Connick Windows in Portland Oregon
|The images in this special color issue of
our newsletter hint of the great potential glories of ever-changing color
in light. The Connick Studio "painted with light" (Jonathan Fairbanks)
using a rich palette with the understanding that light, color and distance
are at the heart of all stained glass craftsmen's most important problems.
Bishop Benjamin D. Dagwell wrote Charles Connick on July
30, 1941: "I look forward to the day when we have some of your work in
our Oregon churches." Connick replied "Your letter of July 30 is most welcome,
and when you speak of the possibilities of my having windows in Oregon
churches, I am almost startled to recall that my only work in that state
is a series of small medallions [ships set in quarry background] in the Directors'
Room of the United States National Bank of Portland.
Gathering the often somber overcast moods of the Portland
weather, Connick stained glass transmits the tranquillity of divine wisdom
in their use of blue glass and the exuberant vitality of Divine Love in
their use of reds. (In medieval times red was recognized as the symbol
of divine love and passionate devotion, martyrdom and sacrifice. Blue became
the color significant of heavenly wisdom and eternal loyalty, truth and
contemplation. Green, the color of springtime, is the symbol of hope and
victory. White is the color of faith and peace; gold, the color of achievement
and treasures in heaven; while purple and violet suggests royalty, justice,
and in a sense, humility, suffering and penitence.)
Eight nave windows in Trinity Cathedral symbolize the
Beatitudes with medallions depicting incidents from the life of Christ
and his followers. Growing vine forms enrich the field and outline the
medallions, flowering in white fleur-de-lis of purity. The fields of the
medallions and the background of the vine pattern beautifully alternate
in ruby and blue, both colors serving most effectively as a foil for
lovely passages of gold, green and violet through which runs a uniting
thread of silver, as essential as the black lines of the sturdy leads.
(Orin E. Skinner, Connick Archive) This kneeling angel with green wings
complements the active field of color and design in the Eighth Beatitude
north aisle window (upper right illustration), "Blessed are they which
are persecuted for righteousness sake: for theirs is the kingdom of Heaven".
The principal medallion is St. John the Baptist in prison.
Many of the charming windows of St. Michael's and All
Angels Episcopal Church are arranged in two lancet sets with related themes
from the Old and New Testaments. The fourth window from the chancel on
the north side is devoted to Hosea, the Prophet of Love; and the parable
of the prodigal son. Hosea (lower right illustration) stands in an attitude
of compassion before a background of ruins from which grows a fruit tree
In the chancel window of Moreland Presbyterian Church
the central figure of Christ is attended by this Angel of Praise bearing
a trumpet (illustration on the left). The deep blue field is enriched with
stars and clouds with the surrounding border of grape vine suggesting the
unity of the church. The palette has been kept deep and richùthe
light garment of this angel is patterned and textured sufficiently to diffuse
the strong south light.
||This issue is in remembrance of Orin E. Skinner
whose work, wisdom and artistry continues to inspire Adventurers in Light
||Grateful thanks to Ian Justice who gifted The Connick
Foundation with the color slides used in this newsletter.
||Please address questions, comments and/or gifts to The
Charles J. Connick Stained Glass Foundation, 37 Walden Street, Newtonville,
MA 02460. (Please note that our zip code has changed to 02460.)
||The Orin E. Skinner Annual Lecture will be presented
Tuesday November 3rd at 6:30 pm, Rabb Lecture Hall, Boston Public Library,
Copley Square. Paul F. Norton's talk will include slides.
||The black and white photographs framing the announcement
of the lecture (over) are from the Connick Archives, Fine Arts Department,
courtesy of the Trustees, Boston Public Library
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.
The Orin E. Skinner Annual Lecture
Paul F. Norton, Professor Emeritus, University of Massachusetts
at Amherst, will be the Orin E. Skinner Annual Lecturer. The topic he has
chosen "Revelations from the Stained Glass of Rhode Island," derives from
an eight-year survey of all stained glass windows in churches and public
buildings of the state.
The Connick Studio (1912-1986) created windows in fifteen
Rhode Island communities from 1917 to 1980. Illustrated here is a Connick
Associates window in the Church of the Messiah, Providence, dating in 1960.
This uncommonly beautiful window displays a scene of the Good Samaritan.
Stong in color, yet gentle in sentiment, the window is typical of the high
quality maintained by the studio even after the death of Charles Connick.
Professor Norton's illustrated lecture will include a
discussion of kinds of glass, styles of design, effects of historic events,
and both the expected and unexpected subject matter in stained glass windows.
Our general understanding of stained glass will be enhanced by Professor
Norton's comprehensive survey, documentation and study of Rhode Island's
treasury of glass.
Sponsored by the Charles J. Connick Stained Glass Foundation
in cooperation with the Boston Public Library, the lecture will take place
on Tuesday, November 3, 1998, at 6:30 pm in Rabb Lecture Hall, Boston Public
Library, Copley Square, Boston. The lecture is free and open to the public.