Julie L. Sloan

Newport Congregational Church - Newport, Rhode Island

In the Spring of 1996, Julie Sloan was retained to do a complete condition report on the twenty stained glass windows by John La Farge (1835-1910) that adorn the Newport Congregational Church, located at the corner of Spring and Pelham Streets in that historic city. This small, unassuming brownstone building houses the only complete interior decorating scheme by the famous artist; not only did he design the stained glass windows, he also painted ornate murals on the walls and ceiling.

(Excerpts from "Condition Study")

Design

The windows are some of La Farge's earliest, dating to 1880. Completely decorative and non-figural, they are on first impression simple in design; based on Islamic tilework, however, the geometric patterns are both rich and subtle. On deeper inspection, the windows are technically very complex and fascinating, demonstrating La Farge's facility and innovation with a new material - opalescent glass - while showcasing an abundant diversity of glass types and decoration. The following is an excerpt from Julie Sloan's condition study describing the historical background of the windows.

John La Farge and the Newport Congregational Church Windows

History

The stained glass windows of the Newport Congregational Church were designed by John La Farge in 1880, along with the mural decoration of the church. Although most discussion of the commission in the literature on La Farge deals primarily with the murals, the windows are equally important artistic statements and are invaluable both to decoration of the church as a whole and to La Farge's oeuvre.

The windows on the north side were damaged in a hailstorm in 1894, when they were repaired by a Providence glazing firm, although La Farge had submitted a proposal to undertake their repair. They have been repaired several times since then, the most recent repairs having been completed within the last fifteen years. Some of the windows may have been moved as well. These repairs have compromised both the artistic importance of the windows and their structural stability.

John La Farge is recognized as the first American stained glass artist to use opalescent glass. Using a material long available as tableware, he was the first artist to adapt it to use in stained glass windows, obtaining a patent for the process in February, 1880. 1 This revolutionized the appearance and practice of stained glass in the United States and set off a boom in the popularity of this medieval medium that surpassed its use in the Middle Ages.

La Farge's first forays into the design of stained glass were made in the mid-1870s. His first window commission came in 1874 from Harvard University alumni who desired a commemorative window for the newly constructed Memorial Hall. This window, called the "Chevalier Bayard," he attempted to make in antique and cathedral glass, the only type of glass then available. 2 In order to obtain color effects not found in the glass itself, he instructed his craftsmen to layer, or plate, the glass. 3 The result was far more expensive than the Harvard group wanted and they rejected the window. La Farge himself considered it "little more than a botch," 4 but was encouraged by the plating technique. 5 It was while working on a major commission to paint the interior of H.H. Richardson's Trinity Church in Boston, completed in 1877, that La Farge was struck with the unusual idea to use glass intended for other purposes - namely, tableware - in stained glass windows. The idea came to him when he happened to notice the sunlight strike a toiletry article made of opalescent glass that was on his dressing table. He turned to manufacturers of opalescent tableware in Brooklyn to produce the same glass in sheets for him, and created his first window with it in 1879, for the home of Richard Derby. Pleased with the results, from this point on La Farge used opalescent glass to great effect in his subsequent windows, even removing one window, the "Battle," from Harvard's Memorial Hall at his own expense to rebuild it in opalescent glass. 6

According to the records of the Newport Congregational Church, 7 La Farge was retained in the last half of 1879 to make stained glass windows and decorate the interior of the 1857 edifice. The decision to replace the stained glass windows and decorate the interior was first recorded on May 19, 1879. 8 The first reference to La Farge was on July 12 of the same year, at which time the church had a proposal from the artist with cost estimates. Here the windows were estimated at $500, barely 20% of the projected total cost of $2350. 9 On July 14, an appeal for funds was issued stating that La Farge's services had been "secured." 10 However, subsequent minutes on November 22, 1879, suggest that a contract with artist had not yet been signed, since the committee requested of La Farge what appears to be a revised proposal to execute the work for $2000, 11 despite the fact that a Treasurer's Report on November 5 stated that $3578 had been pledged, of which $2702 had actually been collected. 12 It appears that La Farge did not revise his estimate, however, since the Committee voted to appropriate $2300 for his work on December 5, 1879. 13 ( La Farge later recalled that he was paid $3500 for his work, 14 although an unlocated church Treasurer's report was cited as recording payments totally $2195. 15 ) Unfortunately, none of La Farge's proposals nor the contract have been located.

