Corpus Vitrearum Medii Aevi

Medieval Stained Glass in Great Britain

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CVMA Guidelines 2001

Corpus Vitrearum

Corpus Vitrearum Medii Aevi

Guidelines 2001

Comité International d'Histoire de l'Art

Union Académique Internationale

First edition 1958, revised 1962 (Erfurt), 1968 (Ulm), 1970 (Florence), 1972 (York), 1975 (Paris), 1977 (Freiburg-im-Breisgau). Second edition 1983 (Vienna). Third edition 2000 (Bristol), modified 2010 (St Petersburg).

I. Aim of the guidelines

I.1 - The guidelines define the organization of the CORPUS VITREARUM and set out the principles of its publications. The CORPUS VITREARUM was founded in 1949 by Hans R. Hahnloser under the name CORPUS VITREARUM MEDII AEVI (CVMA). Its aim is to research and publish ancient stained glass. All members have the option of publishing stained glass of a post-medieval but pre-Gothic Revival date, within the framework of the CORPUS VITREARUM or the CORPUS VITREARUM MEDII AEVI.

I.2 - The purpose of the common principles adopted for the publication of the volumes of the Corpus Vitrearum/Corpus Vitrearum Medii Aevi is to guarantee their high scholarly quality. They also promote uniformity of format, of the external appearance and of the internal structure as a means of facilitating access by their users.

I.3 - The 2000 guidelines replace all earlier versions. It is a task of the general assemblies of the Corpus Vitrearum to approve the guidelines or modify them as necessary. Before such modifications can come into effect, it is necessary for them to be approved by the majority of the National Committees of the Corpus Vitrearum.

I.4 - The text of the guidelines, drawn up in English, French and German, acts as a point of reference. The members of the Board of the International Committee are responsible for the official translations and the distribution of the guidelines.

II. Patronage

II.l - The CORPUS VITREARUM (CORPUS VITREARUM MEDII AEVI) has two patrons: the Comité International d’Histoire de l’Art (CIHA) and the Union Académique Internationale (UAI).

II.2 - The Union Académique Internationale receives an annual report on the activities of the CORPUS VITREARUM and designates a commission (currently Commission no. 16) to examine the annual report.

II.3 - Each National Committee presents an annual report on the progress of work in that country to the General Secretary of the UAI and sends a copy to the General Secretary of the Board of the International Committee of the Corpus Vitrearum. When the report of the UAI is printed, it is sent to all the National Committees.

II.4 - The President of the International Committee of the Corpus Vitrearum is responsible for relations between the Comité International d’Histoire de l’Art and the Corpus Vitrearum.

III. National and International Organization

III.l - The organization of the CORPUS VITREARUM consists of National Committees and an International Committee.

III.2 - Each member country selects a National Committee and defines its own terns of reference.

III.3 - The National Committees are responsible for choosing authors, for the organization and scholarly supervision of research and for their own finances. They communicate reports on the progress of work to the general assemblies of the Corpus Vitrearum. They inform the Board of any difficulties they may encounter in the use of the guidelines, so that these may be discussed at the general assembly if necessary.

III.4 - The National Committees are responsible for the scholarly content and the publication of individual volumes. They try to ensure that foreign subscribers may obtain Corpus volumes under the same conditions as national subscribers. They encourage contact between authors, in particular by organizing conferences.

III.5 - The International Committee is composed of members or representatives from all the countries belonging to the Corpus Vitrearum. Each National Committee has two votes at its disposal on decisions taken at the general assembly and in elections. However Associated National Committees have only one vote.

III.6 - The International Committee elects a Board which consists of a President, two Vice-Presidents (one of whom is designated as Treasurer by the Board) and a General Secretary. They are elected for a term of four years, which is renewable once. Elections take place at the general assembly. The Board selects a delegate to represent it on the Board of the International Committee of the Corpus Vitrearum for the Conservation of Stained Glass.

