St John the Baptist, design for the Carlisle commission for stained glass in Paisley Abbey (Birmingham, 1876)

Pencil on paper
Inscribed on the reverse Paisley Abbey Carlisle Window F. P. 315


80.00cm high
29.50cm wide
(31.50 inches high)
(11.61 inches wide)
Request information about this work of art
View all images on one page


The Carl Laszlo collection, Switzerland


William Waters and Alistair Carew-Cox, Damozels & Deities, Seraphim Press Ltd, Abbots Morton 2017, illustrated page 78, number 82

Description / Expertise

St John the Baptist, a design for a stained-glass window commissioned for Paisley Abbey by the Carlisle family in memory of Burne-Jones’ close friend, George Howard, Ninth Earl of Carlisle.

Carl Laszlo was a collector, contemporary art dealer and publisher. He survived the Holocaust while a major part of his family members was murdered.

After the second world war was over he was taught psychology by ‪Léopold Szondi‬. His villa in Basel’s Sonnenweg 24 was a huge museum. His impressive collection consisted of some 15,000 works.

He published two books about his time in the concentration camps. On Auschwitz, Buchenwald and Dachau: Ferien am Waldsee in 1956 and Der Weg nach Auschwitz in 1987. In Ferien am Waldsee he wrote:
But even those that survived in the concentration camp were petrified, no one could get used to this sort of experience. One saw mature men tremble, those who had seen thousands around dying after several years in prison; one saw trembling Jews who had made it up to this point, had managed to preserve their lives, and were now forced to witness the destruction of their families in Treblinka and Majdanek; one saw camp elders and Kapos – the most privileged aristocracy of the camp – who had whipped many hundreds of their companions in misfortune to death, had robbed, tortured and betrayed them, and were now bent and pale with fear of death, were now awaiting their victims’ fate themselves. Suddenly everyone was under threat, even those who had hitherto hidden so skilfully.

In an interview with Markus Somm from the Baseler Zeitung, Carl Laszlo was asked by the editor-in-chief: But the time in Auschwitz, you can hardly describe it as a happy time” But Carl Laszlo, however, answered: Of course, yes! The fact that I survived it, is a good thing. It would have been less good, if I would have been murdered, wouldn’t it?

In his second issue of RADAR Carl Laszlo published some letters to the editor. Quite obviously, one advertising gallery had serious problems with William S. Burroughs’ literary quality, so it wrote:
we do not want to financially support a magazine that plays down the risk of addiction and the drug problem

Carl Laszlo replied:
As for the drug problem, we do not fight drugs, but only the risk of addiction in a society which plays down, overlooks or trivializes the risk of the most common addiction – namely alcohol: and the most lethal drug: the ideologies. We are convinced that only outspokenness, i.e. Enlightenment can help the addicts. For us the diminutiveness of the drug problem is out of the question. For a society, however, which prefers to examine the truth exclusively through the lense of closed eyes, our publications might seem scandalous to it.

Carl Laszlo surrounded himself with hundreds, maybe thousands, of Buddha sculptures: in the gardens, under the roof and in his temple.