With Light: The Donors
many of the employable artists of the period, the glass painters
were craftspeople hired on commission. Sponsors
included church dignitaries, lords and noblemen. However,
a good number of windows were also bought and paid for by other
craft guilds - the butchers and coopers, bakers and cloth makers,
vinters and masons.
reason for the expensive outlay by the guilds (who sometimes struggled
to meet the cost) was a sort of commemorative plaque ensuring
that the group remained in the church's good graces. The other
was social distinction and a declaration of success and prestige
within the community.
Very rarely did the church have to force a commission from a guild,
although it was not unheard of - in 1254 the winegrowers at the
Cathedral of St. Julien at Le Mans were forced to donate a stained
glass window after arriving late at a special service.
was customary to commission either a whole window or at least
part of one. Unlike the lords and noblemen who usually chose to
be remembered in a solemn, prayerful pose, the guilds were most
often portrayed in the height of activity in their shops or out
in the field.
Cathedral, in particular, remains an excellent visual record of
medieval trade and custom between the years 1200 - 1240 when the
stained glass craze was at its height.
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