The role of the Board is as follows:

  1. to propose modifications to the guidelines as necessary, prepare the translations and ensure their distribution.
  2. to serve as intermediary between the National Committees.
  3. to maintain and keep up to date the address list of members.
  4. to manage the finances of the International Committee.
  5. to liaise with the relevant National Committee over the organization of international conferences.
  6. to prepare the programme for general assemblies and chair the debates.

III.7 - The International Committee of the Corpus Vitrearum for the Conservation of Stained Glass (abbreviated as the Conservation Committee) comprises specialists in the conservation of stained glass. Its main function is to promote the conservation/restoration of stained glass in accordance with the guidelines drawn up by the Conservation Committee and to co-ordinate research in this field. The Committee is charged with disseminating the results of this research and encouraging their application, especially by means of forums open to a public concerned with such issues. It also constitutes the International Scientific Committee for Stained Glass of ICOMOS.

III.8 -The International Committee of the Corpus Vitrearum for the Conservation of Stained Glass/International Scientific Committee for Stained Glass of ICOMOS, is governed by statutes defining it as a ‘hybrid committee’, meeting the requirements and purposes of both its regulating bodies. Its statutes have been approved by the General Assembly of the Corpus Vitrearum and by the Scientific Council of ICOMOS. The Committee elects a Board composed of 7 members: a President, a Vice-President, a General Secretary, and 4 ordinary members for a 3-year period. The board must be composed of experts who are members both of ICOMOS and of the Corpus Vitrearum. The election is carried out either through a secret vote during a Committee meeting or by postal or electronic vote. For this election, the number of votes per country is restricted to 2. The Board is responsible for the preparation of Committee meetings and for the implementation of committee decisions (see article 5.4 of the statutes).

The Board selects a delegate to represent it on the Board of the International Committee of the Corpus Vitrearum.

III.9 - The Boards of the International Committee and of the Conservation Committee should take care to respect the distribution of responsibilities amongst the different countries.


IV.1 - As far as possible, the National Committees should adopt the presentation and the structures of volumes as described below. However, variations may be decided by the National Committees. For the Summary volumes, in particular, the individual elements may be reduced. In the application of the guidelines described below, repetition between one section of the text and another should be avoided as much as possible. Only those which are essential for understanding should be retained.

IV.2 - The National Committees can select for their publications their own choice of format: either paper in book form, or in electronic format, or both. If the decision is taken to publish in electronic format, it is the responsibility of the National Committee to ensure that the data is stored in appropriate format. The original data must remain accessible and be updated regularly in line with technological developments. While adhering to best current practices of electronic publication, if at all possible the format in electronic publication of the Corpus Vitrearum should follow as closely as possible the guidelines for the printed volumes.

IV.3 - The publications can be divided into a number of series:

  1. Monographs, by region, by monument, by part of monument or by collection.
  2. Summary Catalogues (Kurzinventar, Recensements, Checklists).
  3. Studies.
  4. Conference proceedings.

IV.4 - Content and composition of volumes

The Corpus of each country includes all stained glass found in that country, within the chronological limits described above. Stained glass which is not in situ may be treated in detail, or omitted, from the volume dedicated to its place of origin. Catalogue entries generally should be ordered topographically according to the current location of the stained glass.

For the treatment of stained glass now in museums and special collections, solutions should be adopted as appropriate to the individual case. Lost glass from a monument may be treated in the main text of the volume.

IV.5 - The language of publication

This is decided by each National Committee. The National Committee is strongly encouraged to add a summary in one or more other languages.

V. Presentation of printed volumes

V.l - The traditional format of volumes is 31.5 cm x 24.5 cm. This may be altered by National Committees if there are important reasons for so doing.

V.2 - Corpus volumes traditionally are bound in dark blue linen with a rounded spine and contain the following inscription in gold lettering

  1. On the front cover, the title of the series, the name of the country in the language of the text and the ordinal number of the series in that country, eg.: CORPUS VITREARUM MEDII AEVI SCHWEIZ I, CORPUS VITREARUM BELGIQUE IV, CORPUS VITREARUM FRANCE ETUDES II.
  2. On the spine, the name of the series, the name of the country and the ordinal number of the series of the country, the title of the volume and the name(s) of the author(s).

