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Posts Tagged ‘Henry Holiday’

Like his big brother Phillips Brooks in Boston, the Reverend Frederick Brooks was making a name for himself inside and outside of the pulpit doing good works in Cleveland, Ohio.  In 1874 he returned to the Boston area to find a teacher for a school that he had founded. In the course of his travels, on a stormy night on September 15, he left a disabled train in East Cambridge and decided to walk along the bridge. As his father recounted, “The night being dark, he fell through the draw and was drowned. He was thirty-two years of age. The body was not found until the 20th in the Charles River. Funeral services were held September 24 …” In Cleveland, Frederick Brooks had served as rector of St. Paul’s, a prominent church.  And that may be why Trinity Church vestryman Charles J. Morrill. if he had a hand in the selection of theme, chose to honor the memory of Frederick Brooks by funding a memorial window depicting Three Scenes in St. Paul’s Life. The window is located on the northern wall of the nave, designed by Henry Holiday of London, 1878.

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The story begins with a young Saul sitting with his teacher Gamaliel.

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The center picture represents Saul’s conversion to Christianity.

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The final image is of Saul, now Saint Paul, preaching to the people of Athens. As a whole the window is almost overwhelming … which makes sense given that it tries to capture one of the most complicated life stories in “just” three scenes. What is it I always say? See for yourself when you have the opportunity.

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https://trinitychurchboston.org/visit/tours

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Three years ago on this blog, I wrote about Henry Holiday’s depiction of the Transfiguration in the stained glass window located at Trinity Church in the City of Boston. At the time I was particularly interested in the position of the hands in his window though my research revealed to me that he was especially noted for his execution of drapery.

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With a new lens and new perspective I’ve been revisiting the window, and I begin to understand what I read about his work with cloth in glass.

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These images are from the top of the window. What’s amazing to me is that much of this detail you cannot see with the naked eye.

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And yet the whole of what you see from the ground is quite stunning.

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Read an earlier post here: https://wordsandimagesbycynthia.com/2013/10/07/holidays-tranfiguration/

View the window for yourself at Trinity Church: http://trinitychurchboston.org/art-and-architecture

 

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I keep reading that Henry Holiday of London was noted for his execution of drapery, i.e. the fall of cloth, around his figurative subjects; that it was a style reminiscent of Dante Rosetti.  I do love the intricate layering of cloth in these scenes from his stained glass window, The Transfiguration (1878), but it is the hands I particularly notice at present.   As promised in an earlier post, here is a bit more about the artist and his creation.

Henry Holiday was born in London in 1839.  His talent for drawing set him on an early artistic path where he would be influenced by Pre-Raphaelites like Burne-Jones, William Morris and Dante Rosetti.  Over time, he would develop his own unique style.  He traveled the world as many an artist of that period did.  Trips to locales like Italy and Egypt influenced his illustration, painting, sculpture and his work with stained glass.  Read more about his diverse interests and artistic expressions in this wikipedia article.

During his lifetime, Holiday did quite a bit of work for American churches, and that’s why I’ve been lucky enough to view and photograph his window, The Transfiguration, at Trinity Church in Copley Square, Boston.

The window depicts a moment described in the New Testament. The basic story is that Jesus and three of his apostles, Peter, James and John, traveled up a mountain to pray.  There Jesus begins to shine like the sun, his clothes becoming white as snow.  The prophets Moses and Elijah appear at his side and talk with him. Eventually “a bright cloud overshadowed them, and a voice from the cloud said, “This is my Beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased; listen to him.” When the disciples heard this, they fell on their faces with awe. But Jesus came and touched them, saying, “Rise, and have no fear.” And when they lifted up their eyes, they saw no one but Jesus only. …” (Matthew 17:1-92, Mark 9:1-9; Luke 9:28-36; 2 Peter 1:16-18).”

There are a lot of great resources online about the significance of this moment in Christianity and its various interpretations.  If you’re in Boston’s Back Bay, view Holiday’s window firsthand, especially when the sun is shining bright.  Postcards and prints available in the Trinity Book Shop with shipping available worldwide.

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