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Posts Tagged ‘stained glass windows’

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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 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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Dorcas is one of a set of two windows purchased by William Amory (1808-1888) in memory of his parents Thomas Coffin Amory (1767-1812) and Hannah Rowe Linzee Amory (1775-1845).

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Located in the north transept of Trinity Church in Copley Square, the window was installed between 1877-1878. According to the literature, both the Amory and Linzee families had long been associated with the parish which was found in 1733. Designed and executed by Burlison & Grylls of London, the window depicts the biblical figure of Dorcas, a woman of wealth, who aided those who were in need. In this case the artist shows Dorcas throwing a garment over someone beseeching her for aid.

 

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It is a beautifully rendered window full of drama and rich colorful detail. See for yourself when you have the chance: http://trinitychurchboston.org/visit/tours

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Today I was browsing the online archives of the Library of Congress and chanced upon this 1930s drawing by Katherine Lamb Tait. Though it is not labeled as such, I realized it was an early rendition of her design for the unique stained glass windows at Tuskegee University known as The Singing Window.

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About two years ago, I wrote an article describing the story behind the windows. You can read it online here in Deep South Magazine and learn how Tait collaborated with Robert Moton, President of Tuskegee, to produce what would be a visual expression of eleven spirituals.

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Installed in 1933, the original windows would only be in place for about twenty years before a fire destroyed the chapel where they were located. But because Tait’s final design survived …

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… when a new chapel was built in the 1960’s, architects were able to recreate and include the new Singing Window as well.

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I hope to see it in person one day. This photo of the window can be found on the Library of Congress website courtesy of photographer Carol M. Highsmith.

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The versatility of white: Postcards, t-shirt and ornament with details from David’s Charge to Solomon, a stained glass window by Edward Burne-Jones and William Morris paired with a silk chiffon scarf featuring swaying tree branches

It has been my pleasure over the past few years to work with Donna Stenwall, Manager of Visitor Services at Trinity Church in Boston. While I think I have a pretty good grasp of color, one of the things I continually learn from Donna is how to put those colors together to create “visual eye candy” on the shelves of the shop at Trinity. Having previously worked for Laura Ashley for 35 years, she has a command not only of color but of style. The vignettes that she puts together whether based on motif or, in these examples, on color, truly captivate the eye. As she says, “There is nothing worse than having a display that is so jarring to the eye that people don’t really know where to look!”

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Warm reds, pinks and gold: Boxed note cards featuring 19th century reproduction of a 15th century painting of the Madonna and Child paired with a ceramic ornament with dove motif from The Ascension stained glass window, with just a peek at the flowers from the window The Five Wise Virgins

Visit the shop at Trinity Church and you can see these colorful vignettes for yourself.

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Cool blues: A framed watercolor print of Trinity Church at night paired with an oval glass ornament of Jesus from the window The Resurrection by John La Farge and a blue-tinted card featuring an etching of Trinity Church by Henry Blaney

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