Tobias and Sara

Whilst we were wandering round the V&A on our Treasure Hunt (click here to read the post) earlier in the holidays, we saw this rather wonderful piece of stained glass.  It shows Tobias and Sara sleeping on their wedding night.

The story comes from the Book Of Tobit.  Tobias arrives at the house of his kinsman, Raguel, who promptly gives Tobias his daughter to marry.  With this kind offer comes the warning that Sara’s seven previous husbands have been eaten by demons on the wedding night.  Tobias is not keen on this fate and with the archangel Raphael cooks up a potion to drive the demon away.  In order for the potion to work they have to wait three nights before they can consummate the marriage to ensure that the demon is dead.

We see them here sleeping chastely waiting for the demon to go away.  The little dog on the bed is Tobias’s faithful pet symbolising marital love and fidelity.

Odd story but a very beautiful piece of sixteenth century stained glass.  It makes me wonder about the story of the glass itself.  How did it survive so long.  When did it leave its native Germany?  Who owned it and where did it hang before it came to rest in the Medieval and Renaissance gallery at the V&A?

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