The final date of completion of the windows is not known. Local newspaper accounts in May and June of 1880 state the church was almost ready for use, 16 although by June 12, the windows were not entirely completed. It appears that at least two of the windows, or parts of them, were not installed until after October 1881, when La Farge exhibited them at the Boston Museum of Fine Arts, along with "Peonies Blown in the Wind," purchased by Henry G. Marquand for his Newport house and now in the collection of the Metropolitan Museum of Art. A newspaper review of the exhibition described "small" pieces of "conventional designs.... one in amber tints, and another in very pale blue... designed for a church in Newport." 17 Although La Farge had another church commission in Newport at the same period, the Channing Memorial Church, none of its windows fit this description, being entirely figural. What is not clear is whether both lancets of each window were displayed, or only one; the reference in the article is to "one" of each color, which we believe can be interpreted as meaning one lancet. The use of the term "small" further supports this assumption: the Newport lancets are each 51" tall by 13" wide. Two of them together, presumably in some kind of a frame, would have made an exhibit probably almost 5' tall and more than 2' wide - if displayed as they are placed in the church, this would have been closer to 4' wide. The "Peonies," by comparison, was over 6' tall (75", to be exact) and 45" wide; although taller, their widths might have been similar and so the Newport windows would not have appeared so much smaller than the "Peonies."

Costs

The exhibition of two windows in Boston in 1881 is of additional interest regarding the costs: the $2195 figure related by the as-yet-unlocated Treasurer's report of July, 1880, may not be the final payment to La Farge. If two windows were not installed until the end of 1881, it is more than likely that final payment was withheld until then. However, there is no further mention of La Farge or the windows in records until they were damaged in the hailstorm of 1894.

Whatever the figure between $2195 and $3500, this is an extraordinarily low price for both windows and murals. As mentioned earlier, La Farge allotted $500 of the total $2350 proposal for the design and manufacture of the windows. This is an extraordinarily low figure for twenty windows comprising approximately 420 square feet. It extrapolates to about $1.19 per square foot. This cost is comparable to decorative art glass prices of the period, and reflects the windows' decorative, rather than figural, designs, which translated into less work in fabrication. Furthermore, the repetition of designs cut down on design time - for 20 windows there are only eleven designs, and one of these was not designed by La Farge, but merely renovated. This is at odds with the statement written at the time the decoration was completed that there were twenty designs. 18 Details of their construction, such as the use of only one size of lead came, also point to their low cost. By contrast, the Baker Memorial for the Channing Memorial Church, several blocks away and commissioned at the same time (although not completed until late 1882), was $6500. 19 That window is a major figural composition of about 264 square feet. The cost extrapolates to $24.24 per square foot.

What is particularly fascinating about the windows in light of their low cost are the glasses and techniques used in their fabrication, and the care with which La Farge designed them to control the light in the building.

When the Congregational Church commissioned the windows from La Farge, they forbade him "from using any ornament not becoming a Congregational church." 20 This meant, he said, that he could not "refer to ecclesiastical tradition," which included Roman Catholic, Anglican, and Episcopal traditional decoration, such as saints, martyrs, figures of any kind, crosses, or other symbols viewed by Congregationalists and other similar American Protestant denominations as idolatrous. As a result, he said, "For real decoration I depended upon my windows..." 21 The windows continued the mural decoration, in spirit as well as in form. But more importantly, they controlled the light under which the murals could be viewed and gave him free rein to fully employ his sophisticated understanding of the effects of light and color on one another, and on his mural decoration. La Farge said, "On the south side there was too much glare. This needed to be softened, at the same time I was warned not to lose too much light. The two sides inevitably had to be treated differently." 22 At the same time he wanted the windows to enhance the colors and tones of the murals and the architecture of the building:

