The Jane Hayward Database of Medieval Art

Jane HaywardWhen Jane Hayward died she left her archive of over ten thousand slides to the Cloisters, her home from home. It was Mary Shepard, a colleagues and student of Jane's, who realized the potential of digitizing the collection and set the ball in motion –the results of which you now see here. Mary contacted the Index and we took the collection from the museum in June of 2013 and digitized it in Princeton.

Despite heroic efforts on everybody’s behalf, the slides were not well organized and there was little documentation attached to each slide. The knowledge behind the collection rested with the photographer and it is unfortunate that much of that died when she did. Much of the collection was not labeled and, where it was, the word “ditto” seemed to have been her favorite word! She was inclined to label one slide with the location name and then simply write “ditto” on the others for that site. Unfortunately, many of the “dittos” were jumbled over time trying to disentangle what slide belonged to what site! We have acted like detectives in the Index for the last three or four months and still much remains to be identified.

It is also unfortunate that many of the slides were so badly decomposed that we could not use them. One of the largest sections in this database is the ”unknown” and we hope that you the user will be able to help us identify some of these images. The quality of the images varies and Jane was not a great camera person. It has to be remembered that these images were taken with a hand held camera using 35mm slide film and that the quality is not as good as if they were digital. A number of the images are slightly out of focus but we have still included them here.

Despite her fame as a scholar of stained glass, Jane Hayward’s archive reflected her love of all medieval art and not just glass. Many of the slides here are of medieval architecture, sculpture, frescoes, etc. and not glass. She travelled widely throughout her career and the countries represented here extend from Britain to Russia. Of particular interest is her photography of the stained glass in private collections in North America as well as the less well known sites in Austria and Germany. Although she visited all of the well-known sites for stained glass such as York and Chartres Cathedrals, the treasures of this archive are the less visited and smaller sites where she received unparalleled access. Her slides of Chartres, York and Ste-Chapelle for example, are not of the best quality and as the sites have been digitized elsewhere we have decided to exclude them from this resource.

In many cases the data accompanying these images in the database is what we found on the slides. It has also been extended with additional but limited research. The entire archive will be fully catalogued and added to the Index of Christian Art Database over time but in the short-term this present resource is our solution to making her collection available. As it currently stands, the images are not high resolution but all of the files have been scanned as tiff files and the copyright rests with the Index of Christian Art. In the interest of getting these used and, time permitting, we will be pleased to make them available to scholars free of charge for publication.

We have a limited number of fields and they include, Country, Site, Date, Subject Matter and Notes. In many cases we have used the terms ‘Unknown” where we have not been able to determine either the country or site or subject matter. For us the iconography is of greatest interest but unfortunately we have had to restrict access to just one subject term. This, for us, is usually the most prominent or general theme if one exists. Secondary subjects are usually mentioned in the Notes field. The Notes field also includes Bibliographic references which we have documented and these are frequently to the Corpus Vitrearum volumes. Architecture one of the biggest sections in the resource and is closely followed by stained glass but nearly every possible medium is represented here.

Apart from Mary Shepard, our thanks also go to Peter Barnet, Barbara Boehm, Michael Carter, Timothy Husband, and Charles T. Little, all from the Cloisters/Metropolitan Museum of Art who were responsible for transferring the archive to Princeton.

Many scholars responded to our call for help in identifying some of the works in these slides and we am grateful to all for their help. One person in particular, Meredith Lillich, Professor of Art History, Emeritus, Syracuse University responded way beyond the call of duty and we wish to acknowledge her considerable assistance with this corpus. We transferred many dozens of unidentified works into their proper locations thanks to her help.

Jane Hayward played a pivotal role in the study of stained glass in North America and nobody knew her better than Mary Shepard. An appreciation and select bibliography by Mary can be found here.

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