Monday, March 17, 2014

Brynn's Book Hoard - Medieval

This is going to be an intentionally massive post. I'm going to list all of my medieval glass-related books and a quick summary of why I find them useful (or not). I may have a future update on my modern glass-related books, too.

I don't do the Amazon affiliate thing; Any of the links here are to a straight Amazon listing. Please consider ordering through your local bookseller or preferred Amazon affiliate when possible (someone might as well get a kickback!)

The scores only reflect a sense of how "essential" I think the books are to a SCAdian glass library. The scores do NOT reflect quality (I gave most of the Lillich books a 2/5, but look how many I own, I *love* her work... it's just very specialized)

In no particular order, rhyme, reason, or sensibility:

Medieval Craftsmen: Glass-Painters
Sarah Brown and David O'Connor
This book focuses on the who, the why, the where, and a little bit of how. It details the information we have on glass painters as people, who hired them, some of the prices that are recorded in church financial records. We get the names of some of the known glass painters and how they learned their craft. There is a chapter detailing the procedues of making a medieval glass window as well. I found my copy for cheap at the now-closed bookstore at Bristol (Ren Faire) and misplaced it. I liked it well enough to pay twice as much for a copy off of Amazon. The book concentrates information I've not found in other places, or only found in snippets elsewhere.

The Art of Painting on Glass (Link to SGAA info page. Order here)
Albinas Elskus
One of only two books I intend to break my scale for. If you want to learn about glass painting, this is your book. I have an older hardback copy I got used, but it recently got republished in paperback format with a DVD. Elskus covers technique, tools, materials, provided color shots of paint comparisons, detailed notes about a number of paints, binders, mediums, and step-by-step instructions of a few projects. This is a must have, especially since you no longer need to pay hundreds for a coveted copy. The DVD was useful, but the narration... a bit dated. It sounds like it was narrated in the 1970s.

Stained Glass
Roger Rosewell
3/5 (niche)
This is a small paperback detailing British stained glass from the 8th century through the present. It is wonderfully illustrated with full-color photos. It's only real downside is it's a niche book; If you aren't trying to research British glass, it's of limited value to you.

On Divers Arts
This is one of our primary sources and is pretty much a must-have. Theophilus wrote it ~early 12th century and covers making and making glass, the pigments, the leads, etc.

Vasari on Technique
Giorgio Vasari
This is another primary source, and as such is probably a must-have. It was written much later than On Divers Arts, and does not cover the subject of glass work in nearly as much detail. Still, primary sources are good to have.

Il Libro dell'Arte (The Craftsman's Hanbook)
Cennino d'Andrea Cennini
A third primary source, and must have. Cennini talks about all manner of glass techniques, making paint brushes, etc.

Silver Stain, An Artist's Guide
Kenneth Leap
Couldn't decide if it was a 3 or a 4. From his website and research notes I rather suspect Leap is a SCAdian. I know he has SCAdian friends and that he teaches a class on medieval glass techniques, but I've not found him mentioned in what should be his Kingdom and didn't want to e-mail him to ask. I love this book. He details the history (and led me to finding my primary sources on silver stain), composition, and a variety of techniques for silver staining glass. He also tested a wide variety of stains, on a wide variety of glasses, in a number of schedules, and includes photos of the results.

Medieval and Renaissance Treatises on the Arts of Painting: Original Texts with English Translations
Mary P. Merrifield

1/5 (niche)
This book has a few pages of relevance to a glass painter. I was provided photocopies but the copies didn't explain the dates and significance of the manuscripts they came from. A copy of the book, containing both volumes, was cheap enough I grabbed it. My primary interest in this was for a period silver stain formula. Unless you are heavily researching silver stain or making your own pigments, you will not likely get significant value from this book. Even then, I'd recommend an hour at the library rather than taking up six inches of shelf space with the book. Now, if you also enjoy scribal arts or traditional painting (or want to share with a friend), this is probably a hell of a purchase!

The Armor of Light: Stained Glass in Western France, 1250-1325
Rainbow Like an Emerald: Stained Glass in Lorraine in the Thirteenth and Early Fourteenth Centuries
The Queen of Sicily and Gothic Stained Glass in Mussy and Tonnerre
The Stained Glass of Saint-Père de Chartres
European Stained Glass Around 1300 - The Introduction of Silver Stain (Link to photocopy!)
The Tric-Trac window of Le Mans
Studies in the History of Art, vol. 15 (Stained Glass before 1700 in American Collections)

Meredith Parsons Lillich

2/5 (niche), 3/5 for "European..." and "Studies in..."
Everything Prof. Lillich writes is AMAZING and dense with information. Unfortunately they are each focused on specific times and locations (I probably shouldn't say 'unfortunately' as they've provided me WEEKS of study). If one her books covers the time/location you are interested in, it will be invaluable. If not, no sense in ordering it. These are academic books; they have pictures but not many and not many in color. You will get very rich detail about the designs and considerations for the given geotemporal locale.