"I have endeavored to dwell on the ornament as it enforced the construction.... The perpendicular lines of the chancel corresponded to the lines of the panels made by the windows as seen above the dado. So in treating the windows, as I have described, I only repeated the decorative lines of the chancel.... I think some part of the window should be united in appearance with the wall, so that it shall have structural look as part of the wall."  23

Continuing the concept of stained glass as a structural element, he considered the painting of the "embrasures" or window surrounds to be part of the window design. This is a fascinating concept, and quite revolutionary in stained glass design of the time. Although decorative (i.e., non-figural) windows were common in this period, they were usually considered temporary, to be replaced when figural windows were donated by parishioners. Decorative windows that were permanent were not usually designed with this depth of consideration for design and architecture, and least of all to connect them to wall ornament. On the contrary, they were either meant to be so bland and unobtrusive as to be invisible, or they were designed independently of the architecture and decoration and so were no different in purpose than a painting hanging on the wall. The idea that stained glass was an architectural element to enhance and harmonize with the architecture was a concept that would gain currency only some thirty years later, in the work of Frank Lloyd Wright.

In Trinity Church, Boston, La Farge had earlier explored and advocated the artistic value of stained glass in neutral tones touched with deep and brilliant color as companions to elaborate mural work. In 1877, he designed a set of decorative windows in the tower and a grisaille window for the nave. He wrote to the architect, H. H. Richardson, about the importance of the quality of light on his murals, and stridently objected to Rector Phillips Brooks' purchase of figural windows for the chancel. His views were ultimately unheeded; although the decorative windows remain in the tower, the grisaille window was replaced and eventually lost. In the Congregational Church he relished the opportunity to do exactly what he had wanted to at Trinity, to design windows to control the light under which his murals would be seen to their best effect while at the same time creating a harmonious composition of the whole interior. This was probably his motive behind accepting (or submitting) the low price for the entire project. 24

The design of the windows is also very unusual and of critical importance to the understanding of the overall decoration of the church. At the present time, this understanding is somewhat obscured by the probability that the windows on the aisle level may not be in their original locations, as well as by repairs. The designs are based on Moorish, Persian, and Byzantine tile patterns. La Farge spoke of the colors of the windows and the importance of its role in controlling the light entering the church:

"On the south side there was too much glare. This needed to be softened, at the same time I was warned not to lose too much light. The two sides inevitably had to be treated differently. On the south side I used blue, very solid blue glass, mingled with some neutral tints. But on the north side, where the light was all needed, I used a little blue to recall the impression of the windows of the opposite side, a little green and a large quantity of transparent glass of neutral tint."  25

The balcony windows, being the largest, were undoubtedly of the greatest concern in controlling the light of the building. The "very solid blue glass" used in four bays of the south windows is an opaque glass more commonly used in tableware. The pieces are, in fact, mold-blown - this was a process used to manufacture flint glass objects in which the hot glass is blown into a mold that shapes the object. La Farge incorporated the mold marks into the design of the window, setting the pieces with the seam diagonally in the square pieces. At the center of each piece is the pontil or punty mark, where the blow-pipe was attached to the mass of glass. The turquoise color of the south balcony windows is typical of tile work in the great and famous mosques such as the Blue Mosque in Istanbul, or the windows of the Dome of the Rock in Jerusalem, from which La Farge himself owned a piece of glass compared to his 1880 "Peonies" window. 26

The white glass used in these four windows is also very dense and opaque. It is decorated with an opaque gold paint, meant to be seen in reflected light rather than in transmitted light. The narrow borders between these two principle colors are a dense, deep raspberry-purple. The intent and effect of these three glasses was to create windows with a great deal of reflected color, which also blocked the glare from the south side.

The center window in the south balcony is of the same pattern as the two outer windows on the north side. In daylight, however, this window appears to be green, while the northern windows look white. But in reflected light, the window is white. The green color is imparted by green glass plated on the exterior of the window, leaving the blue and red floral bosses between the larger white quarries without plating, since they were dark enough to block light. The green plating was probably selected to blend with the green wall color originally used. The border of this window is dark gold, rather than opalescent white, which also works to eliminate the glare.

