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Virgin & Child glass panel: C.2-2018

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Object information

Current Location: In storage


Virgin & Child glass panel


Glass engraver: Hutton, John Campbell




Engraved glass panel.

Rectangular clear glass panel with wheel-engraved design of Madonna and Child, the figures three-quarter length and full-frontal, the mother seated, the child’s knees drawn up onto her lap and her arms enclosing him. The features are quite stylised, but with form to the bodies. The heads are surrounded by spiky halos and the whole image framed by an inverted ‘V’ shaped line, representing a veil. The panel is framed in dark wood, with an integral metal stand.


History note: Purchased directly from Hutton or his dealer by John Simon; inherited by his son, Jacob Simon

Legal notes

Given by Jacob Simon

Measurements and weight

Width: 32 cm
Width: 41.5 cm

Acquisition and important dates

Method of acquisition: Given (2018-01-29) by Simon, Jacob


20th Century, Mid
Production date: circa AD 1958


A similar but larger and full length panel is in the V & A collection.

Hutton developed his own techniques to give his engravings the graininess and shading of chalk drawings rather than the clear and restrained lines of traditional glass etchings. First, he sketched in chalk on black paper (see PD.14-1982). Then, placing the sketch behind the panel, he engraved the outline using a dentist's drill adapted with a small grinding wheel and completed the image with a series of much larger stone wheels powered by an electric motor, controlling the dust with a moistened sponge. Parts of the design might be polished with felt and emery paper to reduce opacity or to enhance form. Sometimes the outlines would be masked off and sand blasted before the engraving.

John Hutton (1906-1978) was born New Zealand and came to England in 1936, working mainly as a muralist. During wartime army service he met Basil Spence and Stephen Sykes, and later worked with them on the rebuilding of Coventry Cathedral. Hutton designed and engraved sixty larger-than-life figures for the 21.5 metre-high glass Great West Wall; it took 10 years to complete the project, for which this panel may be a study. Other major glass engraving commissions followed, including Guildford Cathedral, the Shakespeare Centre, Stratford-on-Avon and 37 panels for the Canadian National Library & Archives, Ottawa. In 1975, Hutton became the first Vice President of the British Guild of Glass Engravers.

People, subjects and objects depicted

Components of the work

Visible Glass Height 62 cm
Frame Height 71.3 cm

Materials used in production


Inscription or legends present

  • Text: John Hutton
  • Location: Bottom left-hand corner
  • Method of creation: Engraved in script
  • Type: Maker's mark

References and bibliographic entries

Identification numbers

Accession number: C.2-2018
Primary reference Number: 223097
Stable URI

Audit data

Created: Tuesday 27 March 2018 Updated: Friday 15 December 2023 Last processed: Friday 16 February 2024

Associated departments & institutions

Owner or interested party: The Fitzwilliam Museum
Associated department: Applied Arts

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