V.3 - The dust jacket (optional) should bear the words CORPUS VITREARUM or CORPUS VITREARUM MEDII AEVI. Its design, colour and wording are decided by each National Committee. The text on the flaps is also chosen by the National Committees.

VI. Internal structure of printed volumes

VI.1 - Title pages preferably should include the following information:

  1. On the half-title (p.1) the names of the CORPUS VITREARUM (or of the CORPUS VITREARUM MEDII AEVI) and of the series, followed by its ordinal number and then the title of the volume.
  2. On the reverse of the half-title (p.2) the full bibliographical title of the series with details of the international patrons and of the national publisher(s).
  3. On the main title page (p.3), the title of the volume or part-volume, the name(s) of the author(s), the publishing house, the place and year of publication.
  4. On the reverse of the main title page (p.4), details of the financing of the volume, the copyright and printing details, according to the usual practice in the country of publication.

VI.2 - Table of contents

This may be placed at the beginning or at the end of the volume.

VI.3 - Foreword or Preface.

VI.4 - Instructions for the reader

This section should explain:

  1. The system of numbering the windows in the monument and the panels of glass in the windows.
  2. The methods for indicating the state of conservation of the windows (see Appendix).
  3. Any other information which the National Committees deem useful.

VI.5 - List of abbreviations.

VI.6 - Bibliography

VI.7 - Map(s) showing the location of windows preserved in situ and, if necessary, lost or dispersed glass.

VI.8 - Introduction

This should present and discuss the problems involving the stained glass described in the individual volume, both in its historical and its art-historical context (political, social, economic, religious, history of the glass, iconography, style, etc).

VI.9 - Catalogue

Summary Catalogues (Kurzinventar, Recensements, Checklists) and Monographs contain a complete catalogue of greater or lesser extent of the relevant glass.

  1. Summary volumes

    1. - The form of the catalogue may be either brief or detailed according to the policy of the National Committees. It may contain an introduction to each monument or collection, a catalogue by window or by panel and a bibliography.
    2. - The order of the catalogue should follow as far as possible the window notation adopted for the monument; however, it may also follow an order based on historical or iconographical considerations.
  2. Monographs

    1. - The catalogue may include an introduction and a bibliography for each monument or part thereof, or to each window. The order of the catalogue should follow the window notation adopted for the monument; however, it may also follow an order based on historical or iconographical considerations, in which case the present location of each panel must be given.
    2. - The catalogue of panels should follow.

VI.10 - Historical Documentation

Extracts from manuscript or printed sources relating to existing or lost glass may be included in an appendix or in the main body of the text.

VI.11 - Index

The National Committee decides whether the index should be general or classified by themes. A general index is composed of place names, personal names, iconography and technical terms, distinguished by different typefaces. A classified index should be arranged under the same headings.

VI.12 - Illustrations

Monographs should include one illustration (photograph, drawing, engraving etc.) of each panel. Summary volumes may be fully or selectively illustrated according to the policy of the National Committee. The location of illustrations is left to the decision of the National Committees, but they should be clearly related to the associated text.

VI.13 - Photographic credits

VI.14 - State of publications

At the back of each volume there is a list of works already published in the countries belonging to the Corpus Vitrearum.

VI.15 - Running titles

Volumes should include running titles.

VII. Individual introductions to a building, part of building; a group of windows, a collection or a single window

VII.1 - The introduction should remain brief if the windows, or groups of windows are heterogeneous and if they need a detailed individual introduction (see section VIII). However, if the group of windows is homogeneous, attention should be drawn to them in the general introduction. The individual introduction should include the following features in an appropriate sequence:

