Stained Glass before 1700 in American Collections: Silver-Stained Roundels and Unipartite Panels
From the Introduction to the 1991 publication
By the late Middle Ages, Europe had transformed from a largely agricultural, feudal, and ecclesiastical society to an urban, national, and secular one. The essentially mercantile economic fabric had become dependent on far-flung trade linked with overseas empires. For the first time since the Roman Empire, banking, manufacturing, and commerce established a middle class as the backbone of society. This new plutocracy often modeled itself on the aristocratic class it was supplanting, but in the end it asserted its own developing tastes and prerogatives. By the end of the fifteenth century the urban patriciates had created a demand for new architectural forms that accorded with their sociopolitical and economic needs. The resulting town houses, guild halls, and civic buildings in turn required decorative embellishments that were fashioned to the tastes, pocketbooks, and values of their patrons and were visual testimony to the power and status of a burgeoning sociopolitical order. Stained glass was one art that was greatly innovated as a consequence.
Stained glass had consisted almost exclusively of large-scale pot metal windows destined for ecclesiastical structures. By the end of the Middle Ages, however, immense cathedral building programs characteristic of the High Gothic period had become such a strain on the resources of church and state that they were rarely under taken. Stained glass, like architecture, became reduced in scale. New urban wealth created a large market for small-scale stained glass destined predominantly for secular buildings. The preponderance of this glass, at least north of the Alps, took the form of silver-stained roundels.
The broad term silver-stained roundel encompasses any single piece of white glass (that is, colorless or non-pot-metal), whether round, square, rectangular, or oval, rarely more than thirty centimeters in any dimension, that is painted with a vitreous paint and enhanced with a silver oxide or sulphide which, when fired, fuses with the glass, imparting translucent tones ranging from pale yellow to deep amber or copper color. Roundels are not to be confused with stained glass, a general term that refers to leaded panels composed of colored and painted pot-metal glass. In the first half of the sixteenth century, additional materials used in roundels included sanguine, sanguine lees, and “Jean Cousin,” all of which are hematite-based enamels ranging from flesh tones to deep red, as well as gray and sepia enamels. By mid-century, a wide range of translucent enamels were used; in Bohemia and other regions of Central Europe, opaque enamels identical to those ordinarily used to decorate the walls of glass vessels were also utilized for roundels. In the seventeenth century, particularly in the North Lowlands, roundels frequently were set in large rectangular diamond-pane windows conceived as a decorative whole. Elaborate ornamental borders surrounded the roundels, while the quarries were decorated with festoons, inscriptions, and a variety of ornament inhabited by flora, fauna, and insects, all executed in varying tones of silver stain and brilliant translucent enamel.
Roundels—often surrounded by a border of ornament, inscription, or plain colored glass—were set in windows composed of small colorless panes or quarries leaded together in diamond-shaped or other patterns. In the Lowlands, these windows were often framed by a fillet of colored glasses, usually a mixture of green, blue, red, yellow, or white. In Germany, although quarry windows were not uncommon, heavy Butzenscheiben—the circular, thick-centered remnant attached to the pontil or blow pipe in the making of crown glass—were widely favored.
The production of roundels thrived primarily in or around the principal artistic centers in the Lowlands, notably Amsterdam, Antwerp, Bruges, Brussels, Ghent, Haarlem, Leiden, Maastricht, and Louvain. Major centers were also located in Germany, particularly in Nuremberg, Augsburg, and Cologne. French production seems to have been concentrated in or near the Burgundian territories. Although Lowlands influence is frequently evident, French roundels have their own distinctive stylistic identity. Production seems to have flagged by the early sixteenth century, however, at the very moment silver-stained roundels were entering a golden age in the Lowlands. The extent of production in England is less clear, as so much was destroyed during the reign of Henry VIII. Extant examples are frequently of secular subject matter, their presumed domestic settings and inoffensive imagery being largely responsible for their survival. The production, again judging from scanty remains, appears to have flourished largely in the fifteenth century, as in France, and the few Renaissance examples are known mostly from eighteenth- and nineteenth-century drawings. If there was any extensive roundel production in either Italy or Spain, little evidence of it survives.
