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Glazier guild model book from Mechelen, 17th century

The Mechelen glazier guild model book contains designs for stained glass windows, an essential part of the entrance examination for those aspiring to be called a ‘master glazier’ or ‘master glassmaker’. This was part of a years-long training. The final test was the completion of the master’s piece, a mandatory work that the candidate had to present to the guild's board. Only after approval of this piece were they recognised as a master in the trade and allowed to practise the profession.

Stadsarchief Mechelen
Seventeenth century
Rights status
Public domain

Many of the glazier guild documents were lost after its abolition during the French period (1797). This 17th-century model book has been preserved by chance. The unique book – the only other similar copy within our country can be found in Bruges – bears witness to the operation of the guild and the approach to the master’s piece in particular. The wide variety of geometric patterns indicates a broad range of choices for tackling the test. It is noteworthy that the model book also includes a pattern for the master’s piece in Antwerp. The Mechelen model book has been granted the protected status of a Flemish masterpiece thanks to its its great historical value and rarity.

  • Inventory number cp: V 571
  • Masterpiece ID: 647
  • Format: manuscript
  • Number of folios: 66
  • Dimensions: 185 x 150 x 7 mm
  • Material: paper

Source: Unknown, 17th century, Glazier guild model book from Mechelen, Stadsarchief Mechelen, Public domain