Friday, April 20, 2012

April 18, 2012. Topeka, Kansas. Part 1 Of 3. First Presbyterian Church.

Wednesday morning,
the Hawthornes left Kansas City, Kansas,
with the intentions of driving across the state to Colorado.
I never plan these things exactly.
We have an idea of where to go and what to do each day,
but we're never tied down to anything specific.
That's the beauty of traveling "on the fly."
After getting about a quarter way through Kansas,
I noticed Dodge City, Kansas, in the Southwest,
so we adjusted our destination
for Dodge City, not Colorado.
Nothing's written etched stone.
The Hawthornes are Free Birds.

And that's how we ended up going through Topeka, Kansas.

I took out my trusty AAA books and started reading about Topeka.
And guess what.
There's a Presbyterian Church there that has Tiffany windows.
You know how Rosie loves her stained glass,
and when Louis Tiffany is involved,
I'm going to be there front and center.

 The First Presbyterian Church of Topeka
was organized in 1859 
and the present building was built in 1884.

"Sharing God's Love From the Heart of Topeka."

 A pre-school class was in attendance
and I had to get a picture of "Trouble."
If that ain't Trouble,
I don't know what is.

The Tiffany windows were installed in 1911
at a cost of $14,000.
Tiffany himself came to Topeka and planned
the windows for this sanctuary.

Favrile (meaning hand-crafted or hand-wrought)
 glass was an invention by Louis Tiffany's  glass company
and patented in 1894.
It is most often recognized for its
 uniquely beautiful iridescence and rich color saturation.
It differs from most iridescent glasses
because the color is embedded or ingrained in the glass itself.
It is a glass made without paint, stains, or enamels.

The colors were produced by using additives
such as copper, gold, magnesium, and cobalt.
The depth of color in these windows is extraordinary.
The colors are enhanced and enriched
by crinkling the surface texture.
Some of the glass is raised, almost three-dimensional,
serving to intensify the spiritual impact of the windows.

According to Tiffany:
"Favrile glass is distinguished by brilliant
or deeply toned colors, usually iridescent
like the wings of certain American butterflies,
the necks of pigeons and peacocks,
the wing covers of various beetles."

Favrile glass is highly sought after since it was
only produced for a short time,
between the years of 1883 and 1930.
Tiffany had hired Arthur Nash, an English glassblower,
to run his Corona, New York factory,
originally called the Tiffany Glass and Decorating Company,
later becoming Tiffany Furnaces in 1902.
It was actually Nash who developed the formula
for Favrile glass, which he never shared with anyone,
including Tiffany.
Leslie Hayden Nash, the son of Arthur Nash,
was invited by Tiffany to head up his glassmaking
operation in 1890.
Like his father, Leslie kept copious notes,
punctuating the recipes
with a soupcon of bitterness:
"Dont' let anyone ever tell you that
Louis C. Tiffany invented Favril glass.
I personally made it for over 25 years and he never 
saw the inside of the lab or even mentioned a chemical
to me.  And he did not know how to make luster (iridescent) glass."
Another handwritten note in the margins:
"LCT is nuts."
When production ended, 
Tiffany destroyed every formula for the glass' production.

Welcome to Topeka's First Presbyterian Church's
Windows of Comfort.

(An interesting moniker
since Tiffany's middle name was Comfort.)

By the way, that Rose Window,
located above the Chancel, is not a Tiffany.

There is no "ideal" time to view the windows,
As long as there's even a glimmer of light in the sky,
the windows continue to work their magic.
Each viewing, or journey,
will reveal something new in the windows,
something not seen before,
a nuance or subtlety that gives new meaning
to the scenes depicted.

From Make Me a Sanctuary from Helen Estey Macferran,
published in 1947:
"In terms of minds tense with troubles and anxieties, relaxed by their satisfying harmonies, of wearied spirits rested by their serene beauty, of souls inspired to greater heights, eights, their value is inestimable.  Their contribution to the life of this generation and of future generations can be expressed not in terms of money, but in terms of character.  Each window in its exquisite beauty is a sermon and a prayer as well as a treasured work of art."

Enjoy the windows.

Landscape window.

As the hart panteth after the water brooks,
so panteth my soul after thee, O God.
Psalm 42:1

The Call of Matthew

For I am not come to call the righteous,
 but sinners to repentance.
Matthew 9:13

Rabbi, we know that you are a teacher
come from God.
John 3:2

Christ blessing the little children.

Let the children come to me,
and do not hinder them;
for to such belongs the Kingdom of Heaven.
Matthew 19:14

The Ascension
(above the balcony)
Mere photographs don't do this justice
The lighting here was amazing.
It came through Jesus.

Then He led them out as far as Bethany,
and lifting up His hands He blessed them.
While He blessed, He parted from them,
and was carried up into heaven.
Luke 24: 50-51.

The Ascension.

Landscape window.

The Lord is my shepherd I shall not want;
 He maketh me lie down in green pastures.
He leadeth me beside still waters.
He restoreth my soul.
Psalm 23

God is Love and he that dwelleth in love
dwelleth in God and God in him.
John 4:16

The Baptism

This is my beloved Son
in whom I am well pleased.
Matthew 3:17

I loved the windows on each side
of the balcony stairs.

The medallion windows
consist of richly colored Favrile glass
and feature ecclesiastical symbols.

These windows are sometimes called "jeweled" windows
because of the pieces of cut glass used in them.
This style of window originated in the 13th century.


Marilyn said...


Anonymous said...

Beautiful...thanks for sharing.

Lea said...

Those are gorgeous! Love the balcony windows too. Stunning.

EAM said...

Nice post, Rosie, especially the background on LC Tiffany. Interesting how many churches (I've seen this myself) installed s/g windows from 1900-1914 or so. Sometime you should check out the windows in the church I grew up in, from the same period, including one in the Tiffany style.

Brian VanPelt said...

The First Presbyterian Church of Dodge City's current building was built in 1924, not 1884. The 1884 building was a wood frame building, not stone.

Rosie Hawthorne said...

Thank you for the correction, Mr. VanPelt.