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Posts Tagged ‘John La Farge’

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There is no vessel in which I will not try to plant seeds. Or a seedling. Maybe a bulb. As a reminder that spring is coming, and to give myself a bit of peace of mind, I’ve decided to do some planting this weekend. I’ve yet to decide what this mug will hold. If it stays in the kitchen, it has to hold something edible. We’ll see … I may sip tea from it as I decide its fate.

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The design of the mug was inspired by John La Farge and his decoration of Trinity Church in Boston. The geometric pattern is an adaptation of stained glass found on one of the interior doors. The sun was shining bright the day of the photo. The final pattern was translated onto a mug, magnet, and bookmark that can be purchased at the shop at Trinity Church. You can learn more about La Farge and his decoration on one of the superb guided tours. More information available here: http://trinitychurchboston.org/visit/tours

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puritydetail1

Detail from Purity by John La Farge

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Detail from Presentation of the Virgin (after Titian) by John La Farge, 1888

At Trinity Church in the City of Boston, there is the stained glass window, Faith, by Burlison & Grylls of London, installed in 1877-1878. It was given in memory of Charles Hook Appleton and Isabella Mason by their teenaged daughters Julia and Marian Alice, known as The Appleton Sisters.  The two sisters were extremely close. They lived together on Beacon Street and purchased adjoining property in Lenox, MA. 

Julia and Marian Alice Appleton

Julia and Marian Alice Appleton

Eventually, the oldest daughter Julia would meet and marry noted architect Charles McKim, a colleague and friend of the artist John La Farge.  Sister Alice would marry George Von Lengerke Meyer. As did many families of their social circle the McKims traveled extensively and often throughout Europe. In Venice they visited the galleries and in that city one of Julia’s favorite paintings was Titian’s Presentation of the Virgin, 1534-1538.

In 1887, Julia would unexpectedly die during childbirth. The grieving McKim, along with sister Alice, would commission John La Farge to create a window in Julia’s memory.  La Farge would select as focus a small portion of Titian’s large canvas. The window would be designed and completed within five months.

The window depicts a young girl climbing steps and symbolizes Julia’s climb toward heaven.  Below this image and considered separate from the story is the image of an angel playing a musical instrument. It is a spectacular window at any time of day but especially when the sun is shining just right through the opalescent and painted glass. For this series of images, that perfect time was approximately 1pm on a sunny day.

La Farge’s early sketch can be found at the Boston Museum of Fine Arts, and the actual window is located on the south wall of Trinity Church located in Boston’s Copley Square.

Sources & Additional Reading

Trinity Church Tours

http://library.bc.edu/lafargeglass/exhibits/show/descriptions/all-saints/trinity-boston

Presentation of the Virgin

early sketch by La Farge

 

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Trinity Church in the City of Boston has produced a new guidebook that highlights and explores the art and architectural features of this historic gem. The 48-pages feature information about the principal makers of the building, its design and construction which primarily took place between 1872-1877, interior and exterior decorations, and much more. It is a visual treat with reproductions of original sketches, early watercolor paintings, as well as interior and exterior images by many fine local photographers. I am honored to have two photos in this book including this detail from John La Farge’s Purity stained glass window.

As noted at the end of the publication, the guidebook is dedicated to Edward Earl Duffy (1960-2012), a Trinity Church parishioner and tour guide who loved the building’s art and architectural legacy. The book is available for $11.95 in the church gift shop. Enjoy!

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detail from stained glass window christ preaching by john la farge (1883)

Christ Preaching is a three story clerestory window located on the west end of Trinity Church in the City of Boston.  Beautiful at any time of day, because of its location, it especially comes to life as the sun begins to set.

Sometimes when tourists enter Trinity the first words they literally ask is, “Are there any Tiffany windows here?” When they learn that the answer is no, they will shrug, albeit politely, and walk away. And I can only shake my head, knowing firsthand what they are walking away from.

Learn more …

http://trinitychurchboston.org/art-history/windows-slideshow

http://library.bc.edu/lafargeglass/exhibits/show/descriptions/all-saints/trinity-boston

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When I first photographed the John La Farge mural Christ Woman at the Well inside Trinity Church in the City of Boston it was late afternoon and I had a much simpler point and shoot camera. The photograph turned out just fine. As I progress as a photographer though it has been fun to revisit works photographed in the past. These photos were taken with a more advanced camera and in the light of the early morning sun shining onto the mural.

 

 

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Morning light falling on the north wall of the nave in Trinity Church in the City of Boston. It has been my pleasure to photograph the stained glass windows over the years but this particular morning I focused my camera on the decorative features of one wall.  Zooming in you can see the elegance of the design orchestrated by John La Farge. The ravages of time are present and so is the enduring beauty of an architectural masterpiece.

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Learn more about Trinity’s Art and History tours at trinitychurchboston.org/art-history/tours

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