Open main menu

Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 35.djvu/305

This page has been proofread, but needs to be validated.


change in value. The aƫrial perspective of a range of hills can be better produced in the glass itself by careful selection. We find, therefore, that in the best work produced to-day the modeling or pictorial effects arc produced in the glass itself, and only the face and hands are painted.

In this new glass we have the material for the most beautiful and the most enduring memorials that can be erected. In the memorial window in our church, perhaps near the very seat where the departed once sat, it seems as if memory had a perpetual and beautiful reminder of those who have gone before. The sunshine seems to intensify the beauty of the picture, and even on cloudy days it shines with only less splendor. Of all the things that have been made or formed, glass seems to be the most enduring. Only fire makes any impression on it, and a memorial window of good glass will be as bright as ever long after marble and brass have lost their legends.

A few years ago Mr. Louis C. Tiffany had his attention drawn to the possibilities of glass as a material for memorial windows, and he set himself to work to study the making of stained glass. The Tiffany Glass Company, of New York, was formed, and the wonderful advance in the art that has been described above is very largely due to its efforts. It is to this company we now owe most of the magnificent memorial windows that have been placed in the last few years in our churches. It is seldom that business and art are so successfully united as in the instance of this company. It is able to produce a window that gives greater satisfaction to those wishing to erect a memorial than the same expenditure in other directions. In consequence of its extended facilities and the greater demand for its work, the cost of each window is much less than formerly. The selection of the glass, and arrangement of colors for all work undertaken, is controlled by the most talented artists. Its cartoons are drawn by men whose merit and ability are universally acknowledged. All necessary painting is done by painters of national reputation. The best architectural advice is gained through association with an eminent member of that profession. It has surrounded itself by a corps of artisans, many of whom have received the best European schooling. It has succeeded in training and educating a far more intelligent class of men in its work than have been formerly engaged in the same art.

Recently, the Tiffany Glass Company has devoted much attention to Gothic windows of the more conventional style as employed by the English and other foreign workers. The result of its efforts in this direction has been considered eminently successful, by those who have hitherto favored European work. Windows made from purely ecclesiastical or Gothic designs by it and executed in glass of their own manufacture undoubtedly surpass, in depth and richness of color, the European work of this period, and certainly equal it in design. It is able, therefore, to make a window superior to the best examples of European art in a much shorter time and at a correspondingly low cost. Hence it secures many orders for work which was formerly executed abroad. The work that it has done represents not only the talent of many of the leading American painters of the day, but also many foreign masters of this period and the past.

It is now acknowledged that our American work surpasses in artistic value any that has been made since the thirteenth century. While much credit is due to our population, in consequence of its appreciation and encouragement, and much to individual artists, in consequence of their personal efforts, the Tiffany Glass Company is chiefly responsible for the gratifying results. The difficulties encountered during the first experi-