Pegasus Medallion Connick Windows
Thoughts, news and comments concerning the art and craft of Connick Stained glass, published periodically by...

The Charles J. Connick Stained Glass Foundation, Ltd., Orin E. Skinner, Founder February, 2003
Directors and Officers
Theresa D.Cederholm    Peter Cormack (Honorary)    Judith G. Edington    Jonathan L.Fairbanks    Elizabeth B. Johnson     Marilyn B. Justice, President

JEWELS OF GRACE - The Connick Windows at Grace Cathedral, San Francisco
Michael D. Lampen, Archivist, Grace Cathedral
St. Nicholas of Myra
San Francisco's Grace Cathedral is the third largest Episcopal cathedral in the nation.  The Gothic-inspired concrete-and-steel building was built from 1927 to 1964 to a design by architect Lewis Hobart.  From the opening of the first cathedral unit, the Chapel of Grace, in 1930, to the installation of the last choir window in 1966, the Connick presence has been strong and steady.  Grace Cathedral contains some of Charles Connick's finest work: the Gospels windows in the Chapel of Grace, as well as the last window he ever designed; the Angels window in the cathedral choir.  Connick hoped to create all of Grace Cathedral's 67 windows (7290 square feet of glass), and prepared a named window plan, but at his death in 1945 the building was only half completed.  Changing tastes in the 1960s and 70s introduced new studios and new designers, notably Willet and Loire.  Yet Connick's 33 Grace Cathedral windows stand as a lasting monument to his vision, and to the continuity of that vision in the windows created by his studio during the decades following his death.

Charles Connick formed a close friendship with Dean J. Wilmer Gresham, first Dean of Grace Cathedral, who served from 1910 to 1939.  A poet, healer and something of a mystic, Gresham found similar qualities in Connick, and the Twenty Third Psalm window, a 1941 memorial to Dean Gresham's wife, is a Connick tour-de-force, one of the most beautiful windows in the Cathedral.  Connick's first Grace Cathedral windows, in the Chapel of Grace and adjacent Baptistry (1930), glow in medieval splendor, and were inspired by the windows of the Sainte Chapelle, Paris.  For the transept facades, Connick designed two huge windows - 23 feet wide by 45.5 feet tall - the New and Old Testament windows (1931,1932), their intricate tracery framing 200 glass units.  His ambitious choir series was the Nine Choirs of Angels, each double lancet soaring 41 feet.  Begun in 1931, the series was completed in 1966.  An intimate Chartres-inspired grisaille window graced the Chapel of the Nativity in 1936.  A Patriarchs and Prophets series begun in the transept clerestories was only half finished.  The Fruit of the Spirit series in the nave aisles, was almost half completed, its five completed windows covering the years 1934 to 1960.  A sixth (Fortitude, 1961) broke the theme.  Connick chose St. Francis' Canticle of the Sun for the cathedral's facade rose window, designed later in faceted glass by Gabriel Loire (1964).  The final Grace Cathedral window, a fused glass work by Narcissus Quagliata, was installed in 2000.

Storm damage to choir windows, caused by flying glass from a nearby apartment tower, brought Connick window repair to the attention of the cathedral authorities in 1995.  A restoration project was undertaken employing Reflection Studios of nearby Emeryville, and involved cleaning, restoration and releading of the exposed south-side choir windows.  The Connick windows at Grace Cathedral received national recognition in 1999 from the Save America's Treasures project of the National Trust for Historic Preservation.  The resulting support, combined with a munificent donation by Mrs. Nancy Hammon, made it possible to complete the choir project.  The tall windows now sparkle in the sunlight and the famous "Connick blues" glow with their full intensity.  The restoration is the first step towards ensuring that future generations will be inspired by Grace Cathedral's Connick windows, and will continue to recognize them as spiritual and artistic treasures; as jewels of grace.

Michael Lampen began at Grace Cathedral as a chorister in 1956. He has been the Cathedral's archivist since 1982 and is the authority on its history and sacred art. On Thursday, May 22, 2003 Michael Lampen and Dean Alan Jones will be giving a free evening lecture/tour/homily entitled "Creation, Prophecy, Brotherhood" which will be an in-depth look at the Canticle of the Sun window by Loire and the Old and New Testament windows by Connick. The lecture will be in Grace Cathedral from 6 to 7 pm. Interested persons will need to sign up with Mary Wood (415-749-6327) as the size of the group will be limited. Binoculars or opera glasses are highly recommended.

Design for Emily Gresham memorial window in lower East wall of South Transept - Grace Cathedral, San Francisco, California. Photograph from the Connick Collection, Fine Arts Department, courtesy of the Trustees, Boston Public Library 

Annemarie Sawkins, Associate Curator of the Patrick and Beatrice Haggerty Museum of Art, Marquette University, Milwaukee, will present a paper on the Connick windows in Joan of Arc Chapel (Marquette University) at the 23rd Canadian Conference of Medieval Art Historians at the University of Manitoba, Winnipeg, March 20-22, 2003.

St. George of Cappadocia
The Coronation of the Virgin in
Heaven. One of fifteen of the
medallions in the series of five
windows devoted to the Mysteries of
the Rosary Church of Saint Mary of
Redford, Detroit, Michigan.
Photograph courtesy of the Trustees
of the Boston Public Library.
The Gallery at the American Bible Society Presents

Reflections on Glass: 20th Century Stained Glass in American Art and Architecture

Coronation of the Virgin, a stained glass medallion (1927) by the Connick Studio is part of this eclectic, diverse exhibition, curated by Dr. Virginia Raguin.  When Charles Connick was especially pleased with a work, he would have the studio also make a selected portion of the window to have as a portable record and to be used for exhibitions that the studio organized to educate people about stained glass.  A Connick Studio record book of exhibitions shows that Coronation of the Virgin panel was exhibited also at the Boston Athenaeum in 1927; Architectural League of New York, 1927; Currie Gallery of Art, Manchester, NH, 1947 and University of New Hampshire, 1948.

The original piece, Coronation of the Virgin, is one of a series of 15 medallions made for Saint Mary of Redford, in Detroit, Michigan, a church designed by Cram and Ferguson.  The panel in the American Bible Society exhibition is on loan from the Boston Public Library's Connick Collection.  The exhibition is free and open to the public at the American Bible Society's Gallery, 1865 Broadway (at 61st Street), New York City from December 13, 2002 until March 16, 2003.  The current exhibition follows Glory in Glass: Stained Glass in the United States, Origins, Variety, and Preservation which was also curated by Dr. Virginia Raguin at the American Bible Society during the winter of 1998-99.  A catalogue is available as part of the current exhibition and can be purchased by calling 1800 322 4253. The catalogue item is 112836 and is $35.00.

Connick Windows

"I want to make beautiful interiors for both churches and souls

I want...[all people] to hear my windows singing..."

Charles J. Connick

One definition of Window is "a means of obtaining information". Our newsletter will keep you informed of the Foundation's activities, the Connick
Collection in the Fine Arts Department of the Boston Public Library, and Connick news around the country.

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