The silver-stained roundel was ideally suited to new forms of urban domestic and civic architecture as well as to the temperaments of increasingly prosperous and independent-minded patrons. Since both the windows of these buildings and the rooms they illuminated were relatively small, the preponderance of colorless glass in the roundels and surrounds and the sparse use of opaque paint maximized the admission of light. The scale of the roundels also suited the intimate spaces of the rooms, as the detailed painting invited close inspection. Commonly conceived in series, roundels afforded the continuity of a single narrative within a given space. And as roundels were generally intended for private, domestic spaces, their subject matter often provided a far more candid reflection of individual moral, ethical, and spiritual attitudes or preoccupations than large-scale stained glass conceived for public edifices. The earliest surviving examples that technically satisfy the definition of a roundel date to the late thirteenth or early fourteenth century, when the technique of silver stain was either discovered or first widely used. The original contexts of most examples have been lost, but they were probably set as bosses in band or grisaille windows and were thus components of a larger, ornamental whole. The earliest examples of true roundels, mostly excavated and fragmentary, can by their archaeological context be dated to the second and third quarters of the fourteenth century. Fragments of roundels from this period were excavated, for example, at the site of the Dominican convent known as the “Pand” in Ghent. These fragments represent the symbols of the Evangelists and appear to form part of an independent series.
Few roundels dating earlier than the middle of the fif teenth cen tury survive. With increased production toward the end of the century, roundels had developed from simple iconic or heraldic imagery into complex and sophisticated serial narratives. The greatest period of production—both in quantity and quality—spanned the first half of the sixteenth century; indeed, examples are so numerous that a quasi-industrial production may be inferred, located chiefly in the Lowlands but also in Germany and to a lesser degree in France and England.
As no fifteenth-century roundels are documented to have survived in their original secular settings, our knowledge of the format and design of these windows is based on secondary sources, largely depictions in panel paintings. The visual evidence indicates that, at least in the Lowlands, the more common domestic window was rectangular and composed of a fixed transom glazed in leaded diamond panes, usually filling the upper third of the aperture, and an unglazed lower section, often filled with lattice and invariably fitted with hinged shutters. In this type of window, a single roundel was set in the upper fixed transom. Each roundel was customarily surrounded by colored borders, and the window itself had a surround of colored fillets.
One of the few secular glazing programs that can be reconstructed is that made for the bailiff of Rijnland, Adriaen Dircxz. van Crimpen, at 9 Pieterskerkgracht in Leiden dating from the apogee of silver stained roundel painting. Three double-light, mullioned oak windows were installed in an upstairs hallway and two more elsewhere in the house. A drawing of 1846 records the original installation, which is no longer intact. The window frames, two of which survive, are elaborately carved with caryatids of monsters and female herms; the glazings, designed and executed by Dierick Crabeth and his atelier in 1543, juxtapose scenes from the story of Samuel with others from the life of St. Paul. These rectangular panels are surrounded by architectural ornament with open arcades resting on aedicules, strapwork, festoons, and other classicized and Italianate motifs that, in contrast to the fifteenth-century arrangement, fill the entire aperture.
The instances of roundels being incorporated into the glazing programs of churches are rare. In a highly unusual setting at Anderlecht near Brussels, for example, roundels representing St. John the Baptist Preaching in the Wilderness and the Baptism of Christ are set in gables in the canopies above full-length figures of St. Jerome with a donor and St. Servais. Less rare are secular programs consisting of heraldic badges set in fields of quarries such as those partially preserved in the fifteenth-century chapels of Canterbury Cathedral.
Roundels were frequently glazed into the windows of hospitals, alms houses, or monastic foundations, particularly in contemplative areas such as cloisters or individual cells. The cloister of Sint Pietersgasthuis is today glazed with diamond-panes, but original borders of foliated running ornament in the flamboyant tracery surrounding the central lights—dated variably 1520 or 1521—suggest that they might originally have been glazed with a series of roundels, at least in the upper registers. A window with a similar border in the church of Saint-Etienne of the large Begijnhof was glazed with twelve roundels comprising a Passion series in 1525 by Gerard Boels; another window in the same church was similarly ornamented with six roundels around the same time by Jean Aep. An instance of roundels being ordered for private monastic quarters is recorded in a 1506-1507 document stating that “Cornelis the painter”—most likely Cornelis Engebrechtsz.—designed silver-stained roundels for the “Blue Room,” which was part of the suite of the abbess of Rijnsburg Abbey.