On the north side, where more light was required, the patterns are complex, but the ornate patterning is accomplished with paint rather than glass. The glass used is predominantly whitish in tone, with touches of turquoise. The glasses selected are translucent opalescents, less dense than those found in the south side.

Technical Issues

La Farge maintained that the glass used in the Congregational Church was unique and irreplaceable. Although he characterized the glass as "cheap," this did not indicate displeasure on his part. On the contrary, he was very pleased with it, saying that he "never used cheap glass more successfully." 27 He also maintained that he "couldn't do it again," that is, make the windows, because such glass was no longer available. 28 This claim was repeated after the hailstorm of 1894 that damaged the windows on the north side. In 1907, a local newspaper stated that the damaged windows "were replaced, not, however, in the original designs and colors, as it was found impossible to do this." 29

It is important to put this point in its historical context. La Farge first said it in 1887, seven years after the completion of the church, at a time when the American glass industry was experiencing tremendous expansion and stabilization that enabled glass makers to produce not only many more types and colors of glass than ever before, but, more importantly, to reliably reproduce those types and colors. By 1894, when the windows were repaired, it is likely that matching glass could have been made, but it would have probably required some experimentation and custom manufacture, which would have been expensive. Therefore, the impossibility was probably monetarily created, rather than technically, which is supported by the more than 100% difference between La Farge's cost of $500 to repair the windows and the low bid of $212 by the Providence Metallic Setting Company, 30 a firm whose stained glass expertise did not approach La Farge's.

However, from La Farge's artistic point of view, the claim of irreplaceability was entirely accurate, and it is on this level that the artistic and technical virtues of the windows lie. In 1880, La Farge was approaching the end of a period of experimentation with glass, a lively time during which he explored the properties and potential of opalescent glass in stained glass windows, spending hours in the glassmakers' furnaces learning from them, suggesting to them the effects he wanted to achieve, and obtaining unique specimens. These specimens, to which he attached great artistic value, were unique because they were the result of accidents, and it would require several more years of experimentation on the part of the glassmakers themselves before they could reliably reproduce the same glasses. These one-of-a-kind sheets of opalescent and colored glass La Farge turned into the Derby window, the Battle Window, the first "Peonies Blown in the Wind," and the windows for the Cornelius Vanderbilt II house in New York (1881). Several of the glasses used in the Congregational Church windows are similar to those found in these and other windows of this 1879-1881 period.

By mid-1881, La Farge's access to the glassmakers would be somewhat curtailed by Louis Comfort Tiffany, who entered into an exclusive contract with a manufacturer who also made glass for La Farge. 31 Although La Farge never commented on Tiffany's actions, it was around this time that his cordial relationship with the other glass artist deteriorated into bitter acrimony. In addition, the glass business had changed dramatically and several of the furnaces disappear from the records or their proprietors moved and joined with others, thereby probably changing their products. La Farge's own business changed dramatically between 1880 and 1887, moving from a single artist working with craftsmen, to a partnership, to a corporation, and back to the single artist in a spectacular and ruinous path. 32 Thus, from the remove of 1887, La Farge could look back on the period of 1880-1881 with the certain knowledge that because he would never again have the opportunity to stand at the glassmaker's elbow while the glass was made, the Congregational Church's windows were in fact not only unique, but had become irreplaceable.

The most unusual glass in the Congregational Church windows is the turquoise pressed glass in the south balcony windows. In our experience, this glass is unique, although La Farge may have used it in the "Peonies Blown in the Wind" made for the Cornelius Vanderbilt II house in New York in 1881. (That window is lost and known only through period etchings. However, its border is drawn as square pieces with a single dot in the center, similar in appearance to the turquoise squares with the punty mark in their centers.) It is highly probable that this glass was made specifically for La Farge's use, since it does not appear in any other artist's work. The color is a flint-glass, or tableware, color popular at the time. It is possible that the glass itself, or the recipe, or even the batch (the dry ingredients to be melted down to make the glass) came from England, where the flintware firm of Sowerby's Ellison Glassworks created a dense, bright turquoise glass, called Vitro-porcelain, for pressed and blown ware, in 1877 and distributed it to the United States and Canada beginning in 1880. 33

Other rare glasses include pieces of spun roundels. While it may be theoretically possible to reproduce the colors of these pieces - which purple-and-white, deep mossy green, and deep amber, respectively - it would be impossible to blow and spin the roundels to recreate the pattern of colors exactly.

