History Windows - Elements & Counting

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1 History Windows - Elements & Counting Booklet Five History and Stained Glass Windows of First Presbyterian Church of Atlanta February 28, 2013 The following material describes details of the stained glass windows in our sanctuary which have never been described. Your comments, suggestions, and questions would be helpful. Bill Lyons can be contacted at or To offer comments or ask questions use Bill s , or his Blog at William W. Lyons. This material should not be used, copied, or reproduced without permission from Bill Lyons. Use for FPC purposes will be readily granted, but I want to be sure the latest updates are included and that no revisions are made without my review. Table of Contents Elements & Counting Elements of a History Window Position and definition of Elements Discussion of Elements Mansions Description Mansions Comments Analysis of the Mansions Triplet Comments Pair Comments Counting the Windows Summary of the Count of the Windows Sermons in Stained Glass Booklets William W. Lyons Elements of a History Window - Booklet Five Printed February 28, 2013 (4:43pm) Page 1 of 11

2 Elements & Counting - Booklet Five The discussion of Elements will be followed by a discussion of Counting the Windows, since much of the presentation there depends upon understanding the elements of the History windows. Elements of a History Window Each History window consists of several significant individual components. We identify the components as Mansions, Trefoil, Triplet, and Pair. Some of the these components are described in the booklet, Stained Glass Windows. Some are discussed below. These are, or may be considered to be, individual windows. The design of several of these components has never been described. The meaning of some is not yet clear. If you have any information or thoughts concerning any of these aspects, please pass them on to us. This appendix is intended to be used in conjunction with the Booklet Two, Stained Glass Windows, when viewing the windows in the sanctuary. We hope to add additional detailed images to this document but the images we have at this time are inconsistent in style and quality. Perhaps this can be accomplished in a future effort. Position and definition of Elements Mansions Above the trefoil are eight tall slender panes. We are still trying to decode their meaning. My preference is to consider this group of panes as a single element, or window. These groups will be referred to as the Mansions. The Mansions can be considered to be a canopy (see below). We treat each set of eight panes as a single window. Trefoil The central point of each History window is a trefoil. In some cases the trefoil represents a single scene. In one case it represents three scenes separated by many years. In another three simultaneous scenes are shown. The three elements of the trefoil can appropriately be described as three windows. Each trefoil is described in more detail in another section of this paper, Stained Glass Windows - Booklet Two. The symbol near the top of the center trefoil usually bears a relationship to the past. The other portions of the upper sections of the trefoil have not been described. Triplet Below the trefoil is a set of three smaller windows which we call the Triplet. The center window contains a key symbol which usually relates to the previous window in the series. We consider the Triplet to be 3 windows. William W. Lyons Elements of a History Window - Booklet Five Printed February 28, 2013 (4:43pm) Page 2 of 11

3 Pair Further below are two more windows, which we call the Pair. These are not shown here. On the south side these are actual windows. On the north side they are mosaics. We count each Pair as 2 windows. Discussion of Elements Another booklet of this paper, Stained Glass Windows, Booklet Two, describes each trefoil in some detail, and mentions an element contained in the upper portion of the central window of the trefoil. Also described is an element in the central window of each triplet which is mentioned above. We plan to collect improved digital images of all of the windows. Until then, the following discussion will contain a limited number of examples. Until recently, I regarded many of the smaller elements of the windows as decorative only. In the planning stage of the design of the East window there was a specific decision that the side windows be decorative only, they will carry no message. We are beginning to find symbolism and meaning in many elements where no mention has been made of them in the past. Please help us with your feedback. Mansions Description The Mansions are perhaps the least understood of all of the elements. No explanations or descriptions have been found of their design. They all follow a similar pattern but have many differences. The two images below will give you some idea of why we refer to them as Mansions. The Mansions are represented in eight slim, vertical panes at the top of each window. In the images below a portion of the top of the center pane of the trefoil is also partially visible. The term Mansions is based on John 14:2, In my Father's house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. This seemed to me to be a clear explanation of the possible inspiration for their design and a logical choice for a name. Here are the Mansions of two windows. Ascension William W. Lyons Elements of a History Window - Booklet Five Abraham Printed February 28, 2013 (4:43pm) Page 3 of 11

4 Mansions Comments Although we have not found any mention of the intent for the symbols within the Mansions, we have received many suggestions. These include those from Florida Ellis, a member of the congregation, and Josh Probert, a researcher who has helped us in many ways. Florida commented I remember noticing that the background of the "mansions" is a night sky. I noticed the sky more than the "mansions". She also commented that the night sky could represent the gospel as a "light that shines in the darkness." Josh, who studies stained glass windows, offered I think more City of the New Jerusalem than many mansions. That is the usual use of this type of architecture, especially in windows and paintings of the Second Coming, etc. The Book of Revelation talks about the New Jerusalem. Revelation 21:2-3 And I John saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. And I heard a great voice out of heaven saying, Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and he will dwell with them, and they shall be his people, and God himself shall be with them, and be their God. Josh also offered The architectural detail is called a canopy, a Gothic canopy. It frames statues in stone carvings and most often the choir in the cathedral. It may have some sort of relationship to the New Jerusalem, as Medieval people used this. But it is likely just a decorative element that the designer incorporated. Florida s later commented Oh I'm having fun spinning a yarn about this. The turrets and spires speak of a city, a setting for people in community. Out of the darkness, a new community is being called into being. The story of this community is told in the windows. A later insightful analysis also comes from Florida: I looked at the windows on Sunday and decided that the frames are primarily decorative. It's as if the artist wanted to downplay the upper vertical panes by making a lot of vertical "noise" in the window. There are beautiful vertical and horizontal lines that while a bit "busy" provide a nice contrast to the scale of the imagery in the main window. I tried to see if I was "looking out" or "looking in." It seemed to me that I was more looking out than in. It seems to me that the artist had a single idea to convey in the window that required a given amount of space but the actual window was larger and had these tall skinny panes at the top. So William W. Lyons Elements of a History Window - Booklet Five Printed February 28, 2013 (4:43pm) Page 4 of 11