In the almost total absence of documentation, little is known about the location of roundel workshops, the craftsmen employed by them, or the methods they used. However, a large number of drawings related to the production of silver-stained roundels have survived, and a study of them provides some insights into their function as well as into the relationship of the designers to the roundel painters. The nature and form of these drawings vary, but in addition to rare sketches and studies, in general there appear to be three basic types: original designs, copies of these designs, and highly finished presentation drawings.
The designs, frequently executed by highly gifted artists, were drawn to scale and informed both patron and glass painter of all the compositional and stylistic details, providing indications of lead lines where borders were involved, inscriptions, and of ten technical instructions in the margins. Rendered in ink on paper, these designs were typically highly finished, often enhanced with brush work, washes, and different colored inks or chalk. Among the many renowned Lowlands artists who produced roundel designs in the first half of the sixteenth century were Cornelis Engebrechtsz., Lucas van Leyden, Dierick Vellert, Pieter Cornelisz. Kunst, Jacob Cornelisz. van Oostsanen, the Pseudo-Ortkens, Jan Gossaert, Pieter Coecke van Aelst, Dierick Crabeth, Jan Swart van Groningen, Maarten van Heemskerck, Lambert van Noort, and Maarten de Vos. At the same time in Germany, designs were being produced by Heinrich Aldegrever, Albrecht Altdorfer, Hans Sebald Beham, Jorg Breuder Alter, Hans Burgkmair, Albrecht Durer, Hans Baldung Grien, Augustin Hirschvogel, Wolf Huber, Hans Suss von Kulmbach, Georg Penez, and Hans Leonhard Schaufelein.
Proportionately larger numbers of copies of designs have survived. These copies are the work of lesser hands; although compositionally faithful to the original, the drawing, clearly outlined with minimal shading, is comparatively deliberate and stiff, and the inscriptions, instructions, and the like are typically omitted. Several probable circumstances that required these copies can be postulated. If, for example, the design was commissioned by an individual rather than a roundel workshop, it likely became the property of the patron. A copy would then have to be provided to the glass painting shop as a model for executing the roundel and as a record of the transaction. In stained glass workshops this copy, called a vidimus (“we have seen”), was considered a contractual document, clearly establishing what the painter would produce and what the patron would receive. A full-scale cartoon (patron ) was then made for the stained glass window. In roundel production, the copy could have served both as a vidimus and as a full-scale model.
If the design were commissioned by a workshop, as the evidence shows was more often than not the case, a working copy would be desirable to preserve the original, an item of no small expense. Working copies, stored in portfolios, might also have been used to show prospective roundel clients available designs. A working copy could be used as well to update or alter details of the design. A large number of copies have been well preserved, suggesting that multiple working copies were made from the design copy and that these second-generation copies were actually used as models at the bench. In large workshops these multiple copies would allow, as demand required, a given design to be executed by several painters simultaneously. The number of surviving replicas and close versions of popular series is evidence of this practice, as is the existence of design copies pricked for transfer. Whether placed under the glass and traced or pinned up and copied free-hand by the painter, the working copy would eventually be worn out and have to be replaced. Presentation drawings were meticulously finished autonomous works of art. They were executed on prepared paper, usually green, gray, or brown in tone, in brown, black, or gray ink, often enhanced with one or more washes, and with highlights in white and even gold. Too subtle and delicate to serve as workshop designs, these drawings may have been intended for the general market or as presentation pieces for clients rather than as actual designs for glass. If they were simply intended to exercise the artist’s gifts and to delight the eye of the beholder, these drawings establish the high regard sixteenth-century collectors accorded superb sheets, perhaps explaining the relatively numerous extant examples.
While engravings, woodcuts, and book illustration were primary sources for roundel designs in the fifteenth century, by the early sixteenth century they were superseded by drawings. Because this more expensive design alternative was commissioned and therefore unique, it entailed a measure of copyright protection, whereas xylographic sources were essentially in the public domain. This distinction must have become increasingly important as roundel production expanded and grew more competitive. A design that was not controlled was soon widely disseminated and reproduced by diverse roundel workshops in disparate styles, rapidly spawning many versions and variants. A design controlled by a workshop was reproduced with relative stylistic homogeneity; variants emerged only with time. Roundels based on graphics, on the other hand, were reproduced in widely separated workshops but with stylistic consistency because they used the identical model.
