I’m sure that it was the colors and patterns in stained-glass that first attracted me to them as a child. I enjoyed those hours in church when there was stained-glass to study. Pictures of the disciples, of Jesus carrying a lamb, and Paul’s conversion gave life to my Sunday School lessons. My grandmother’s quilts with their colors and patterns also kept me focused as I memorized their lines and etched their names on my memory.
This trio of stained glass panels are owned by the Museum of Fine Art in Houston, Texas and are displayed in their American Art exhibit. They were crafted in the Tiffany Studios in 1905. Per the display description,
At the turn of the 20th century, Tiffany Studios became renown for pioneering the use of opalescent glass in a range of luminous colors, patterns and textures that revolutionized the medium of stained-glass windows…This window was likely a specialy commission for a residence, where it would have been installed on a stair landing to let in changing color and light as the sun moved throughout the day.
The details are exquisite and reflect the craftmanship associated with the Tiffany Studios. I wondered if this commission was for installation in a new home or perhaps a gift from a husband to his wife and would love to know more of the story and see a picture of it in that house. I can just imagine an elegant woman with upswept hair in a soft Edwardian dress pausing with her hand on the newel post and admiring the light illuminating these delicate iris as she climbed the stairs.
I’ve always loved stained glass whether it is in a church or a public building. Just like with quilts it is the colors and shapes that pull my eyes to it. I don’t know which came first – my love of quilts or my love of stained glass. I see quilts in stained glass and I see stained glass in quilts!
On my recent trip I visited the (New) Mississippi State Capitol twice. The first time I did the self-guided tour and afterwards realized that I needed the guided tour to see everything, so I returned again at a time when I could catch the tour. I’m so glad I did because this building and its stained glass is something to behold!
This is the ceiling of one of the hallways. I knew I would fall on my face if I tried to walk while looking up, so I just stopped!
These three panels at the top of the Capitol’s main staircase recently were removed and underwent an extensive renovation. I vaguely remember seeing them on a previous visit to the Capitol in December 2002 and they were rather dull. They still caught my eye and I commented on them to my Dad and he agreed that they were quite impressive. There were a lot of people in the Capitol that day so I couldn’t get too close.
These three panels were designed by Louise Millet of Chicago and are located on the first landing of the grand staircase. They represent three iconic figures of the state: the American Indian, Mississippi, and the pioneer. They were hard to photograph because of their location, but I did get this detail of the pioneer – isn’t he still handsome after all these years?
It doesn’t matter if the colors are bright or subdued or if the subject is religious or modern. A room with stained glass seems peaceful, calm. The colors, the shapes, the subject, and the light seem to tell the viewer to be still, to contemplate, to reflect. No matter how many times you’ve looked at a piece you will always notice a little different detail each time.