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Dutch Stained Glass

Location: Front and rear stairwells

Fragments and roundels of sixteenth and seventeenth century stained glass collected at Antwerp, Amsterdam and other places in the Low Countries by Edward Spencer Curling (1772 - 1850) of Deal. He was a partner in the shipping agency, Goodwin, Curling, Hodges & Co., which acted as consuls 'for Hamburg, Hanover, the Netherlands, Portugal and Russia' under King George IV. The stained glass had been removed from churches and other buildings through iconoclasm and change of use from the late-eighteenth century, and sold through auction and dealers.

Curling had given a large number of animal and bird specimens, along with objects from around the world, to the Canterbury Philosophical and Literary Institution museum in 1827 - 28 and in 1829 presented '2 frames for Stair case window....entirely filled with Ancient Stained Glass'. He was 'voted in consequence since an Honorary Member'. In 1899 the museum collections moved to the new Beaney Institute and the windows were rearranged and re-leaded by the workshop of S. Caldwell and Son, responsible for restoration of the stained glass at Canterbury Cathedral. One of these windows was removed in the 1930s, when the Beaney was extended, and remained in store until restoration for current display near the Learning Lab.

The patterns and images were painted onto sheets of clear glass and fused at low heat, silver staining giving a yellow colour. Some of the images are copied from engravings and represent biblical scenes; other decorations are painted freehand, with splashes of rich colour. There are tulips, birds, angels and various coats of arms. A number of fragments have inscribed dedications with family names.

References:
- Transcript of extracts from the diary of Edward Spencer Curling, 1827 - 1836 (Unpublished).
- Pugin Thornton, W., Catalogue of Two Old Dutch Painted and Stained Windows in the Royal Museum and Free Library of Canterbury (Canterbury, 1899).
 
Dutch stained glass window fragment

The fragments show a range of subjects and styles, from finely detailed monochrome images based on engravings to colourful splashes of angel wings, flowers and birds.