An unusual kneeling donor
This early sixteenth century roundel at Cumnor in Berkshire, isn't a particularly distinguised piece of glass painting. It is however rather interesting. It appears to show a female kneeling donor of the type that was very common in the period. However it is a rather unusual treatment of such a donor image. Firstly the donor is within a roundel, that is far from normal and she is secondly set within a domestic setting, which is unusual too. She kneels at a prie-dieu in a rather fine room with a tiled floor, springers that hint at a vault with glazed windows, one glazed with quarries and a roundel. This glass is in its original position, occupying one of two quatrefoil tracery lights at the top of a nave window. That is rather odd too, as donor images are generally near the bottom of a window where they can be more easily seen. Donor images are generally placed in relationship with other images in a window, notably with images of the persons of the Trinity or of the saints. This image was probably paired with a second image in the matching quatrefoil in the tracery of this window. Frustratingly thus image has now gone and sadly the marginal inscription of this roundel is rather too broken to provide any other clues as to what that second image might have been. Quite often the relationship between donor images and other imagery in a window is expressed through scrolls with invocatory texts. This roundel has no such texts, so what can we surmise? That this is the image of a woman meditating in her private oratory?