Monday, July 29, 2013

Church of the Covenant... and Tiffany

Nationally Significant as America's Largest
Tiffany - Decorated
Church Interior.
A unified expression of Tiffany’s highest form of ecclesiastical decoration.
No other matches the size, scope, complexity, integrity or originality.

The Tiffany windows at Church of the Covenant are integral elements of the stunning Tiffany church interior.  There are 42 Tiffany windows -- 22 ornamental windows in the clerestory and 20 figure windows throughout the sanctuary. 
They all include "opalescent" glass with its subtle tones and variations that eliminate the need for much painting and allow painterly effects.
Tiffany's technical contributions to the art of stained glass--his opalescent, drapery, twig, fabric, horizon, jewel and sunset glass--are all included in the windows of Church of the Covenant. As a landscape artist, Tiffany relied on talented designers for the figural memorials that churches demanded.
The windows here were created by Tiffany's finest designers: three by Edward P. Sperry, three by J. A. Holzer, and the rest by his most creative designer, Frederick Wilson. They were done in a variety of styles--in a linear, Pre-Raphaelite mode with Sperry; a flat, mosaic one with Holzer; and anything from classical to Art Nouveau with Wilson.

The Central Congregational Church laid the cornerstone for this new building in 1865.  It was one of the earliest of many extraordinary churches built after the landfill of the Back Bay was begun in the 1850's.  In 1932 the congregation federated with the First Presbyterian Church to create 
Church of the Covenant.
 In 1894 - 1896, the sanctuary was completely redecorated by Tiffany Glass & Decorating Company with complex paint schemes on the walls and ceilings, elaborate trusses and traceries, and entrance vestibule, a choir stall, a bronze lectern, a pulpit, pews, a baptismal font, glass mosaics, a huge art glass lantern and 42 large stained glass windows.


The windows represent the full scope of Tiffany's glass art as an integral part of a complete Tiffany church interior.  Designed by three of Tiffany's top designers, the 20 complex figures windows include at least nine types of
specialty glass and up to five layers that allow for creative, painterly effects.

In an area of Boston filled with cultural monuments and architectural splendor, Church of the Covenant is an architectural and artistic landmark which has been designated a
National Historic Landmark.

Church of the Covenant - Boston  Youtube video

 photos:Richard Bouchard
text credit: COC literature, & web design(s)

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