Newton and Newbold collections

The Newton collection and the Newbold collection have played a significant role in consolidating York's position as the premier centre for stained glass studies.

Dr Newton left an extensive library and collection of slides to the University whilst Dr. Newbold's donation included a very strong collection of books on stained glass including an extensive set of the Corpus Vitrearum series and very rare 19th-century works. Together with the Wormald Collection, they form an exceptional resource for both undergraduate and postgraduate study.

About the collection

The collectors

Peter Newton

Peter Anthony Newton (1935-1987) read History of Art at the Courtauld Institute and went on to gain his PhD at the University of London. He was taught by Francis Wormald, and in light of this, Newton played a considerable role in establishing the Wormald Library in honour of his former tutor. Together, they made considerable advances in the study of medieval stained glass. Newton applied modern methodologies of art history and iconography to stained glass which meant that, for the first time, English medieval glass-painting was examined systematically as a branch of medieval art in its own right.

Newton became Mellon Lecturer in British Medieval Art at York in 1965, where his sometimes eccentric teaching style inspired a generation of stained glass scholars. His post at York resulted in medieval stained glass being taught for the first time at university level by an experienced specialist. He was also instrumental in setting up the Department of Medieval Studies. Beyond the University, Newton also made significant contributions to York’s major cultural institutions. He became a member of York City Art Gallery Committee, served the Minster as academic adviser to the York Glaziers’ Trust, and exerted influence on glass conservation more widely through his involvement with the stained glass committee of the Council for Care of Churches. His expertise in identifying stained glass proved to be especially invaluable during the restoration of 12th- and 14th-century glass in the Minster's nave clerestory.

Peter Newbold

Peter Charles Hutchinson Newbold (1938-1996) studied medicine at New College, Oxford, and Guy's Hospital in London, after which his training took him to London, Cambridge and California before he took up residence as a consultant dermatologist at Worcester Royal Infirmary. His knowledge of skin cancers (which had earned him his doctorate in medicine at Cambridge in 1974) and deeply-held Christian beliefs meant that he dedicated himself especially to patients suffering from terminal illness.

Newbold's obituary, published in both The Times and the British Medical Journal, celebrated him as the quintessential renaissance man with a great love of the fine arts - a passion which he pursued in addition to his professional life in medicine. He travelled widely, was fluent in five languages including German and Portuguese, and was well-known for his elegant dinner parties where conversation might range from Michelin-starred cuisine to 15th-century stained glass or obscure 18th-century operas. Most of his weekends were spent on the continent, photographing and filming stained glass windows in churches.


Peter Newton bequeathed his collection to the University in his will in 1987 - the terms of the bequest included storing the collection in the King's Manor Library. Peter Newbold bequeathed his collection to the Library in 1996 - the collection was originally stored in the basement of the Traveller's Club in Pall Mall and was moved to the King's Manor that year.

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