The intention of my article is to reopen the investigation into the heritage of the Crabeth family and their activities as glaziers of stained-glass windows along with other works of art they produced in the sixteenth century.
For a long time it was believed that Pieter Dircksz Crabeth and his famous sons Dirck and Wouter originated from Gouda, where they achieved their greatest work: eighteen stained-glass windows for Sint Janskerk. In my contribution I give an account of the pre-Gouda period and make clear that their field of activities was wider and more far-reaching than is commonly agreed upon.
Profiles of their patrons provide an insight into the network to which the Crabeths belonged. Their contacts with the land of Cuijk and the prince bishopric of Liège have been investigated and documented.
Count Floris of Egmond-Buren and his commission to Pieter Crabeth to make eight windows for his castle in Grave in 1522 is highlighted. Research shows a patronage relationship between the house of Egmond and the Crabeth family.
In a letter written by Abbott Nicolas de Malaise we find evidence of a stay by Dirck and Wouter Crabeth at Saint Hubert d'Ardenne around 1523 due to the rebuilding of the abbey church in Renaissance style. The impetus for this letter was a fatal accident caused by Wouter Crabeth's horse. The article goes into the judicial implications of such an event and the consequences for the person involved at that time. The letter expresses the abbot's concern about Wouter's stay in Saint-Hubert with regard to the continuity of the building project.
Twenty years later Pieter and Dirck Crabeth are again invited by Abbott Remacle de Marche to produce stained-glass windows for the abbey church in Saint Hubert, which had been destroyed by fire in the intervening years. The window of Adolf von Schauenburg, who later became archbishop of Cologne, is a wonderful example from this period and it is the only known glass by Pieter Crabeth still in situ. Research into stylistic elements of the rendering of the suffragan bishop in the Gouda cartoon Confirmatio and the patron saint Lambert in the Schauenburg window show a remarkable resemblance between the two figures.
In view of the activities of the Crabeths in Saint Hubert d'Ardenne, critical research is called for into the authorship of the windows in the bishopric of Liège and the probability of the glaziers being involved in glass production studios in its capital.
New insights based upon thorough studies of material and written sources with detailed notes and glosses, along with recent archival investigations, are presented here in the hope that discussion about Pieter Crabeth and his sons Dirck and Wouter will be given new life and put into a wider perspective.