The 1506-1507 Rijnsburg Abbey accounts concerning the silver stained roundels designed by Comelis (Engebrechtsz.?) for the abbess indicate that separate funds were paid to Ewout Vos and his two assistants to execute the roundels and to an ironsmith to make the window fittings. Similarly, a civil dispute in 1514 involved a glass painter named Dieloff Clarsz. and the artist with whom he collaborated, Pieter Comelisz. Kunst. This scant documentation suggests, then, that the roundel designer was generally not the glass painter. The most notable exception was Dierick Vellert, who in addition to being a gifted designer with a particular interest in roundels was a peerless glass painter, to which the surviving roundels that bear his monogram eloquently attest. Other cases are less dear. Although Lucas van Leyden most probably made designs for roundels and Karel van Mander describes him as a glass painter and even cites an example of his work, no panel that can be securely attributed to his hand survives.
Silver-stained roundels drew from a broad but relatively conventional choice of subject matter up to about 1520. Iconic images such as patron saints of towns, guilds, confraternities, or individuals formed perhaps the largest (and least innovative) group of single roundel subjects. Also common are devotional images such as the Crucifixion, Man of Sorrows, Pieta, and Trinity. Although these subjects were often influenced by specific movements—Devotio Modema in the Lowlands, for example—pre-Reformation imagery is typically too generic to be localized. Less common are a variety of secular subjects, including genre scenes, vanitas or memento mori and other allegorical themes, and vignettes of pure whimsy. But the majority of roundels belonged to narrative series. Not surprisingly, Infancy, Passion, and Marian cycles were common, as were a larger array of Old Testament subjects. But by the end of the fifteenth century, four biblical subjects—the history of Joseph in Egypt and the stories of Esther, Susanna, and Tobit and Tobias—appear with great frequency, usually as replicas, versions, or variants of the same series of designs. To judge from the disproportionately large number of surviving examples, the demand for these subjects reached a peak in the 1520s. What special implications these particular subjects held for their Lowlands audience, making them so universally popular, remains to be investigated.
After around 1520 in the Lowlands, the repertoire of subjects for silver-stained roundels dramatically expanded, and the painting became more varied and individualized. While traditional subject matter endured, new forms of imagery, often eclectic, unconventional, and polemical, were introduced. This flourishing of roundel production—and of the arts in general—was possible because the Lowlands were at this time exceptionally rich in artistic talent. It is remarkable that in the 1520s, artists of such diverse abilities as Pieter Coecke van Aelst, Pieter Cornelisz. Kunst, Jacob Cornelisz. van Oostsanen, Cornelis Engebrechtsz., Jan Gossaert, Maarten van Heemskerck, Lucas van Leyden, Barend van Orly, the Pseudo Ortkens, Jan Swart van Groningen, and Dierick Vellert—all of whom created designs for roundels—were active.
Manifold and complex circumstances created a climate conducive to artistic creativity, not the least of which was the fact the patrons in the Lowlands—as opposed to those in Germany, for example— were overwhelmingly lay and private. The population was, in general, largely traditional in its attitudes and parochial in its outlook. It was not, however, an entirely homogeneous society, and points of view varied according to the conditions and circumstances of the immediate area. Thus, when reformist ideas arrived in the Lowlands, reaction was, at least until the middle of the century, far less strident and polarized than in Germany. It was, in fact, decades before the North Lowlands fully converted to the reformed church.
Reformist thought was, moreover, greatly tempered by the concurrent influence of humanism. Changes in religious views occurred in a climate of relative intellectual receptivity and individual freedom, and thus the reevaluation of church doctrine yielded diverse conclusions that affected attitudes more than dogma and were more apparent in private than in public spheres. Reformist and humanist thought profoundly influenced sixteenth-century imagery, but it did not preclude the commingling of old and new ideas. In this climate, the treatment of biblical subjects took a variety of new forms that more often than not eschewed the purely doctrinal forms.
This eclectic treatment is apparent, for example, in a group of fifteen designs for roundels by Dierick Vellert, all signed and dated 1523, which appear to have formed a typological series in which two, or perhaps three, scenes from Moses are juxtaposed with one scene from the life of Christ. The drawing of Moses Sweetening the Waters at Marah would have been paired with another representing the Marriage Feast at Cana. Two further drawings that may belong to the same series link Moses with Gideon and the Miracle of the Fleece, a subject conventionally associated with a Mariological context. While the rarely depicted Old Testament scenes evidence current humanist interest in biblical texts, the juxtaposition of types and antitypes relies on a purely medieval model.
