Edward Spencer Curling (1772 – 1850) collected various stained glass fragments in the Low Countries, the remains of iconoclasm and change of use in churches and other religious buildings. He created full stained glass windows from the fragments and donated them to Canterbury Museum in 1829.
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. 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 religious engravings and represent various biblical scenes. Other decorations have been painted freehand, with splashes of rich colour and finely detailed objects. There are tulips, birds, angels and various coats of arms. A number of fragments have inscribed dedications and family names.
The age of the fragments is not clear, though some must be very old, maybe 13th or 14th century. Some also have a certain realistic style not often seen in religious art, the wonderfully evocative paintings of the people’s heads for example.