Another unusual glass that La Farge used only in very small pieces is a striped red-and-white antique glass. This glass was not unique to La Farge; similar glass may be seen in the dining room windows of Kingscote, on Bellevue Avenue in Newport, for example, which were not made by La Farge. The color was an English product, sometimes called "rotten ruby" by British glassmakers, and was one of the glasses whose recipe and method of manufacture was rediscovered by Charles Winston in his 1853-1859 experiments conducted with the help of James Powell & Sons glassmakers of Whitefriars, London. 34 The glass was rare in the United States and used only in the most valuable commissions in the late 1870s and early 1880s. La Farge used it only sparingly himself. It is no longer made today.

Perhaps the most important glasses in the Congregational Church windows are the white opalescents. There are a variety of tones of these, ranging from the most opal-like, which has glints of orangey red and deep blue in certain lights, very much like the fire of the gemstone opal; to nacreous pinkish glass. In the south balcony windows, two different types of white were used, a denser color for the painted pieces and more opaline one for the unpainted bands. It is significant that these most opalescent whites were not heavily painted.

Preserving Paint

Another fascinating aspect of the Congregational Church's windows is La Farge's extensive use of paint in the balcony windows. Paint on glass has traditionally served two purposes: to delineate imagery, and to control light. In the Congregational Church windows, where the imagery is less important, La Farge felt that the control of light was paramount. 35

On the north balcony windows, especially in the three in the center, every piece of glass except the borders is painted. The painted patterns are executed in browns of varying density and hue, highlighted with small touches of transparent golden yellow created by silver stain. The overall design is created by the lead lines, which are darker than the painted lines. The paint serves to bring all of the glass to the same tone, while preserving the individual colors of the pale turquoise, beige and creamy white glass. It softens the light by scattering it and turns the windows into diaphanous screens. The grisaille window designed for Trinity Church was said to have been treated similarly, made with "a little cheap glass and some brown paint," to accomplish a similar purpose, to be "at once rich and subdued, neither falling behind the general scheme nor standing apart from it." 36 This was the traditional purpose of grisaille windows, and it may assumed that La Farge's goal was to treat the north windows in the Congregational Church the same way.

In the south balcony, where the light was stronger, La Farge selected very dense glasses for the windows and painted them with metallic gold paint. The effect of metallic gold is negligible in transmitted light; the paint has a mottled brownish appearance which is undistinguished. The real strength of gold paint is in reflected light. The glasses chosen for these windows work that way as well: the dense turquoise becomes dark and somewhat murky in transmitted light, but is light and brilliant in reflected light. These windows were clearly meant to be seen at their best in the reflected light of the organ loft windows, which were not done by La Farge and which contained either clear glass, like those in the towers, or pale colored glass like what is there now (the organ loft was not enclosed at time and probably admitted a great deal of daylight from the west).

Repair

On July 14, 1894, the windows on the north side of the church, and probably to some extent those on the south side as well, were badly damaged in freak hailstorm that in the span of eight minutes wreaked unprecedented havoc on downtown Newport. The northern and western facades of many buildings in the area suffered extensive damage by hailstones as large as two to three inches in diameter. La Farge's windows in the Congregational Church were described as being "badly riddled, and a large number of small glasses and several of the leads in which the glasses are set must be replaced." 37 The force of the winds was so great that the same article, describing general destruction in the town, reported "that glass was driven across the largest rooms with startling force." 38 One story reported a piece of glass "firmly embedded in a door fully fifteen feet from the nearest window." 39 A scientific study of the storm related that "stones were shot nearly horizontally with extraordinary impetuosity... . Not infrequently the stones were forced through the window, across the room, and out at the opposite window." 40 These reports suggest that it is possible that windows on the south side of the church may have been damaged as well, although there is no reference to repairs on the south side in the church's records.

