Stained Glass

  • <p>The South Transept Window at Memorial Hall.</p> <p>A large transept featuring five panels of red, blue, and green shades of stained glass. One panel features a man in a suit of armor with a red cape, while another features a man standing on cobblestone in red clothing. The center panel features text written on a grey colored glass pane. </p>

Stained Glass

Memorial Hall has one of the largest collections of "secular" stained glass in the world. Installed between 1879-1902, the visuals represent both innovative and modern interpretations of stained glass art, as well as influences from traditional European styles.

  • <p>Veritas is pictured in the stain glass of Memorial Hall.</p> <p>Harvard's motto "veritas" is incorporated into an ornate stained glass window.</p>
  • <p>A close up image reveals a minute detail on the campus of Harvard University.</p> <p>A close up image of a red, green, yellow and beige stained glass panel, which reveals a minute detail on the campus of Harvard University.</p>
  • <p>Views of stained glass windows that read "Honor" and "Pax" respectively inside Annenberg Hall at the Memorial Church at Harvard University.</p> <p>An up-close view which features clear-colored flowers and a purple and red border.</p>

The installations were commissioned by the Harvard Corporation, a group of alumni responsible for design and fundraising for Memorial Hall. The group had strict criteria for their stained glass collection. Each piece needed to contain one or more upright lifesize figures, an ornamental panel or inscription on the ventilator panel below, a border or canopy, and finally, all figures should be typical or historical and prior to the time of Shakespeare. This last point has been the greatest area of flexibility; over time, the label "typical or historical" has expanded to include allegorical figures as well.

  • <p>"Cornelia, Mother of the Gracchi" was designed and manufactured by John La Farge in 1891.</p> <p>A colorful stained glass panel features a woman in a pink dress lounging on a sette. To her left, a woman and two children stand gazing at her. They are wearing yellow, blue, and green robes.</p>
  • <p>Views a stained glass window, "Athena Decorating Funerary Column", inside Sanders Theatre</p> <p>A stained glass window as viewed behind a staircase in Sanders Theatre. On the left half of the window is an ivory column, the bottom half smooth and the upper half fluted. It is topped by an Ionic capital, just below which is tied a long strip of blue cloth. On the right half of the window stands Athena, a symbol of Greek learning. Athena wears on her breast a gold ornament, and on her head a bronze Greek helmet with a plume, neckpiece, and cheekguards. She has her arms stretched out, with the right arm behind and somewhat above the left, so as to tie the knot of cloth. Inscribed in the lower border of the window are the words “IN MEMORY OF C C FELTON."</p>
  • <p>Artist John La Farge created this window of a classical warrior clad in a light-colored cuirass, striding toward the viewer’s left with his body and head turned back to encourage his followers in 1881.</p> <p>A colorful stained glass windo features a classical warrior in light-colored cuirass raising a sword toward the viewer's left. Toward the viewers right, his followers stand closely behind him with round, ornate shields in their hands.</p>
  • <p>An exterior view of John La Farge's work, "Battle Window."</p> <p>An exterior view of a stianed glass window depicting a battle scene. On the viewers right, a warrior wearing a rcuirass raises his arm in the air, beckoning his warriors to follow him.</p>

Multidisciplinary stained glass artist John La Farge is responsible for creating four of the window designs in Memorial Hall, as well as a window in Sanders Theatre. La Farge was one of the first to use the opalescent style of stained glass (seen here), a technique in which colors are mixed in streaks and swirls to create a milky, iridescent appearance. La Farge also used a technique called "plating" in which glass is layered to create texture and depth.

One of La Farge's panels is "Battle Window," which, unlike the other stained glass, depicts a continuous scene rather than one figure. This piece was a gift of the Class of 1860, which lost 12 classmates to the Civil War.

  • <p>"Honor and Peace" by artist Sarah Wyman Whitman, as seen in Memorial Hall.</p> <p>A stained glass window shows the human depiction of "Honor" ending forth an armed warrior into battle. On the right is “Peace” welcoming him in his civilian clothes with a wreath.</p>
  • <p>The Brimmer Window in the south transept of Memorial Hall, designed by artist Sarah Wyman Whitman.</p> <p>A large, ornate stained glass window is pictured from below, such that the ceiling is visible in the photos. The ceiling is decorated with large wooden archways and a brightly lit chandelier. </p>
  • <p>This detail of Sarah Wyman Whitman's glass shows four cherubs holding tablets that celebrate the heroic virtues of love, honor, courage, and patience.</p> <p>Two stained glass windows feature cherubs dressed in red and blue against a dark green background. They are holding scrolls which say amor (love) and honor. </p>

Boston artist Sarah Wyman Whitman, one of the only female glass artists of her time, is also featured in Memorial Hall's collection. Her allegorical "Honor and Peace" is a prominent wall in the main hall, and her largest piece, "The Martin Brimmer Memorial Window," is located in the south transept.

A painter-turned-trailblazing glass maker, Wyman Whitman studied with La Farge in the 1880s, opened her own studio, and became an innovator of American modern stained glass. Known also for her prolific book cover illustrations, she later founded the Society of Arts and Crafts, and co-founded both Radcliffe College and the School of the Museum of Fine Arts in order to promote equitable access to education for women and people of color. Three more of her window designs hang in the Radcliffe Institute.

  • Stained Glass