Similarly, a group of large woodcuts with biblical scenes by Jacob Cornelisz. and Lucas van Leyden have recently been reconstructed in a more conventional typological series analogous to the Biblia pauperum. Earlier, between 1511 and 1514, Cornelisz. published a circular passion series that is unusual as it was widely used as designs for silver-stained roundels. In about 1520 the circular woodcuts were incorporated within elaborate Renaissance frames flanked by Old Testament prefigurations, again analogous to those found in the Biblia pauperum and the Speculum humananae salvationis. It is tempting to think that these typological arrangements were, like the unframed earlier addition, used as designs for windows. In this regard, it is interesting to note that these series of outsized woodcuts (when assembled, the Jacob Cornelisz. and Lucas van Leyden typological series was almost three and a half meters long) were intended to be mounted on canvas and hung or attached directly to the wall as a freize. A analogous arrangement of roundels in one or more windows is really only a variation of the same idea. The Leiden windows by Dierick Crabeth, in fact, formed just such an arrangement. In this cycle, an early work painted by Crabeth in 1543, six scenes from the life of Saul are juxtaposed, one over the other, with six from the story of St. Paul. Expounded on are the role of the individual man, his relationship to God, and his responsibilities as a devout Christian. Although the subject matter alludes to the Protestant doctrine of justification by faith, the imagery is too muted to be interpreted as explicitly reformist.
Only after the middle of the century when reformist activity inexorably drifted toward violence do prints as well as silver-stained roundels become overtly polemical. An eclectic example is found in a group of twelve prints comprising twenty-four allegorical scenes that address man’s fall, his vain attempt to gain salvation through good works, and his final redemption through the grace of God. These scenes, one of which bears the monogram of the Antwerp engraver Frans Huys, were conflated by Dierick Crabeth in a series of designs for silver-stained roundels. Eight of the drawings and four roundels from the series have survived. Certain iconographic details closely link this series to both Lutheranism and Spiritualism. This admixture is characteristic of reformism in the Lowlands, which frequently blurred distinctions between particular Protestant movements. A set of six woodcuts executed by Cornilsz. Anthonisz., which give an allegorical reading of the parable of the Prodigal Son, contains a similar conflation of reformist theologies.
The Prodigal Son was the ultimate source of another polemic that addressed a more wordly preoccupation. Largely under the influence of the Rederijker, or rhetoricians’ chambers, which had become extremely popular in the sixteenth century throughout the Lowlands, the Prodigal was transformed from a parable illustrating God’s forgiveness of the repentant to a moralistic allegory of a profligate known as Sorgheloos (Careless), who ends up in abject and unredeemed misery for his wasteful and spendthrift ways. This subject, frequently encountered in silver-stained roundels, gives additional insight into the changing moral values of Lowlands society.
The creative atmosphere that nurtured silver-stained roundel production through the first half of the sixteenth century was soon dissipated—at least in the Lowlands—by the violence of iconoclasm and the rigidity of the Counter-Reformation sentiment. Without the support of artistic and intellectual diversity, the salience of the roundel was lost.
Brief Guide to Silver-Stained Roundel Literature
Scholarship in the field of silver-stained roundels, compared to that of stained glass, is still in its infancy. As a consequence, the literature is scant and, in the absence of any bibliographical compilation, the material that does exist is not easily found. The following is a brief survey of existing research tools, some of which in turn will direct the reader to further bibliography.
The best general introduction to roundels and other small-scale domestic panels is Hermann Schmitz, Die Glasgemälde der königlichen Kunstgewerbemuseums in Berlin. His 1923 volume, Deutsche Glasmälereien der Gotik und Renaissance: Rund- und Kabinettscheiben, however, is more valuable for the illustrations than for the text.
Drawings related to the production of silver-stained roundels inform us of individual and local styles, iconographic repertory, and workshop methods, and they often allow the reconstruction of narrative series. Collection catalogues of German and Lowlands drawings are therefore valuable reference tools. Among the more important are those of the Rijksprentenkabinet, Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam; the Kupferstichkabinett, Berlin; the Städelsches Kunstinstitut, Frankfurt; the Department of Prints and Drawings, British Museum, London; the Cabinet des Dessins, Musée du Louvre, Paris; and the Graphische Sammlung Albertina, Vienna.
