance), =280-2=, =349=
  TRACERY lights, =272= _et seq._
  TRANSITION, =165=, =178=, =181=, =333=
      "      from Gothic to Renaissance, =65=, =202=, =204=
      "      from plain glazing to painted grisaille, =139=
  TREE of Life (the), =370=
  TRIFORIUM windows, =284=
  TROYES, =32=, =366=, =401=, 112, 148, 149, 151, 228, 246
    "   (museum), 211
    "   (private collection), 207
    "   (S. Jean), 241
    "   (S. Martin ès Vignes), =230=, 47, 169, 170, 255
    "   (S. Urbain), 31, 108, 114, 226

  VAN LINGE, =233=
  VAN ORLEY (Bernard), =69=, =222=, =245=
  VAN ORT (Lambrecht), =399=
  VAN THULDEN, =233=
  VERONA (S. Anastasia), 199

  WARWICK Castle, 54, 206, 209
  WATER Perry, 94
  WELLS, =390=, 136, 231, 245
  WHITE and colour (combination of), =193=
  WHITE as a frame for colour, =192=, =315=
  WHITE-LINE work, =91=
  WINCHESTER, =407=
  WINDOW plane (the), =242=
  WINDOW shape (effect of, upon design), =113=, =211=, =212=, =240=
  WINDOWS (how to see), =380= _et seq._
  WINE press (the), =368=
  WORKMANLIKENESS, =244=
  WORKMANSHIP (Early), =330=

  YELLOW stain, =52=
  YORK, =147=, =192=, =277=, =387=, 146
    " (All Saints), =371=, 36


NOTE--_The name of a town without mention of a church may be taken to mean
that the glass is in the cathedral or principal church._


THE END.


BRADBURY, AGNEW, & CO. LD., PRINTERS, LONDON AND TONBRIDGE.


       *       *       *       *       *


TRANSCRIBER NOTES:


    Archaic, alternate and misspellings of words have been retained to
    match the original work with the exception of those listed below.

    Missing punctuation has been added and obvious punctuation errors
    have been corrected.

    Illustrations have been moved so as not to interrupt the flow of the
    text.

    Page 85: the printing of several lines was transposed in the
    original. They have been corrected.

    Page 125: "borders-lines" changed to "border-lines" (He frames his
    little pictures with sufficient border-lines to keep them distinct).

    Page 226: "(16R5)" changed to "(1615)" (as in the cathedral at
    Antwerp (1615)).





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