Posts Tagged ‘William Morris’

I’m all about bringing nature indoors. That’s why its been such fun this winter to sip tea and to work with images in the public domain, as well as my own photography, to update my redbubble shop. I selected several artists whose works moved me personally and sorted through merchandise I would actually use. First up … William Morris.

I’m a fan of Morris’s bright, bold prints but I liked these for their unfinished quality and the softness of the colors. Very soothing to me. See what you think when you visit the shop.

And you can learn more about Morris via this Wikipedia page.

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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 …


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.


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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It has become an ongoing project to capture the angels amidst the green vines of the Edward Burne-Jones & William Morris windows at Trinity Church in the City of Boston. I’ve fallen a bit behind but now I’m back at it!



See for yourself at Trinity Church: http://trinitychurchboston.org/visit/tours

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In time for the holidays, at the gift shop located at Trinity Church in Copley Square, you will soon find items featuring one of the most striking and provocative images that I have ever taken … probably because the source of the image is so striking and provocative. I think of them as angels though they are harpists robed in white in one corner of the stained glass window, David’s Charge to Solomon, by Edward Burne-Jones and William Morris & Co.

Detail from David’s Charge to Solomon by Burne-Jones and Morris

The women stand in a gallery at the rear of King David’s throne as the aged King delivers his charge to young Prince Solomon, and resting upon the King’s knees are the plans of the future Temple that he will not live to see. The window was presented to Trinity Church in the City of Boston by Frederic Dexter in memory of his father George Minot Dexter (1802-1872). As described in an 1888 church description, “the design is considered especially appropriate as Mr. Dexter lived but just long enough to see the plans of the new church completed and the work begun.”

George Minot Dexter was member of a prominent New England family that traced its roots to England and Ireland. It was a family of farmers, merchants, ministers, doctors and politicians. Dexter would become an architect and civil engineer. In 1836, he was commissioned to design the houses for Boston’s Pemberton Square and all of the accompanying ironwork. Today, 1300 of his architectural drawings for 85 different projects can be found at the Boston Athenaeum, in a building he would help to erect between 1847-1849.

In 1863 Dexter, then senior warden of Trinity Church, would call upon Phillips Brooks. Brooks, the descendant of several New England families of note, was a young minister attracting great attention as he served a Philadelphia parish. The young minister was in demand by many parishes across the nation and Trinity Church was especially active in its attempt to acquire him. It would take six years, in 1869, before Brooks would accept the call.

The church at that time was located on Summer Street in downtown Boston. Forward thinking, Brooks determined that it was time for the church to move to a new location, Boston’s Back Bay. Land had been bought and a building committee had already been formed when Boston’s Great Fire of 1872 destroyed the Summer Street church.

Dexter served on the building committee that selected the design of architect Henry Hobson Richardson. The building, which revolutionized American architecture, would be constructed between 1872-1877. Dexter would not live to see the building’s consecration in February 1877. He died November 26, 1872.

In addition to what has been referred to as The Dexter Window, his service to his church is also featured on a wall tablet, with the inscription by Honorable Robert C. Winthrop. It is located in the North Transept. Winthrop refers to Dexter’s self-sacrificing nature and how he remained “active to the last in good works and particularly in his tender care for the interest of the living and the remains of the dead during the trying scenes which attended the burning of our old house of worship in Summer St …”

He refers to the fact that beneath the Summer Street church was a crypt with family vaults. That crypt was laid bare by the destruction of the building overhead. Dexter would tend to those remains until he lost his life.  In a letter to his friend Miss Mitchell, Phillips Brooks would write:

If you have the opportunity to tour Trinity Church, you’ll notice not only magnificent stained glass windows like David’s Charge to Solomon but also wonderfully decorated tablets with words that provide just a glimpse into the lives of people who considered that space their home. Well worth taking a moment to read. Enjoy!

Sources, Additional Reading and Opportunities

Trinity Church Art & History Tour Information

The Garden Square of Boston by Phebe S. Goodman


Life and Letters of Phillips Brooks

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I will not likely make my goal of photographing by Christmas day all eighteen Burne-Jones angels in the stained glass windows known as the Christmas Windows at Trinity Church in the City of Boston.  The logistics are just not going to work out.  But …

… it has been a delightful exercise.  As I review what I did accomplish, new ideas are forming.

I think I shall consider this attempt a “first draft.” We’ll see what unfolds in the new year. 😉

You can read more about this personal project here: https://wordsandimagesbycynthia.com/2015/11/02/as-for-those-angels/

You can view the gallery of angels here: https://photosbycynthia.smugmug.com/ArchitectureDesign/Burne-Jones-Angels/

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You can read more about this personal project here: https://wordsandimagesbycynthia.com/2015/11/02/as-for-those-angels/

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… they are Edward Burne-Jones angels.  Eighteen of them in a series of windows that are often referred to as the Christmas Windows, located inside Trinity Church in the City of Boston.  As I’ve written about before on this blog, these windows depict The Journey into Egypt, Worship of the Magi, and Wonder of the Shepherds.  The windows were designed by Burne-Jones and executed by William Morris in 1882.

