pen and brown ink, grey wash over black chalk on paper
Bequest of the Honorable James Bowdoin III
This drawing is the only extant design for the windows in King’s College Chapel, Cambridge, England, one of the leading examples northern Renaissance stained glass. Painters and glaziers from England, Germany, and the Netherlands took part in the commission. Dierick Vellert, perhaps the most renowned glass designer and painter in Antwerp of the 1520s and 1530s, contributed a major portion of the designs for King’s College. He may even have traveled to England himself to work on the glass. This drawing is a “vidimus,” an exact study on a smaller scale for the glaziers to follow while preparing full-scale cartoons for the manufacture of the windows, each consisting of two lancets with scalloped tops. The visible gridlines indicate the “ferramenta,” the iron support that holds the windowpanes in place. The themes of the three windows are Christ’s Appearance to the Apostles, Peter and John Healing the Lame Man, and the Death of Ananias. The entire cycle of windows illustrates the Life of the Virgin and the Passion of Christ.