Peter Blanckenheim, priest of Dunwald, with his patron St George

1538 (made)

Remisch, Gerhard

Height: 51.4 cm sight, Width: 53.2 cm sight, Weight: 3.7 kg in wooden frame, Height: 51.2 cm sight, Width: 53.2 cm sight, Depth: 2.0 cm wood frame

C.256-1928 CER

Panel of clear and coloured glass painted with brown/black pigment and silver (yellow) stain. Depicting the donor Peter Blankenheim and his patron saint St George. Originally from the sixteenth window depicting the Flagellation and Crowning with Thorns in the cloister of Steinfeld Abbey. Made in the workshop of Gerhard Remsich. German (Lower Rhine), 1538.

Stained glass panel depicting Peter Blanckenhem, priest of Dunwald, with his patron St. George. Red, blue, green and purple glass. Grisaille. Yellow stain. Details in brown enamel. From a window dated 1538.

This is one of many panels in the Victoria & Albert Museum's collection of stained glass from the Abbey of Steinfeld in Germany. It was originally in the sixteenth window in the abbey cloister. During the Revolutionary struggles in France and the subsequent religious upheavals under Napolean, many monastic institutions on the continent were 'secularised' and their buildings destroyed. The abbey of Steinfeld was closed down in 1802 but prior to that in 1785 the stained glass windows of the cloister had been taken down. It is believed that they were purchased, probably at the time of the closure in 1802, by John Christopher Hampp of Norwich. Hampp sold the Steinfeld panels to various churches and to private collections. Many of these were purchased by the collector, Lord Brownlow, who had them installed in his new chapel at Ashridge Park in Hertfordshire between 1811 and 1831. In 1928 the contents of Ashridge Park were sold at auction and a private collector purchased the stained glass and gave it to the Victoria & Albert Museum. The scheme of cloister glazing at the Praemonstratensian abbey of Steinfeld was commissioned by its abbot, Johann von Ahrweiler (1517-1538). We know the layout of the windows of the cloister glazing at Steinfeld from an illustrated manuscript that was made in 1632 and was housed at Trier. Another manuscript showing the arrangement of the windows is in the state archives in Dusseldorf. This dates from 1719. This panel was located in the bottom of the 16th window in Steinfeld Cloister. The V&A has another panel from this window (Museum no. C.285-1928) depicting 'Christ at the House of Simon', although the imagery is confused because of later replacements in the panel. The kneeling figure is Peter Blankenheim, priest of Dunwald, shown here with St George, his patron saint. Peter Blankenheim was one of the donors of the glazing scheme at Steinfeld. Donors were sometimes depicted in the windows they helped pay for. St George, seen here in armour with the dragon, was a popular patron saint. By the end of the Middle Ages, the cult of St George had spread widely from its original centres in the eastern lands of the old Roman Empire. George was most likely martyred during the persecutions of the Emperor Diocletian in 302/3. Evidence suggests that the Emperor Constantine himself promoted the cult of St George in the period 320-340 once he had assumed control over the eastern part of the Roman empire. It seems that George's status as a 'warrior of the church' was greatly promoted in the West by the fighting classes in medieval society. Certainly, the Crusaders returning from the Holy Land spread awareness of the saint and the sites associated with his cult, and he quickly became the protective saint of many areas in Western Europe. Gerhard Remisch (or 'Remsich') was a glass painter and head of a prolific stained glass workshop in the Rhineland.

History of the Windows (c.1590-1600) Note in Trier MS that windows had been removed and taken to nearby monastery of Minstereifel and put back 12 years later. Were broken in several places by the removal. (1632) Abbot Norbert of Horichem composed a manuscript (in Latin) of the panels in the cloister as they came down. Were taken down to protect them from the invading Swedish army at the beginning of the Thirty Years War. This manuscript is now in the City Library in Trier but C&G have a photostat. (1654) Panels reinstated - Trier MS used as a guide. (1654-1785) Panels taken out and reinstated four times more. In the cloister of Steinfeld until about 1802. From about 1811 until 1928 it was installed in the Chapel at Ashridge Park, Hertfordshire. (12 July 1928) Sold at Sotheby's. Subsequently given to the museum by the purchaser Mr. E. E. Cook. The glazing programme of the cloister at the Premonstratensian abbey of Steinfeld, in the Eifel region between Cologne and Trier, was executed between about 1522 and 1557. The work was carried out consecutively, window by window, starting at the north-west and running around the cloister, taking in twenty-seven windows in all. With a few exceptions, these were three-light windows with tracery lights above. The three-panelled main lights were invariably divided into two parts, with narrative scenes occupying the middle and upper panels, and donor figures mostly filling the ‘socle’ zone below. The master glazier responsible for the windows up to about 1537-8 appears to be Gerhard Remisch (or Remsich), whose monogram appears in window no. 13, made in 1534 (see C.211-1928). The museum possesses 38 panels from this cloister.

Given by E. E. Cook

Location: Medieval and Renaissance, room 64, case WS

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