Photographing these angels is very much a work in progress.  I’ve only captured eight so far and not all to my satisfaction.  British historian Fiona McCarthy once wrote what would Christmas be without a Burne-Jones angel.

Maybe that is the goal I can set for myself.  Before Christmas to have photographed all eighteen angels.  Wouldn’t that be something? We’ll see.  You know I’ll share if I succeed. 😉

Meanwhile, learn more about visiting Trinity Church and seeing the angels for yourself via this link: http://trinitychurchboston.org/art-history/tours

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Recently I learned of an image in stained glass also appearing in thread, both based on a design by Burne-Jones.  I couldn’t help but do a bit of digging and learned this:  the stained glass window, David’s Charge to Solomon, was first commissioned in memory of George Minot Dexter (1802-1872) by his son Frederic Dexter. It is located at Trinity Church in the City of Boston.  I’ve had the great pleasure of photographing details over the years.

The window was designed by Edward Burne-Jones, the color harmonies developed by William Morris and the window fabricated in the William Morris & Co studio.

The window was installed at Trinity Church in 1882 in an area known as the baptistry.

William Morris (1834-1896) and Edward Burne Jones (1833-1898)

William Morris (1834-1896) and Edward Burne Jones (1833-1898)

While Morris and Burne Jones would both pass away in the late 1890s, Morris & Co.’s design work and manufacturing would continue for decades at Merton Abbey, a village in Surrey, England where textile printing had taken place since the mid-19th Century.

Sir George Brookman c. 1920

Sir George Brookman c. 1920

While attending an exhibit at the 1900 Paris International Exhibition, and later visiting Merton Abbey in England, Australian mining magnate George Brookman saw Morris tapestries being custom woven for individual and corporate clients.  He also saw original designs, still being used, to reproduce artwork.  After seeing the Burne-Jones cartoon for David’s Charge to Solomon, he commissioned a tapestry to be made of that image.

Known as David giving Solomon directions for building of the Temple, the tapestry would be described as “a spacious and complex weaving of unusual size.  The soft, abundant reds beloved of the [Pre-Raphaelite] Brotherhood were in evidence.  Of especial beauty were the figures clad in silver-threaded armor.” Weavers were Walter Taylor, John Martin and Robert Ellis.

In 1920, Brookman sold the tapestry back to Morris & Co.  May Morris, the daughter of William Morris, would exhibit the tapestry along with other Merton Abbey works at the Detroit Society of Art and Crafts Exhibit.

May Morris (1862-1938)

May Morris (1862-1938)

excerpt from International Studio Magazine, 1922

excerpt from International Studio Magazine, 1922

Newspaper businessman, philanthropist and art benefactor George G. Booth and his wife, Ellen Scripps Booth, would purchase the tapestry to hang in Christ Church Cranbrook in Bloomfield Hills, Michigan, where I believe it still hangs to this day.

One design expressed in two different ways sharing one of the most influential stories in human history.

Sources/Additional Reading

Cranbrook Digital Archives

Details for comparison taken from David giving Solomon directions for building of the Temple, photograph by Jack Kausch, copyright Cranbrook Archives.

The William Morris Society in the United States


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Detail from David's Charge to Solomon Stained Glass Window, Trinity Church in Copley Square

Detail from David’s Charge to Solomon Stained Glass Window, Trinity Church in Copley Square, by Burne-Jones and William Morris

Returning to the Trinity Church Book Shop are items with a detail I photographed from David’s Charge to Solomon, a stained glass window located in the church’s baptistry.  The magnificent window was designed by Pre-Raphaelite artist Edward Burne-Jones and executed by William Morris Studios in 1882.  These “four angels” are located in the upper left corner of the window.  There they look down upon David, near the end of his days, as he instructs his son Solomon in how to move forward in life as a man and as a leader of his people.

Items currently available are magnets, mugs and postcards.  Coming soon are totes and t-shirts.  Visit the Shop to view these and many more lovely and thought provoking spiritual items at 206 Clarendon Street, Boston, in the heart of Copley Square.  Shipping is possible.  For more Book Shop information, click here.  And to see additional details from the window David’s Charge to Solomon, please check out images 25-32 here.  Better yet, if you’re in the area, take one of the excellent guided tours so that you can see the window firsthand. 😉

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The angel above represents Victory and the angel below represents Sorrow.

In the stained glass window (1878), designed by William Morris and executed by Edward Burne-Jones, the figure centered between these blue-winged angels is St. Catherine of Alexandria.  If you have a chance to research her story, you’ll understand why both sorrow and victory were paired.

The face of St. Catherine is that of Edith Liddell.  Her sister was the inspiration for Alice in the book, Alice in Wonderland.


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