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  • Writer's pictureBetty Girardeau

Stained Glass Part 2

Most of my thoughts yesterday about stained glass were pretty generalized and I realized after posting that I had said very little about how I came to love it. I think colored glass in any form has always had an appeal to me, from the green coca-cola bottles to the chips of colored glass in my sister's kaleidoscope. I grew up in a small town in up-state (really upstate) New York, 250 miles northwest of New York City, in fact. The golden age of this town was also the height of the Victorian period. Many of the fine homes built during that time in this village had some kind of stained glass as a part of their decor, though our house, which was built in 1852 did not. It had been remodeled and "modernized" in the 1920's and I have often wondered if some stained glass transom or something similar might have been removed at that time. But the stained glass that I can still remember in detail today was that in the gorgeous windows in the sanctuary of the First Methodist Church. Even the smaller windows were stained glass, but the eight large ones, four on each side, in the sanctuary captivated me. As a small child, easily bored by having to sit through what seemed like interminably long services every week, those windows helped keep me entertained. There were beautiful shaded purple grapes in the Wedding at Cana window. The shades of blues, lavenders, and greens in the Twenty-third Psalm window were perfectly done to give the viewer the sense of personal peace evoked by those verses. But my favorite was the Ascension of Christ window. The stained glass artist for this one did an amazing job of telling the story. The people below Christ as he ascends into heaven are a bit shadowed, except their faces, which are brightened by Christ, surrounded by angels, and who, quite literally, glows. The church is listed on the National Register of Historic places and it says that the windows were made by the famous Tifanny Stained Glass Company in New York. You can actually see what I am talking about by checking out this link:!1s0x89d94c3fe93c81fb%3A0x7e8bf260fd3c0b32!3m1!7e115!!5sFirst%20Methodist%20Church%20Ilion%20New%20York%20-%20Google%20Search!15sCgIgAQ&imagekey=!1e10!2sAF1QipNZxHezb0R3mgdQ2PzImlOMc_L5hZflVG2m3Z3C&hl=en&sa=X&ved=2ahUKEwjph-yg4sXrAhWkm-AKHZaxBFMQoiowE3oECBgQBg

I am still drawn to stained glass windows to this day. The modern one, shown in part with this blog, was in a small museum outside of Dingle Ireland, not the sort of place where I would have expected to find one. It's not particularly well done, and is even damaged, as you can see in this picture. But it did catch my eye enough to take several pictures of it. Actually Ireland was the home of another famous stained glass artist whose work I was able to see in one of the museums in Dublin when I visited in 2016. Harry Clarke's stained glass is not well-known outside of Ireland where he was born, though there is one of his in a museum in Miami, which I have not yet seen. Working in a later period than Tiffany, his windows are often more influenced by the Art Deco styles popular at that time. But his use of color, particularly blues and reds, definitely rivals anything done by Tiffany. If I were younger and considered building or decorating another house, I am pretty sure that I would have to include some stained glass in a window or two. Colored glass will always entrance me.

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