Sunday, July 29, 2012

Real glass demons! - and more

As I mentioned in my last post, I have recently returned from a trip to my former home town of Bad Münstereifel in Germany. Bad Münstereifel is a truly wonderful place but if there is one thing it doesn't have a lot of, it's wifi access. This is probably partly because a lot of Germans use an internet "stick" that plugs into their laptop when they want mobile internet access, rather than relying on joining local wifi networks. I was able to get onto the net in the local library but to my horror it closed for a summer break a few days after we arrived. Before the trip I had fondly imagined that going "internet cold turkey" wouldn't be a problem, might even be relaxing, but pretty soon both the kids and I were desperate to get online! I happened to mention this to some friends we visited, and they very kindly offered to give me the keys to the beautiful and historic Weinhaus an der Rauschen, a hotel and restaurant which has (roll of drums) wifi, so that I could log on there. However when I got inside, the wifi was pretty quickly forgotten, as I laid eyes on the wonderful stained glass windows in the restaurant. I have a real "thing" for stained glass, especially the antique stuff, so I couldn't photograph it quickly enough. With the kind permission of the owners I am reproducing some of the photographs here. One of my favourites apparently shows a real "glass demon" like the one in my second novel!

Below: the Weinhaus an der Rauschen. It is situated on the Heisterbacherstrasse in Bad Münstereifel, upon which Pia Kolvenbach, the heroine of my first novel The Vanishing of Katharina Linden, lives. So if you ever visit the town, this is the place to stay if you want to live on the same street as Pia!

Below: arms of Jülich. I especially like this one because I used the name in Wish Me Dead; one of the characters is called Kai von Jülich.

Below: head of Christ. I think this might possibly be a representation of the image of Christ's face on the cloth of Saint Veronika.

This is a very interesting window (below): it shows a knight with a real "glass demon" being subdued under the hooves of his charger!

...and here is a close-up of that demon (below).

This is also fascinating (below). At first glance this is a romantic scene of courtly love...

...but if you look more closely (below) you can see something rather grotesque peeping out from behind a tree at the two lovers! It may be a personification of the sin of Lust.

P.S. If you really do visit Bad Münstereifel, here's the hotel's website: - it is in German but the owners speak perfect English. 


  1. I should have mentioned before: most of the glass is seventeenth century. Some of the panels have dates in them.

  2. Fantastic! After reading your book, I'll never look at stain glass the same way again!!

  3. Excellent! :-D I think it's amazing some of the things you see in stained glass windows. The ones at St. Mary's Fairford have lots of glass demons, including a big red one with his face glaring out of his chest!

  4. Postscript to the above post: I've been doing a bit of research and I am almost certain that the head of Christ with the crown of thorns is supposed to be the veil of Saint Veronica, as other representations of it from the same period are very similar.
    The knight on horseback window is a copy of a woodcut by Albrecht Dürer, of Saint George and the Dragon, dated 1508. So sadly it is a dragon rather than a demon.
    The window showing the young couple being spied on by something nasty is also a copy of Dürer's work, in this case "Spaziergang" ("Promenade"). The grotesque figure is Death rather than the sin of Lust as I surmised. In the original, which has clearer detail, you can see that Death has an hourglass on his head, symbolising time running out. Cheerful!