Cathedral, the story of its Construction
David Macaulay
This book has exactly one page about the stained glass of the cathedral, and the process is so over-simplified it is incorrect. I received it for Christmas, and while it may be useful for other information on the cathedrals of yore, if you are looking for a glass resource this isn't it.

This is a pretty interesting book. It has some beautiful full color pictures and good black and whites too. The book features a collection of medieval glass and statuary collected for inspiration during the building of a modern church. The book has a good selection of stained glass in it with a variety of historical tidbits. All featured pieces are between 1100 and 1300, European.

An excellent visual resource. This book features glass from 1140 to 1540, with large full color photographs. It's not confined to one country, either. I definitely recommend it.

Painton Cowen
2/5 (Niche, but awesome, just like Lillich)
Like the Lillich texts above, these are 5/5 if you are interested in the specific subject matter. Painton Cowen, who also runs THIS AMAZING SITE WITH 25,000 PHOTOS OF MEDIEVAL STAINED GLASS sorted by place, time, theme, etc, wrote some good books. Rose Windows is a bit dated, being printed in 1990, only because of the quality of the photography. English Stained Glass, which has been key for some of my class research, is from an age of better photography. As a side note, Painton graciously answered my e-mails asking about Spanish glass and pointing out a broken link on his site. I didn't put 2 and 2 together until the next day when my copy of ESG arrived and I thought "Hey, someone else with that unusual first na--- OHHHHH"

Catherine Brisac
An excellent resource giving a European-wide overview of glass for a thousand years. She discusses innovations and trends and I've gotten a great deal out of this book.

Stained Glass
E. Liddall Armitage
Another great overall reference. Armitage discusses glass making, kilns, painting, acid etching, heraldry, and a great deal else. It's a little bit dated, but I've gotten good enjoyment out of reading it. It's not particularly focused on medieval glass, however, knocking a point off the score.

A great book for late period roundels, if you are a skilled artist already. Late period glass was basically treated like a canvas, with elaborate images painted onto sheets of glass (often, not always). This book features beautiful pictures of such roundels. Personally, I am not a skilled freehand painter, and this style is completely against my personal taste/style (even outside of an SCA context). I bought this, frankly, because it was mentioned in Mistress Kirsten's docs when I first started out. It was amongst my first few purchases. Later it held my interest again for it's mention of silver stain, but that information is (I believe) wrong. My later research and other sources mean this isn't a book I go to for much at all. If you want to do late period glass painting, however, get this!

The Stained Glass at Chartres (I can't find it on B&N or Amazon)
Hallwag (for Orbis Pictus)
This book was a lovely gift from a dear friend during a dark time. It is very small, and as such has small pictures of 19 panels or pieces at Chartres, with some other information. I cherish the book, but not for it's text and photos.

This is a fascinating text, and contains a silver stain recipe amongst many other recipes for pot metal glass colors. It would be of more interest to a glassblower, but it contains recipes for all variety of inks, foods, paints, poisons, etc, etc. giving it great appeal to SCAdians in general. My gratitude to Master Ali ("Arab boy") for refering me to this text.

The Compleat Anachronist vol. 92: Stained Glass Throughout the Middle Ages (Link to SCA Store, will eventually be off by 1 page... then 2...)
Mistress Therica Pembroke (Ann D.A. Nielsen)
An excellent overall view of the stained glass process, written by a SCAdian. I strongly recommend it.

This is a fascinating read, and has some information on medieval glass guilds. I got it because of my interest in glass painters and makers in the context of society; if you don't share the same interest, it may not be useful to you.

Very similar to A Thousand Years of Stained Glass, above, though the specific pictures selected are different. It's still a good grab. If you already own one, the other won't provide leaps and bounds more information, but they are complementary.

Stained Glass: Radiant Art
Virginia Chieffo Raguin
A recent and excellent book, Raguin shows up close pictures of glass to reveal a few secrets of construction, includes images in other mediums of glass artists at work (showing what late period tools looked like, how the workshop was arranged), and beautiful color photographs. She talks about the different places stained glass windows were installed (Cathedral vs. parish church vs. homes and secular sites), patronage and the business of medieval glass, etc. Good, good book.

L'Arte Vetraria (volume 1, volume 2, volume 3)
Antonio Neri
A very neat set of translations, but there is almost nothing of use to a stained glass artisan. If you want a primary source for glassblowers, here are your books! I have some minor training as a glassblower and was interested in the books out of curiosity, but not for flat glass.

Antoine de Pise, L'art du vitrail vers 1400
Antonio da Pisa
5/5, if you can get it.
The last of the "big" primary sources for stained glass. Unfortunately Antonio's text, in the original Italian, has only been translated into modern French, and that text (linked above) will set you back a couple of hundred dollars. I only have it in my library due to the great generosity of a friend. I have several years of romance language study in my past, so I am translating sections as I need them (will you be shocked to know silver stain came first?)

The Seasons in Stained Glass
Sonia Halliday and Laura Lushington
Run away. An impulse buy of a cheap copy at a renfaire book store. Its a tiny book with nothing but pictures of glass windows and bible passages. Of no academic or practical use whatsoever. I will likely give mine to a religious relative some day.

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