Art Mar­ket

Mu­nich-style stained glass and Ger­man ar­mour il­lu­mi­nated the sale­rooms

Country Life Every Week - - Contents -

Be­yond Bavaria, the best re­mem­bered of its kings is ‘Mad’ Lud­wig II, pa­tron of Wag­ner and builder of fairy­tale cas­tles. not only was he not the only pos­si­ble mad­man in the fam­ily —his brother and suc­ces­sor was more prov­ably in­sane—but nei­ther was he the only Wit­tels­bach to be pas­sion­ate about the Arts. His grand­fa­ther, Lud­wig I, and father, Maximilian II, were re­spon­si­ble for es­tab­lish­ing Mu­nich as a ma­jor cul­tural cen­tre with col­lec­tions that would put the cap­i­tals of many more prom­i­nent na­tional cap­i­tals to shame.

Lud­wig I (reigned 1825–48) used cul­ture as a po­lit­i­cal, diplo­matic and eco­nomic tool that en­abled Bavaria to as­sert its in­de­pen­dence from Prus­sia and Aus­tria and to project the king­dom’s in­flu­ence far be­yond Ger­many. one of his ini­tia­tives, in 1827, was to set up the In­sti­tute of Glass Paint­ing, which even­tu­ally be­came the Royal Bavar­ian Stained Glass Man­u­fac­tory un­der the di­rec­tion of Franz Xaver Zet­tler.

Zet­tler (1841–1916) was a mer­chant be­fore be­com­ing a glass painter and art his­to­rian. The lead­ing Bavar­ian man­u­fac­turer of stained glass and church fit­tings was Joseph Gabriel Mayer and Zet­tler trained with him, ris­ing to be­come his works man­ager and son-in-law be­fore set­ting up his own busi­ness.

Lud­wig II granted him a royal war­rant, as did Pope Leo XIII and, be­tween them, Mayer and Zet­tler built up a for­mi­da­ble clien­tele in the USA, where there was a boom in Ro­man Catholic churches and cathe­drals. Be­cause stained glass counted as art, it could be im­ported tax-free and they could un­der­cut the lo­cal plain and opales­cent glass pre­vi­ously favoured by Protes­tant and other Amer­i­can churches.

In 1884, Zet­tler opened a branch in Amer­ica, which was later run by his sons. The two busi­nesses even­tu­ally came to­gether again and the firm con­tin­ues in the own­er­ship of the Mayer fam­ily.

early Mu­nich-style win­dows were painted on rel­a­tively large sheets of glass, but, from the 1860s, Mayer and Zet­tler de­ter­mined to ‘re­ac­ti­vate the ideas of the me­dieval cathe­dral build­ing trades’ and turned back to ear­lier styles and tech­niques to pro­duce rel­a­tively faith­ful copies of Gothic mas­ter­pieces in French and Ger­man cathe­drals.

I say ‘rel­a­tively’ be­cause, how­ever faith­ful copy­ists, or forg­ers, may be, there are of­ten traces of their own times, par­tic­u­larly per­haps in the rep­re­sen­ta­tion of fe­male faces. In a 33½in by 22in Zet­tler Stu­dios win­dow of Saints Apol­lo­nia and Bar­bara (Fig 2), for in­stance, copied from one dat­ing from about 1487 in St Lorenz, nurem­berg, , I would sug­gest that, although Apol­lo­nia, on the left, looks con­vinc­ingly 15th cen­tury, Bar­bara owes more to the 19th. St Apol­lo­nia, by the way, is the pa­tron of den­tistry, be­cause she was tor­tured by hav­ing her teeth vi­o­lently pulled —she holds one in her tongs— and so pop­u­lar were her relics that it is said that tons of her teeth were con­fis­cated in eng­land dur­ing the reign of Henry VI.

This was one of a group of Zet­tler win­dows of­fered by Thomas del Mar in late June at 25, Blythe Road, olympia, W14. del Mar is an arms and ar­mour spe­cial­ist and these un­war­like lots were of­fered in more mar­tial com­pany be­cause they came with the lat­est con­sign­ment from the John Wood­man Hig­gins Ar­mory of Worces­ter, Mas­sach­setts, USA, now in­cor­po­rated in the Worces­ter Art Mu­seum.

Many of the 34 lots were bought by an uniden­ti­fied ‘in­sti­tu­tion’ that is ap­par­ently pre­par­ing an ex­hi­bi­tion on the sub­ject. As a re­sult, even the cheap­est of them were well above es­ti­mate. Most ex­pen­sive was an ex­cel­lent ex­am­ple of Mu­nich-style me­dieval glass, a 96in by 88in copy

of the Death and Burial of the

Vir­gin (Fig 1) in the south nave aisle at Chartres, which dates from about 1260. This came with a wood-and-iron dis­play frame and had been es­ti­mated to £6,000; it made £32,240.

A sec­ond Chartres copy, of The Madonna and Child with An­gels reached £18,600 and, from Bourges, a Madonna and Child lancet mea­sur­ing 435∕8in by 24in and es­ti­mated to £3,000 sold for £24,800 (Fig 3). Three more of the top lots, copied from orig­i­nals of about 1515 in St Se­bal­dus, Nurem­berg, each es­ti­mated to £1,000, were a 44in by 17in St Anne, the Child and Madonna (Fig 4) at £17,360 and a 17in by 44in Saint Se­bal­dus (Fig 5) and Saint Christo­pher (Fig 6) at £19,840 and £14,880. The cheap­est lot was a com­par­a­tively small strip of scrolling fo­liage copied from a 13th-cen­tury win­dow at the Abbey of St De­nis, which made £240 against a £150 es­ti­mate. Next week Six de­grees of Sandys sep­a­ra­tion

Fig 1 above left: Copy of the Chartres Death and Burial of the Vir­gin. £32,240 Fig 2 above: Saints Apol­lo­nia and Bar­bara. £16,120

Fig 4: St Anne, the Child and Madonna. £17,360

Fig 5: Copy of Nurem­berg’s Saint Se­bal­dus. £19,840

Fig 6: Copy of Nurem­berg’s Saint Christo­pher. £14,880

Fig 3: Madonna and Child lancet. £24,800

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