  • Bibliography, preferably listed in chronological order
  • Present state, including the position of the windows or panels, their number, their overall composition and the homogeneous or diverse character of the windows or panels.
  • History and characteristics of the architectural setting, or of the collection
  • History of the window(s). A brief outline of the history of the glass as a whole, with details of changes, dispersal and restoration based on original sources. If necessary, discussion of the original location of the glass.
  • State of conservation. After indicating the conditions under which the glass was studied, a brief account of the condition of the glass should be given. The state of conservation of the window(s) is represented in the illustrations by a system of hatching in a diagram or photograph (see Appendix).
  • Reconstructions, if necessary.
  • Iconography. This section should include not only a description of the iconography of the window(s), but also analysis of its intention and reception.
  • Stylistic and formal analysis. This section considers the following aspects:
    • composition
    • ornament
    • colour
    • technique
    • comparisons
    • attribution
    • any other aspect which seems necessary to the author.
    Each author or National Committee may amalgamate all these headings or treat them in separate paragraphs as is appropriate.
  • Dating

VIII. Catalogue of panels

VIII.1 - The catalogue of panels of a window should follow the order specified below. It may also follow a chronological order or treat together a group of panels which form a single image.

VIII.2 - Headings

These should include the number of the panel or panels, the subject and the illustration number.

VIII.3 - Next should come information about the shape of the panels and their dimensions (height preceding width, in metres and centimetres; in the case of ex situ glass, the original location should be given and reference made to any sections originally forming part of the panel).

VIII.4 - Bibliography, if necessary

VIII.5 - Inscriptions

It is important to maintain consistency of practice from one volume to another. The epigraphy must be precise. The source of quotations should follow the inscription, in brackets. Inscriptions must be transcribed as accurately as possible in majuscule or miniscule, in italics. The following conventions should be used:

  1. / Leading.
  2. ( ) Expansion of abbreviations.
  3. [ ] Completion of missing text.
  4. [...] Spaces for missing text, indicated by dots.
  5. < > Restoration of missing sections.
  6. Links between two letters must be indicated

For points 6 to 10 below, the author may adopt whichever headings are necessary.

VIII.6 - Conservation

Description of the state of conservation. In the absence of a diagram, the author should mention which elements of the windows have been replaced.

VIII.7 - Reconstruction

VIII.8 - Iconography

VIII.9 - Stylistic and formal analysis

This section considers the following aspects:

  • composition
  • ornament
  • colour
  • technique
  • comparisons
  • attribution
  • any other aspect which seems necessary to the author

Each author or National Committee may amalgamate all these headings or treat them in separate paragraphs as is appropriate.

VIII.10 - Dating

VIII.11 - Photographic references

Important photographs should be noted as precisely as possible.

The author is free to include any other relevant heading.

VIII.12. Panels in collections

As far as possible, the study of panels in collections should follow the above rubrics (introduction, and catalogue of panels). The National Committees may make the necessary alterations according to the particular features of the collections and the type of publication. However, the glass in the collection must always be identified by its title, inventory number and, if possible, provenance.

IX. Numbering of windows and panels

IX.I - Numbering of windows

  1. Each window should be defined according to its position on the plan and in elevation.
  2. The numbering begins with the windows in the axis of the choir and continues towards the west, taking north and south sides simultaneously, using Roman or Arabic numerals. This system of numbering includes all the windows of a building. When the building has an annex, eg. a chapter house, it may be necessary to identify that annex with its own window notation.
  3. A plan, if possible with schematic diagrams of the windows, makes the system more comprehensible. If the plan of a building is complex, it can also be divided into sections horizontally

IX.2 - Numbering of panels

The numbering of panels must take account of the tracery of the window and the need to describe the window in a coherent fashion.

  1. The panels of a window are treated by registers or horizontal rows starting from the base of the window. Each of these registers is given an Arabic numeral. The lights are treated from left to right by lower-case letters, eg. la, 4c, 7d etc. and include the panels in the heads of the lights. The panels in the tracery at the head of the window are identified by a system of capital letters and Arabic numerals adapted to the architectural forms of that window. Roses within the tracery can follow a radial numbering, counting clockwise. Independent rose windows should always follow this radial system of numbering.
  2. In the case of very complex compositions, the numbering of panels may be illustrated by a diagram of the window.


System of hatching for conservation diagrams

With the exception of (1), it is possible to use the above hatchings with different definitions.

Corpus Vitrearum Medii Aevi

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