Other articles described buildings in the besieged areas as looking like they had been attacked by Gatling guns. 41 While all the articles covering the storm noted that glass suffered the worst damage of any material, many noted that churches were most severely hit, leading one writer to wryly note that although "it was said that there were some very sudden manifestations of religion during the eight minutes... [i]t is very difficult to estimate the exact value of the prayers which were offered, because there remains the somewhat stubborn fact that the churches suffered as much as the other buildings, and that dozens of stained glass windows... look to-day as if they had been riddled with a thousand shot." 42

In the wake of the storm, the city experienced an influx of glaziers from all over the state and as far away as Boston. Stocks of window glass were rapidly depleted and more had to be shipped from New York and Boston to meet the demand. Within the week articles warned of thieves disguised as glaziers and of grossly inflated prices. 43 By the end of the month, the local newspaper reported that the rush to repair windows had abated and that "the signs of broken windows on about all the principal streets have disappeared." 44

The greatest dilemma in assessing the artistic purpose and value of the Congregational Church windows is determining which windows, or parts of windows, are original. There is no documentary consensus about the extent of repairs made after the storm. The church records state only that by July 23, bids to repair the damage were received from four contractors, including La Farge. The artist's bid was highest; at $500, it was almost twice as high as the next lowest. The other three bidders were Continental Sash Company, at $283; West & Co. of Boston, at $235; and [Providence] Metallic Setting Co. at $212. 45 The church hired the low bidder, the Providence Metallic Setting Co. to repair the windows "on the north side, tower and front of the Church for the sum of two hundred dollars." 46 There has been no other record located describing the extent of the damage, nor do these bids seem to survive. The repairs were completed by December 1, 1894, when the committee voted to pay the contractor. 47

Later references to this damage range from the circumspect to the extreme, increasing in magnitude with time. An 1896 monograph on La Farge stated only that they were "injured" and "patched by some village practitioner," without any indication of how extensive the damage was. 48 In 1907, a local newspaper article stated that "many of the windows on the north side were broken and were replaced." 49 By 1974, it was believed that they had been almost completed destroyed leaving only the tracery intact, with the possible exception of two balcony Windows. 50 This has led to modern assumptions that the windows are to a great degree no longer La Farge's.

In addition to the repairs of 1894, the church records indicate that repairs were contemplated on at least two other times, although once again, it is not specified on which windows this repair, if any occurred. A major campaign was mounted in 1917. Church records indicate that repairs were required because "small pieces of glass are becoming loosened and most of the windows will need extensive repair." 51 A history of the church records that $3000 was raised for this project and for repair of the organ, 52 but it is not known whether work was actually done at this time.

Further references to windows needing repair occur in 1947. A hand-written report dated February 6, 1947, states that "all lead glass needs repair, some windows breaking up." 53 In addition to the sanctuary windows, this report states that the tower and organ loft windows are also in poor repair. (These were not by La Farge.) It is not known whether these repairs were carried out at this time. In 1949, extensive work was proposed for the murals, and a letter dated October 7, 1949, from the pastor to the congregation states that "the window frames are watertight." 54 This does not necessarily indicate that repairs were made to the leaded glass.

Finally, in the late 1980s, work was done on the center organ loft windows. Since these were inaccessible for investigation and no written record has been located, we cannot describe what that work was. However, photographs of the window being removed (or reinstalled) and of the openings boarded up are presently on view in the rear of the sanctuary.

This checkered repair history has led to confusion about the originality of the northern windows. A common misunderstanding about La Farge's use of glass paint may be the reason for some scholars' belief that all of the northern balcony windows were replaced. While there are many repairs in the north side, it is our belief that what is presently extant represents a majority of the original glass in at least four windows.

After careful study and comparison of the north balcony windows, we feel that approximately 55-60% of the north balcony windows are original La Farge glass, and that approximately 80% of the aisle windows are original.

