The Glimmer of Glass

Griffins & Shield window in Ambrose Hall

The Griffin was the mascot of the school. You’ll see it used often in the design of the windows. This window was in Ambrose Hall and was given by the class of 1907.

Oh, I do adore stained glass windows.  I think that’s partly why I long to work with the Czech glass beads of various types.  I like the gem like quality and wide diversity glass offers.  On our first visit to the Kemper Center was to tour the Durkee Mansion  the stained glass windows caught my eye then.  On our recent tour of the Kemper Center proper  I got to see them through out the center.  It was a tradition from the earliest classes to design, commission, and donate a window with the class motto to the center upon graduation.  Some windows in the campus chapel were donated as memorial or honors for individuals by families or groups.

The earliest windows were made in Germany.  I can’t imagine they were cheap to have made there and shipped here.  I’m sure the project took all senior year if not started in their junior year.  Later windows were made in England such as the Angel and Mary one.  Still not cheap I’d bet.  Then later ones than that were made here in the US.  I’m sure it was a be thing to have your class window come in and be installed.

We were lucky when we toured the center that it was very bright day.  The sunlight through these windows was amazing.  I can’t say the images did it justice but it gives you a good idea of how lovely these works of art are.

A lily window from the Red Cloister

Another common motif you’ll see in the windows is the lily. That is the emblem of the Sisters Order that ran the school. All the windows in the Red Cloister contained various stylizations of the lily theme.

Class of 1919's window in the chapel

Class of 1919’s window used both the griffin and the lily in the design. This window was in the Campus Chapel.

Chapel window of an angel

There were a few things I liked about this one. One was the portraits in the blue circles around the angel’s head. I love the subtle detail. Also notice the lilies in the design on his shoulder and at his feet.

Michael  who is like unto God written under the feet with lily motif below that

I made this one upon my husband Michael’s request. He is like unto God and wants me to remember that. Also look at the detail in this window, so lovely. At the bottom there are two styles of lilies a more renaissance style on the right and left with a medieval style in the middle. There were many more stunning windows in the Chapel. I do encourage you click on this or any other image in the post to surf my Flickr for them.

Class of 1900's window in the hallway

The hallway was lined with these beautiful windows. There 101 graduating classes so at least 101 windows. Then add in the various memorial and honoring ones and it was a delight! This one I just loved but then again I’m partial to purple and gold (my middle school’s colors).

red and gold themed window with a griffin featuring 1901

This is another hallway stunner. Class 1901 went with the griffin with reds and gold. They also put their motto in English instead of Latin.

An abstract design of circles and angles in red and gold.

When I saw this one I expected it to be from the 1920s when the Art Deco and Prairie (Frank Lloyd Wright) styles were becoming popular. No this window in the hall belonged to the class of 1897. Mike called it a connect the dots window. I was just surprised they opted for an abstract design. I have to admit I liked it and remembered it compared to the numerous griffins I saw. Though they were so early they couldn’t have been bucking a trend.

Window is done in red, white, and blue glass with a gold griffin and a gold cross.

Remember their outstanding chemistry lab built in 1894 that was the equal of Harvard’s lab? Well this was the featured stained glass window in that room. There is no note of class so I’m guessing it was either in memorial or honor of someone.

If you enjoyed these there are more on my Flickr just click any of these images to hop over there and they are grouped together to be paged through.

6 thoughts on “The Glimmer of Glass

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