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Posts Tagged ‘Back Bay’

light streaming down through the Japanese maples.

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virgin & child by charles connick, 1916

Emmanuel Church in the City of Boston is an Episcopal parish located on Newbury Street. Consecrated in 1861 it is a masterpiece among the many architectural treasures to be found in Boston’s Back Bay.  Its history as a place of worship and advocate for social justice for over 150 years are well documented on the church’s website. On the day that I and a friend visited to view the interior, an arts program for the homeless was concluding. Based on brief interactions with some of the participants it is clearly an empowering project, and just one of many offered in service to those in need.  I hope to learn more in the future but on that day my focus was the stained glass windows. From the literature shared by one of the clergy, the stained glass artists whose work can be found in the church include John Ninian Comper, Charles Connick, Frederic Crowninshield, Harry Eldredge Goodhue, Heaton Butler & Bayne, Charles Eamer Kempe, Tiffany, Samuel West and Henry Wynd Young.

incredulity of st. thomas by tiffany glass & decorating, 1890

incredulity of st. thomas by tiffany glass & decorating, 1890

With expansion and construction into the 1920s, there are many different styles represented in the windows of Emmanuel Church.

st. michael killing the dragon by charles eamer kempe, 1901

st. michael killing the dragon by charles eamer kempe, 1901

by harry eldredge goodhue, 1905

adoration of the magi by henry wynd young, after 1918

adoration of the magi by henry wynd young, after 1918

Windows have been lost over time.

Others have been beautifully restored including the church’s signature window, Emmanuel’s Land, comprised of 15 panels of leaded glass with 17 smaller sections of tracery above, and done in the opalescent style made famous by John La Farge, Louis C. Tiffany and Frederic Crowninshield.  Emmanuel’s Land is one of Crowninshield’s largest works.

emmanuel's land by frederic crowninshield

emmanuel’s land by frederic crowninshield, 1899

The window is especially notable because it does not depict a religious scene but instead a scene from John Bunyan’s book, The Pilgrims Progress.

Piety, Discretion, Prudence and Charity show Pilgrim Emmanuel’s Land. The window was designed in memory of Mrs. Howard Payson Arnold, Crowninshield’s mother.

The windows are housed in a structure that has evolved quite a bit over its history from its original construction in 1861.  As the parish grew, adjacent plots of land were purchased and new adjoining structures were built including a parish house, west transept, and two chapels. The Lindsey Chapel was the last to be built between 1920-1924. A poignant tale is at the heart of its construction but I shall save that story and those images for another post.

In this post I’ve shared just a brief glimpse of the windows inside this lovely church. I hope you have the chance to see firsthand. Learn more about the church via the following link:

Emmanuel Church in the City of Boston

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vines on the side of a building in boston’s back bay

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In the shadow of the Back Bay is how the brochure describes the location of Our Lady of Victories Catholic Shrine.  I chanced upon the church yesterday after a meeting.  Crossing a street, I actually saw the back of the building first, an old brick structure with darkened windows that clearly had to be stained glass.  I made my way to the front of the building, studying the exterior and wondering if I might contact someone, some day, to ask if I might photograph the interior.

“Do you want to go inside the church?” A large man stood across the street.  He seemed to be in a hurry because he didn’t even wait for my answer before saying, “Just go down those stairs over there.” Then he continued on his way.

I went down the stairs into a little alleyway. There were a couple of older gentlemen there having a smoke. They greeted me kindly, and again without really waiting for me to say I wanted to enter the church, they directed me through a side door.

Inside was dark and warm. People moved about a bit in the shadows and I could hear a few sounds.  I could see no stained glass windows though.  Then, to my right, a gentleman walked from a side room.  He smiled and said, “You can come on in.  We’re just watching a movie.”

I thanked him for the offer, and said, “Actually, sir, I was wondering if I could go inside the church upstairs where the windows are.” His grin widened, and he said, “Of course. Just go back outside and up the stairs.  The doors are open.”

That’s what I did and following is a bit of what I saw.  There are quite a few images so please enjoy at your leisure. You can read more about the church’s history via this link.  In the future I hope to post more about the architecture and about the primary window designer, Franz Xaver Zettler.  And, by the way, I believe that the gentlemen who were so kind to me, were themselves being helped.  Located in the basement of the church is the Medeiros Center for Change.

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Detail from Purity by John La Farge, 1885

Detail from Purity by John La Farge

Designed and executed by artists and stained glass manufacturers like John La Farge, Clayton and Bell, Burlison and Grylls, and others, these particular stained glass windows at Trinity Church in the City of Boston are “hidden gems.”

Detail 2 from Purity by John La Farge, 1885

Detail 2 from Purity by John La Farge

They are located in the Parish House. In part, due to renovation activities at different times over the past 100 years, some of the windows are now in stairwells, like Purity as well as John Hardman and Company’s Woods Window

The Woods Window, executed by John Hardman and Company

The Woods Window, executed by John Hardman and Company

others are in restricted areas like Ephphatha by Burlison and Grylls …

Detail from Ephphatha by Burlison and Grylls

Detail from Ephphatha by Burlison and Grylls

 

and others in areas dedicated to use by parishoners of all ages like The Sunday-School Windows by Clayton & Bell.  

They are not windows accessible as part of a traditional art and architecture tour of the sanctuary, but it has been my pleasure this summer to roam the halls a bit with my camera and to share this glimpse of details from some of the windows. Postcards and prints, and information about tours, are available at the Trinity Book Shop.

Interior of Trinity Church in the City of Boston, Copley Square

Interior of Trinity Church in the City of Boston, Copley Square

 

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In a world filled with such sadness and confusion, I think that is why it is such a pleasure to sit in the Boston Public Library courtyard and stare into these faces filled with such joy and awe.  The actual name of the sculpture is Bacchante and Infant Faun.  It is a replica of the bronze sculpture created by Frederick William MacMonnies.

You can read an interesting and very detailed analysis of the statue’s history in Boston and at the BPL via this link.  In short, while treasured today, this naked figure serving the infant god, Bacchus, caused quite the uproar in 1890’s Boston. Imagine that. 😉

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Detail from the Lucy R. Woods Window, Trinity Church, Boston

Detail from the Lucy R. Woods Window, Trinity Church, Boston

It is one of the many hidden gems of Trinity Church in the City of Boston.  According to archival records, the Woods Window was commissioned in memory of Miss Lucy R. Woods (1847-1904).  Miss Woods taught the Young Ladies’ Bible Class in the church Sunday School for thirty-three years, beginning in 1871.

The window was executed by John Hardman and Company, Birmingham, England, and designed by Dunstan John Powell, grandson of noted English architect and artist Augustus Pugin.

The window is located in a stairwell not easily accessible to the public but postcards and prints will soon be coming to the Book Shop.

Until then, you can read more about the original 1906 unveiling of the window here.  Hope to share more information about this window, and other hidden gems, in the near future.

 

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