1 John La Farge, "Colored-Glass Window," Patent No. 224,831, filed November 10, 1879, granted February 24, 1880, United States Patent Office.
2 For a history of this commissions and others for Harvard, see Julie L. Sloan, LLC and James L. Yarnall, "John La Farge and the stained-glass windows of Memorial Hall at Harvard University," The Magazine Antiques (April, 1992), pp. 642-651.
3 La Farge did not build his windows himself. For several early windows, including this first one for Harvard, he employed the talents of stained-glass craftsman Donald MacDonald in Boston. After 1880,and perhaps earlier, Thomas Wright and John Calvin fabricated most of his windows, working from their own studio which they formed as a business enterprise called the Decorative Stained Glass Company in 1883. They were located on the south side of Washington Square in New York.
4 John La Farge, "The American Art of Glass," (privately printed, New York, 1893), p. 13.
5 See Julie L. Sloan, LLC and James L. Yarnall, "Art of an Opaline Mind: The Stained Glass of John La Farge," American Art Journal 24, nos. 1 and 2 (1992), pp. 5-19, for more detail on this time in La Farge's career.
6 Sloan and Yarnall, "Memorial Hall," p. 647. La Farge's windows were not made with only opalescent glass; the artist himself stated, "I used in this first window [for Richard Derby], and have continued more or less in windows of more ornament than this was, whatever glass I could find of any manufacture whatever, English, Belgian, or American, Opalescent or non-opalescent"; John La Farge, "Bing Report," usually called "Reply to Bing," 1894, unpublished manuscript, La Farge Family Papers, Sterling Library, Yale University. Antique, crown, cathedral, as well as opalescent glasses were incorporated, as were non-vitreous materials like sliced alabaster and semi-precious stones.
7 United Congregational Church Archives, Middletown, RI (hereafter UCC Archives), Minutes of Various Committees, especially "Records of the Standing Committee of the United Congregational Society, 1833--"; and "Records of the United Congregational Society of Newport, May 7, 1833-November 5, 1900." Dr. James L. Yarnall has researched these records thoroughly, and I am indebted to him for his help in this regard and for sharing his discoveries and thoughts with me.
8 UCC Archives, "Records of the Standing Committee of the United Congregational Society, 1833--," [unpaginated].
9 Ibid.
10 UCC Archives, loose flyer entitled "United Congregational Church" and signed by Frederick W. Tilton and George A. Richmond, "Committee."
11 UCC Archives, "Records of the Standing Committee," [unpaginated].
12 Ibid.
13 Ibid.
14 Mary Gay Humphreys, "Talks with Decorators IV: John La Farge on the Re-Decoration of the `Meeting House,'" Art Amateur 17 (June, 1887), p. 16.
15 H. Barbara Weinberg, "The Decorative Work of John La Farge," (Ph.D. dis., Columbia University, 1972, copyright 1975, p. 195), citing a report from the UCC Archives by J.W. Sherman, Treasurer, account of the "Repair Fund", no date given. Despite an exhaustive search of the church records, this Treasurer's report has not been located.
16 "Brief City Notes," Newport Mercury , May 1, 1880, p. 2; "The United Congregational Church," Newport Mercury , June 12, 1880, p. 2.
17 "La Farge's Stained Glass," Boston Herald , October 30, 1881,p. 4.
18 "The United Congregational Church," Newport Mercury , June 12, 1880, p. 2.
19 See James L. Yarnall, "La Farge's Baker Memorial Window," Newport History vol. 58, part 4, no. 200 (Fall, 1985), p. 95.
20 Humphreys, "Talks IV," p. 18.
21 Mary Gay Humphreys, "Talks with Decorators: V.-- John La Farge on the Re-Decoration of the `Meeting-House,'" Art Amateur 17 (July 1887), p. 43.
22 Ibid.
23 Ibid.
