The Calling of St. Peter

Designer: Sir Edward Burne-Jones

Manufacturer: Powell's


Stained glass

107.2 x 35.6 cm.

Victoria and Albert Museum

Usually in storage at the Victoria and Albert Museum, this panel was on display at Tate Britain as an example of the earliest pieces of Burne-Jones stained glass at the "Edward Burne-Jones" exhibition (for details see below). It is not known if or where the design was used. It shows St Peter turning away from his work as a fisherman to receive his new calling as a disciple. He kneels in front of the unseen figure of Jesus, to receive from his hands the keys to the kingdom of heaven, his traditional attribute. Alison Smith, in the book accompanying the exhibition, explains that this panel and The Good Shepherd represented a new departure in stained glass design, in that they combine "Pre-Raphaelite naturalism with extreme stylisation" (54); this one is also more clearly medieval in feel, with each of the attending angels holding tiny figures of knights and nuns, perhaps associated with the place for which the design was intended (see "Calling of St Peter"). Before joining the Morris firm in 1861, Burne-Jones was for a short while Powell's chief designer.

Photograph © Victoria and Albert Museum, downloaded by Jacqueline Banerjee, who saw it at the press view of the Burne-Jones exhibition (24 October 2018-24 February 2019). It featured in the first room, on Burne-Jones's his apprenticeship years.

Commentary and formatting by Jacqueline Banerjee.