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Design for a Quatrefoil with a Castle, Two Lovers, a Maiden Tempted by a Fool, a Couple Seated by a Trough, and a Knight and His Lover Mounted on a Horse
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After the Master of the Housebook
German, about 1475 - 1490
Pen and black ink
9 1/2 x 8 9/16 in.
2005.39

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This design for a stained-glass quatrefoil (four-lobed form) portrays scenes of courtly love. At left, a couple on horseback are shown hunting with a falcon. At right, a maiden, accompanied by an eager fool, promenade through a forest. Below, a reclining couple enjoy an amorous dalliance beside a trough. The top lobe features a castle above a rocky landscape.

The empty field in the center of the sheet is a placeholder for a coat of arms and suggests that the stained glass could have been made for a royal residence or official building. This drawing is likely a simplified copy by an artist in the workshop of the Master of the Housebook. It was intended as a model for a glass painter. Several steps and a variety of craftspeople were involved in making stained glass. After the artist drew the overall composition, a glass painter painted the design onto pieces of clear and colored glass. In order to allow light to penetrate through the painted design, the glass painter stippled, scratched, and scrubbed away some of the paint before the glass was stained and set into a lead framework.

Detail Views

Lower left: A Couple Seated by a Trough
Lower left: A Couple Seated by a Trough

Upper left: A Knight and his Lover Mounted on a Horse
Upper left: A Knight and his Lover Mounted on a Horse

Upper right: A Castle
Upper right: A Castle

Lower right: A Maiden Tempted by a Fool
Lower right: A Maiden Tempted by a Fool