24 He intimates this to Humphreys in "Talks, IV" and "Talks, V," and his son recalled that La Farge accepted the commission "with the consideration that he should be allowed to furnish all the windows with stained glass;" Oliver H.P. La Farge, "Art and the Client," unpublished lecture, Seattle, 1912?, Henry A. La Farge papers, La Farge Catalogue Raisonné, Inc., New Canaan, CT.
25 Humphreys, "Talks, V," p. 43.
26 Sloan and Yarnall, "Opaline Mind," pp. 15-17.
27 Humphreys, "Talks, V," p. 43.
28 Ibid.
29 "Dedicated Fifty Years Ago," Newport Daily News (Jan. 16, 1907), p. 8. The church did not contract with La Farge to repair the windows; this will be discussed in greater detail below.
30 UCC Archives, "Records of the United Congregational Society of Newport, May 7, 1833-November 5, 1900," p. 239.
31 "Louis C. Tiffany and Company with Louis Heidt: Agreement." March, 1881. Heidt Papers, Rakow Library, Corning Museum of Glass. Precisely who made La Farge's glass for his early windows is not clearly known. Contemporaries of La Farge recalled him working with Heidt; see Charles Rollinson Lamb, "The Romance of American Glass," Brooklyn Museum Quarterly 16, no. 4 (October, 1929), pp. 110-111, while La Farge himself recalled working with a glassmaker named Francis Thill; see John La Farge to Thomas Gaffield, March 21, 1896, Thomas Gaffield Papers, Massachusetts Institute of Technology Archives, Cambridge, MA. Other glassmakers claimed to have worked with La Farge; see "Brief History of the Life of Adolphe Bournique," Ornamental Glass Bulletin 7, no. 7 (August, 1913), p. 8.
32 See Sloan and Yarnall, "Art of an Opaline Mind," pp. 5-19.
33 Simon Cottle, Sowerby Gateshead Glass (Newcastle-upon-Tyne: Tyne and Wear Museums Service, 1986), pp. 57-58.
34 Winston (1814-1864) was instrumental in the revival of stained glass and authored the pivotal An Inquiry into the Difference of Styles Observable in Ancient Glass Paintings (Oxford: John Henry Parker, 1847).
35 He stated this several times in Humphreys, "Talks, V," p. 43.
36 Roger Riordan, "American Stained Glass: Second Article," American Art Review , vol. 2, pt. 2 (May 1881), p. 8. This window is now lost.
37 "Hail and Wind," Newport Daily News (July 16, 1894), p. 5.
38 Ibid., p. 3.
39 "Storm Notes," Newport Daily News (July 17, 1894), p. 5.
40 Richard Bliss, "The Hailstorm of July 14, 1894," Proceedings of the Newport Natural History Society , 1891-1899, no. 9 (1900), pp. 29-33.
41 "Newport's Shaking Up," Providence Journal (July 16, 1894), p. 1.
42 Ibid., p. 1.
43 "Newport," Providence Journal (July 18, 1894,) p. 8.
44 "Local Briefs," Newport Daily News (July 28, 1894), p. 3.
45 UCC Archives, "Records of the United Congregational Society of Newport, May 7, 1833-November 5, 1900," p. 239. West & Co. was in all likelihood Samuel West, a stained glass craftsman who had built the temporary and decorative windows for Trinity Church in Boston, including the tower windows to La Farge's design. The Providence Metallic Setting Company was based in Providence with offices in Newport. The fourth company is unknown.
46 UCC Archives, "Records of the Standing Committee," [unpaginated].
47 Ibid.
48 Cecelia Waern, "John La Farge: Artist and Writer," Portfolio (London: Seeley and Co. Ltd., 1896), p. 40.
49 "Dedicated Fifty Years Ago," p. 8.
50 H. Barbara Weinberg, "The Decoration of United Congregational Church," Newport History 47, part 1, no. 153 (Winter 1974), p. 117; and Weinberg, "Decorative Work," p. 204.
51 UCC Archives, "United Congregational Society Minutes, 1902-1906," p. 186.
52 Rev. Carl Brenton Bare, "Into the Twentieth Century," in "History of the United Congregational Church, Newport, Rhode Island, 1895-1945," (October, 1945), [unpaged].
53 UCC Archives, Loose Papers, 1947-1962.
54 Carl Brenton Bare, Pastor, to the Members and Attendants of the Church, "Special Repairs Fund Campaign," October 7, 1949; in UCC Archives, Loose Papers, 1947-1962.
55 UCC Archives, Manila folder, "1962 Renovations."