The Glass-Work of the Cathedral

by THE VERY REV WARREN LINCOLN ROGERS Dean of the Cathedral In Collaboration with the artists From the Cathedral publication One Hundred Years 1824-1924

IN GENERAL the scheme for all the stained glass-work in the Cathedral is based upon the thirteenth and fourteenth century glass of France and England. There are few “picture windows” and there is a minimum of “canopy work.” The amount of painting is reduced to the smallest proportions and the leads form an integral part of the whole and are treated with unusual care. There is generous use of medallions and panels. The aim of the architects, under whose Supervision the work has been done, has been adhered to in the attempt to combine the deep, rich and sonorous tones of the Chancel window with the brilliant, varied and opalescent colors of the Nave windows. The effort is made to develop the same spirit and craftsmanship in the glass as are evidenced in the fabric and furnishings of the Cathedral. A complete scheme for all the glasswork has been carefully wrought out which forms the basis of the subjects presented and the character of the work undertaken. The wisdom and effectiveness of this Scheme cannot be fully realized until the clerestory windows are placed and the present unsightly glare of the temporary windows is removed. By far the greatest amount of glass-work has been designed and executed by two types or schools of Stained Glass artists, both well-known and of high reputation, i.e., Heaton, Butler and Bayne, of London, and Charles J. Connick, of Boston. The chief exception to this is the Barbour window, which was formerly in the Chancel of Grace Church and was removed to Grace Chapel in the North Transept of the Cathedral. It was executed by Franz Mayer, of Munich, Bavaria, and is an unusual window of brilliant coloring and life-size figures, representing “The Visit of the Magi.” The Rose window over Grace Altar was originally the upper lancet of this group, and the whole represents some of the finest workmanship Of the Bavarian artists Practically all of the stained glass at present in the Chancel and Transepts together with the West Nave, comprising a dozen windows, is the work of Heaton Butler and Bayne. Among this number of small and large windows, the magnificent Chancel window, in memory of Mr. Theodore H. Eaton) Jr., who for twenty years served as Senior Warden, stands pre-eminent. The window is in five lancets, portraying scenes in the last week of the earthly life of Our Lord, and is known as the window of “The Passion.” There are four scenes in each lancet, making twenty presentations in all, revealing some of the best stained glass-work attainable in modern times, with the atmosphere of the fourteenth century felt in the small medallions and panels illumined with deep blues, purples, greens and suggestions of crimson in its powerful coloring. In the design and composition of the work, the artist has shown a reverent conception of the text, and the attitude and expression of the figures of Our Lord are marked by deep spiritual thought and feeling. The coloring is true to nature, and when the sun falls full upon it, as in the early morning hours, every detail of its beauty is revealed, in a resplendent glorification of The Passion. In fitting company with the Chancel window are the Clerestory windows, “The Angelic Choristers” memorials of the Mead and Kales families There is a brightness and beauty about them with their single figures, expressing reverent joyousness, which is instantly evident. The Cottrell window of “The Annunciation,” in the North Transept Clerestory, is appropriately in contrast with the deeper tones of the Chancel window; its translucency is remarkable for a north window through which the sun never shines. The Transept windows comprising the Farrington, Pitkin, Pierson-Lathrop Vernor, McCarroll and Turner memorials, though of more conventional design and composition, are beautiful and satisfying examples of the skill of the stained glass artist, and depict scenes in the lives of Our Lord and St. Paul. The Rose window in the west front of the Cathedral, with the figures of the Four Evangelists, and its tracery centering in a sunburst of gold, is glorious in the light of the afternoon sun, showing in its silvery colors “a rain of jewels from the sky.” Mr. Connick’s work in stained glass is noted for its brilliant colors, and wealth of symbolic art in the multiform representations of varied scenes expressed in one central theme, converging in a single figure. His windows are never picture windows, but are highly, symbolic with conventionalized backgrounds and abound in scriptural passages explanatory of the theme. There is a transparency about them which with their high coloring gives more than usual light in stained glass-work. Light, with richness and purity of full color, accompanied by a wealth of symbolic setting, are the characteristics which predominate. T’here are five Nave windows which were designed and made by Mr. Connick, the first of which is the Edwards’ window and symbolizes in beautiful form the devotion, courage and supreme sacrifice of the son of our former Dean. The subject, chosen from the twenty-first chapter of Revelation, recalls in poetic symbolism the close relationship of the Church to men, and its vivid inspiration for a life of courage and service. The distinguishing figure is “The Bride, the Holy City,” while the accompanying figures are those of St. John Evangelist, a father and a daughter, hopeful through sorrow, and the splendid figure of an armed knight with uplifted f-,ice in an attitude of devotion and self-surrender, with the words, “He that overcometh shall inherit all things.” The two Hannan windows are structurally different in design in that the lower halves of each lancet are made up of smaller medallions of many figures. The first shows Our Lord in his reception of the Syrophenician woman, and throughout carries the theme of the friendliness and loving kindness of Our Lord in his relation to men and women. The second is the children’s window, and has for its theme tile figure of Our Lord blessing little children suggesting His love and care for them. The figures and incidents are used as symbols rather than as pictures, and the conventionalized cities in the upper lancets suggest the happenings within and near their walls which reveal the intimate relations of life. The Illuminating inscriptions wi-ought into the designs introduce an interesting ornamental. feature, while they reveal, as inspired comments, familiar words of Scripture. The symbolic interpretation of the artist’s skill is more evident ill the Borgman and Fletcher windows which represent respectively apocalyptic scenes of “The Enthroned Christ ” and “St. Michael overcoming the Dragon.” These designs Interpret and symbolize, through the color and light of stained glass, which is one of the most significant and poetic traditions of the Middle Ages, certain unforgetable scenes and passages from the book of Revelation, replete with radiant victory and spiritual triumph.