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Posts Tagged ‘art’

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I’m a details oriented person for the most part, in fact so much so, that I know I sometimes miss the big picture. But by being details oriented it becomes easy to recognize things … in this case … As my companion and I walked around the perimeter of Saint Mark’s Episcopal Church I could see the outlines of the stained glass windows. I pointed. “That for sure is Tiffany Studios, and maybe that one, too.”  “You’re sure?” he asked. “Oh, yes,” I said with more confidence than I actually felt. “Look at the faces and the opalescent glass. The drapery. Signature Tiffany.”

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He took me for my word and began helping me tug on doors. A homeless man making himself comfortably in a shady corner waved us over and said, “You need to go to that door.” We thanked him. It was locked but eventually, as service was about to begin, an usher unlocked the door and let us in. He was very kind.

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As my companion talked with him about the organ, I snapped away trying not to disturb parishioners starting to settle in. And this is what I saw …

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As for if and how many of the windows are actually Tiffany Studios, I don’t know for sure. That would involve a deeper level of research and conversation with the church historian or archivist.

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But just as fascinating would be to discover more about the windows that are decidedly modern looking in a style I’m not yet familiar with on the East Coast.

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Sometimes reminiscent of Chagall for me. What do you think?

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Anyway, mostly when I see glass of such different styles in a sacred space I am reminded that the building like the people can be dynamic. A lovely, quick visit … 🙂

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https://stmarksberkeley.org/

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It wasn’t quite one of my “the door was open and I peeked in” adventures. It was more, it was a Sunday, the church doors were open and we were welcomed in and allowed to take pictures before the service began. Very inviting airy place with bright sun shining through colorful windows.

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http://firstchurchberkeley.org/

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I’m quite pleased with the new travel thermos featuring the Purity stained glass window design. I’m a pretty happy go lucky person but every now and then even I need to add a bit of brightness to my life and I think this thermos fits! Available at the Trinity Church gift shop. If you’re not in Boston, and are interested in purchasing, send inquiries to artandarchitecture@trinitychurchboston.org. And in the works, new silk chiffon scarves inspired by Burne-Jones and William Morris …

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At least two variations on a theme are in production, the designs inspired by details from one of my favorite windows at Trinity Church, David’s Charge to Solomon. Soon to be available exclusively at the church gift shop.

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As for the rest of this day, back to paperwork (aargh!) and then out into the sunshine with my camera. More reflections upon water to view, squirrels and birds to chase down, and maybe even a church or two to be found with sunlit stained glass windows. We’ll see … Have a good day, folks!

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I couldn’t help myself. Despite how I ended the previous post, I had to dig just a little deeper and this is what I found.

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In 1902 this was the archway over the altar in Faith United Parish, then known as the Calvinistic Congregation Church. In 1904 that archway was altered to incorporate a memorial to the parents of Daniel Simonds. Simonds was the son of Abel and Jane Todd Simonds. Abel Simonds was the founder of the Simonds Manufacturing Company, a company operating and still headquartered in Fitchburg. Son Daniel was an astute businessman who led the company’s growth internationally. With his great wealth, he invested heavily in his hometown of Fitchburg and in the good works of his church.

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In the April 16, 1904 issue of The Congregationalist and Christian World, Volume 89, there is a note in the Record of the Week section stating that at the Fitchburg Calvinistic Congregation Church “Choir arch redecorated and its center supplied with windows of beautiful design, the whole a gift of Daniel Simonds, in memory of his parents. They were dedicated Easter Sunday.” Unfortunately no artist or studio is named in the article.

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As for mystery #2 …

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Based on information gleaned from Fitchburg Sentinel newspapers from 1930, it appears that the window, named The Resurrection, was a gift to the church by Mrs. Daniel Simonds, born Ellen Gifford.

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Again, no clues as to studio or artist at this time. But who knows what might be revealed one day. 🙂

 

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As noted on its website, the church currently known as Faith United Parish is home to a number of beautiful stained glass windows. Located on Main Street in the city of Fitchburg, Massachusetts, both the building and its congregation have evolved over time and continue to do so. Originally known in the 1800s as the Calvinistic Congregational Church, it merged with the First United Methodist Church in 1967, forming an urban cooperative ministry.

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The building, which was to be the third meeting house for this congregation, was designed in 1897 by architect and parishioner H. M. Francis who was influenced by the Romanesque Revival sparked by Henry Hobson Richardson with his creation of Trinity Church in the City of Boston. Standing outside the building on the corner of Main and Rollstone streets, one is immediately struck by the heavy stone facade, rounded arches, tall tower with its beautiful clock, and dark tracery of the interior stained glass windows.  Thanks to Pastor Jeff Conlon who allowed entry inside to see the windows firsthand.

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The rose window was designed by the Boston firm of Redding, Baird and Company. It measures twenty feet in diameter and its theme is the angelic choir.

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The six angels are the spirits of Praise, with scroll; Love, holding the sacred dove, Music, blowing the trumpet, Music, playing the harp, Teaching, reading from the Book of Life, and the herald-angel of Easter morning.

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The description of the rose window is taken from the 1902 book, A History of the Calvinistic Congregational Church and Society, Fitchburg, Massachusetts. In 1902there were only two memorial stained glass windows in place, one given by Edward G. Bailey in memory of his mother Mrs. Rodney Wallace …

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and the other given by George Hildreth in memory of his wife Pauline C. Hildreth.

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These windows, plus three others added in 1903, are credited as Tiffany Studio windows designed by artist Frederick Wilson.

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While not widely known today, Frederick Wilson was a major ecclesiastical designer of the late 19th and early 20th centuries. He was employed most notably by Tiffany for nearly thirty years and worked for other studios at the same time including Heaton, Butler and Bayne.

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Resurrection Angel

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Call of Matthew

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Two other figurative windows are present though not necessarily attributed to Tiffany or Wilson.

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While the above window does have similar opalescent and drapery glass as the Tiffany windows, the final window I photographed is strikingly different.

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A 1938 article in the Fitchburg Sentinel newspaper references this window, the Gifford Memorial window, as having been gifted to the church during the prior ten years. By the 1920s there was a distinct move away from the opalescence and designs that Tiffany and John La Farge had made famous. The use of rich colors and a reworking of the medieval inspired a new generation of artists. As for the name of this artist and his or her studio it is unclear without further research.

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While my focus tends to be stained glass, there were many other beautiful features to be seen inside as well as without, and I’m not the only one who thinks so. The building is considered one of the most important examples of Richardsonian architecture remaining. In 1979, the building was enrolled in the registry of National Historic Places. You can learn more about this important building and its church services via the following link. It was a great pleasure to visit.  http://www.faithunitedparish.com/index.htm

 

Sources & Additional Reading

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Calvinistic_Congregational_Church

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Henry_M._Francis

A History of the Calvinistic Congregational Church (1902)

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I took a field trip today to visit a church, one of many, in Fitchburg. Still sorting through photos. Will post more about this welcoming church and its lovely windows soon!

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For those of you who’ve followed my blog for a while you know I spend a great deal of time at Trinity Church in Copley Square for a variety of creative reasons. For years I’ve photographed the windows and taken pleasure in researching their stories and encouraging visitors to learn even more through the church’s self-guided and docent-led tours. Coming in June to complement these two opportunities to learn about this National Historic Landmark’s architectural significance will be an audio tour. Especially for friends and family who’ve yet to make it to Boston to see the church for themselves I’m happy to share this sneak peak unveiling the new audio tour that offers a glimpse of the church’s interior beauty and its activities as an active Episcopal parish. Enjoy, and hope you can visit! Promotional video by photographer Rodrigo Larioss.

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