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Fig. 2 Detail of Gotthard von Höveln
On Palm Sunday 1942 the historic centre of Lübeck was devastated by RAF bombers. The three most prominent churches – the Cathedral, the Marienkirche and the Petrikirche – were extensively damaged and numerous art works were lost. At the Petrikirche the important Flemish brass of Johann Clingenberg (d. 1356) was reduced to a few scraps. Among the many treasures lost at the Marienkirche were the Dance of Death paintings by Bernt Notke, virtually all the choir screen, both of the historic organs used by Buxtehude, and a multitude of funerary monuments. The Flemish brass of Tydeman Berck was certainly lost and for a long time it was believed that the monument of Gotthard von Höveln (d. 1571) was also a victim. It was not recorded as having survived by Dr. Cameron in his survey of the brasses of Lübeck published in Transactions in 1952 and Malcolm Norris wrote of it in the past tense in his magnum opus. However, it has since come to light and is now to be found on the wall on the south side of the choir ambulatory.
The quadrangular brass is composed of five plates, and is affixed by large decorative nails to a wooden frame. The central motif is the Ascension. Christ’s footprints can be seen on the Mount of Olives, around which are gathered apostles and disciples, headed by St. John on the left and St. Peter and the Blessed Virgin Mary on the right. Two angels standing on the mount address the assembled group as Christ Himself enters the cloud above. Above two more angels bear a tablet inscribed in Roman capitals ‘AD PATREM MEVM ET PATREM VESTRVM’ and ‘AD DEVM MEVM ET DEVM VESTRVM’ [‘To my Father and your Father’ and ‘To my God and your God’]. Christological subjects are not uncommon on sixteenth-
Gotthard von Höveln was a member of a prominent Lübeck patrician family, in which Gotthard is a confusingly common name. Although this Gotthard was not a burgomaster, that position was held by both his father, Gotthard III (d. 1555), and his son, Gotthard V (d. 1609), also commemorated by monuments in the Marienkirche. Gotthard IV was a senator from 1558, and from 1565 to 1568 served as Chamberlain.
Margaretha was the daughter of a famous burgomaster of Lübeck, Nikolaus Brömse (c. 1472-
Fig. 1 Gotthard (d. 1571) and Margaretha von Höveln, choir ambulatory, Marienkirche, Lübeck.
On the right kneels his wife Margaretha, wearing a veil and a cape of cut velvet. In front of her are the Brömse (Brömbsen) arms in their post-
FILIA NICOLAI BROMSEN QVI CONSVL EQVESQVE AVRATVS FVERAT MARGARI AB HOVLEN ERAS TV VERÆ PIETATIS AMANS ET HONESTA FVISTI MVNERA PAVPERIBVS MVLTA BENIGNA DABAS DONEC AD ÆTERNÆ REVOCAVERIS GAVDIA VITÆ MORTVA NVNC RECVBAS IVSTIFICATA FIDE.
This was translated by Creeny: ‘Daughter of Nicolas Bromsen, who had been consul and golden knight, Margaret of Hoveln, thou wast. A lover of true piety and honourable hast thou been: many gifts to the poor, kind lady, didst thou give: till to the joys of eternal life thou art recalled, in death now thou liest, having been justified by faith.’
Fig. 3 Detail of Margaretha von Höveln,
On the left at the bottom of the scene kneels Gotthard von Höveln, an impressively bearded figure who wears a fur-
Malcolm Norris surmised reasonably that this brass was manufactured in the workshop of the Lübeck cannon-
As his name suggests, Jost (or Joos) de Laval was not a native of Lübeck. His earliest surviving work is a Martyrdom of St. Sebastian in the church of Watervliet not far from Bruges. In the cathedral church of Sint-
W.F. Creeny, A Book of Fac-
H.K. Cameron, ‘Brasses on the Continent’, Transactions of the Monumental Brass Society, VII, pt. 7 (1940). pp. 325-
M. Norris, Monumental Brasses: The Memorials, 2 vols. (London, 1977), I, p. 216.
K. Krüger, Corpus der mittelalterlichen Grabdenkmäler in Lübeck, Schleswig, Holstein und Lauenburg (1100-
Fig. 5 Jost de Laval, Adoration of the Shepherds, Katharinenkirche, Lübeck
Fig. 4 Detail of the Ascension