Surveys and Corpora of national or regional stained glass collections are also useful references in those few instances where roundels are included. Jean Helbig included roundels in his survey of stained glass in Belgium but only those that are glazed in monuments, and the information provided on individual pieces is scant. The Corpus Vitrearum Medii Aevi has tended to exclude roundels from its volumes, again except for those installed in the windows of monuments. The greatest number appear in the Belgian volumes.
The major public collections of silver-stained roundels are those of the Victoria and Albert Museum, London; the Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam; the Musées Royaux d’Art et d’Histoire, Brussels; and the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York. The collection of the latter is published for the first time in this volume. Regrettably, none of the other collections, all of which are larger, have been published, although Bernard Rackham did treat roundels in his survey of the collections of stained glass in the Victoria and Albert. Some articles devoted to former private collections are useful in identifying material as it reappears in the market. Another private collection recently installed at the McGill University School of Architecture, Montreal, has been published in its entirety. Several catalogues of museum collections have included informative entries on roundels. And more recently, Hilary Wayment has catalogued the stained glass installed in the side chapel of King’s College Chapel, Cambridge, which includes a large number of roundels.
Bernard Rackham long ago recognized that several thousand silver-stained roundels were collected wholesale in the nineteenth century and installed in parish churches throughout Great Britain. Over many years, Dr. William F. Cole has compiled an invaluable photographic and documentary archive of these roundels, aspects of which he has published. By sheer volume alone, this archive has greatly broadened our knowledge of the stylistic and iconographical range of roundel production.
Renewed interest in silver-stained roundels has occasioned their inclusion in several recent exhibitions, the catalogues of which have contributed to the study of this material. Notable examples are Magie du Verre at Galerie CGER in Brussels, which included roundels from the fourteenth through the nineteenth centuries; Kunst voor de Beeldenstorm at the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam, which included a number of North Lowlands roundels of the first half of the sixteenth century; and Northern Renaissance Stained Glass at the Cantor Art Gallery, College of the Holy Cross, Worcester, Massachusetts.
Periodical literature remains relatively scant. E.A. Popham wrote several useful articles on silver-stained roundels. His attempts to establish authorship were pioneering efforts in this essential aspect of roundel studies; his articles also connected certain designs with executed roundels. Mention must also be made, of course, of Jean Lafond’s study of the silver-stained medium itself.
Kurt Steinhart in his study of Jacob Cornelisz. was among the first to consider in depth an individual artist’s involvement with roundel production. Among the more important and recent efforts that investigate the work of particular artists or workshops are studies by Linda Evers and Hilary Wayment on the Pseudo-Ortkens, Ellen Konowitz on Dierick Vellert, Paul Maes on sixteenth-century Louvain roundel production and nineteenth-century reproduction, and Zsuzsanna van Ruyven-Zeman on Lambert van Noort. Recent articles that consider iconographical aspects include those by Jeremy Bangs on Heemskerck, Yvette Vanden Bemden on a history of Joseph series, and this author on Sorgheloos.
The Fichier International de Documentation du Randel, housed in the Institut Royal du Patrimoine Artistique in Brussels, was conceived as a central repository of photographs and documentation of roundels whatever their location; as this archive expands, it will become an increasingly important resource.
The largest single collection of silver-stained roundels in the United States is that of the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York. The largest portion of the collection is in The Cloisters, one of the few institutions to systematically acquire roundels; other collections have been formed largely by gift or bequest . A number of other institutions have distinguished, if small, collections: the Art Institute of Chicago, the Detroit Institute of Arts, and the J.B. Speed Art Museum in Louisville, to name a few. A group of roundels in the Baltimore Museum of Art is notable not only for its high quality, but also for its distinguished provenance that can be traced to the eighteenth-century collection of Horace Walpole at Straw berry Hill.
Large private collections of roundels have always been a rarity in the United States. The average known collection generally numbers less than eight. Holdings such as those of William Randolph Hearst are exceptional and have long been dispersed. Fortunately, the most important pieces, including the Walpole pieces, are now in various public collections. The more recent sale of the fine collection of James Herbert Rawlings Boone of Baltimore resulted in the exportation of a number of important pieces, while only three are now in a public collection, The Cloisters, and three are in a California house.
This volume, a compilation of roundels up to 1700 from public and private collections in the United States, does not presume to be complete. If, however, it serves to bring more examples to light, stimulate interest, and, ultimately, advance knowledge of the material, then it will have more than served its purpose.
Timothy B. Husband
Metropolitan Museum of Art