5 the device the artist came up with was a unifying "sky" motif in the very top and a castle-like motif that would allow a lot of straight lines to fill the space beautifully without detracting from the main image and without calling attention to the dividers between the upper panels. The windows are quite extraordinary! Every viewing, every question, brings new awareness of richness. The meaning of the Mansions is a mystery with suggestions of many answers. Since the designers spoke only with their designs and symbols, it is up to us to offer our interpretations. Please pass on your reactions. Should we continue to use the name Mansions, adopt New Jerusalem, return to the more generic term Octet, or find a new term? Analysis of the Mansions Close study of the Mansions leads to several observations. They share an overall similarity, but contain distinct differences and patterns. The Tiffany designs are significantly different from the D Ascenzo designs. The Willet design in the East window is also similar but distinctively a Willet design. Tiffany Window Mansions Tiffany created the first six of the windows, initially a group of four followed by his final two before his death. The Mansions in the first three windows by Tiffany (Resurrection, Missions, Ascension) are very similar in layout and design. Three Tiffany windows (Resurrection and Missions from the first group and Advent from the second group) have stars in the sky, the others do not. Passion from the first group is similar but much darker, consistent with the theme of the window. Abraham from the second group is different from all the others D Ascenzo Window Mansions The first two ( Ministry, and Law, Psalms, Prophets, on the south side) are almost identical in design. The last two (Pentecost and Martyrs on the north side) are similar to each other but distinctively different from the rest. Willet Window Mansions The East Window has Mansions of a similar design. The design which was approved in 1946 appears to be somewhat similar to the style followed by Tiffany and D Ascenzo. The actual window installed in 1948 is significantly different from the design and more clearly a Willet creation, just as is the overall window. Triplet Comments The three panes of the Triplet are shown clearly in the images in the 150 th Anniversary book, The First Presbyterian Church of Atlanta. Although we have not yet fully deciphered all of the meanings in the Triplet, the special meanings of the element in the central window which is mentioned in earlier writings of Dr. Lyons and Dr. Gardner and described in Booklet Two seem clear. The central pane of each Triplet contains a symbol which is important to the meaning and flow of the windows as discussed in the booklet Stained Glass Windows. In some cases the windows of the Triplet also contain dedication information which is detailed in Appendix H, Inscriptions. Some contain continuations of banners from the central pane. Others appear to be simply decorative. William W. Lyons Elements of a History Window - Booklet Five Printed February 28, 2013 (4:43pm) Page 5 of 11

6 For the Missions window the Triplet shows a Roman Arch and the letters S P Q R, which are discussed in Stained Glass Windows, Booklet Two. No explanation has been found for the meaning of the other two windows of the other Triplets. We will continue to seek to identify and understand the elements in these windows. North Side Pairs - The Mosaics Pair Comments The Pairs under the windows on the north side of the sanctuary are shown in the 150 th Anniversary book, The First Presbyterian Church of Atlanta. They are referred to often as The Mosaics. They are mosaic rather than stained glass because no light is available from the hallway behind them. Each of the Pairs, except for Abraham, relate to the window above. The Pair under Abraham, the first window in the series, is the earliest installed and is of a slightly different design from the others. We believe it was done about the time the Abraham window was installed. The remaining north side Pairs were installed later, perhaps in the 1960's, about the time the Winship Chapel Window was installed. Until they were installed, the spaces were filled with stucco, just as in the case of other faux window spaces in the sanctuary. Abraham (pp of 150 th ) These mosaics represent three members of the Whitner family, Mary Hayden Whitner ( ), Evelyn Hayden Whitner ( ), and Richard Howard Whitner ( ). Law, Psalms, Prophets (page 22 of 150 th ) These mosaics represent Mount Sinai and the Ten Commandments on the left, and Prayer and Praise on the right. Deuteronomy 18:15, Psalm 141:2 and 47:6. Advent (page 23 of 150 th ) These mosaics represent The Star of Bethlehem and The Three Wise Men. Luke 2:10 and Psalm 72:11. Ministry (page 24 of 150 th ) These mosaics represent the Sermon on the Mount and the Entry to Jerusalem. Matthew 5:17 and 21:5. Passion (page 25 of 150 th ) These mosaics represent the Word of God and the Crucifixion. 1 Peter 1:25 and John 3:16. South Side Pairs The Pairs under the windows on the south side of the sanctuary are not shown or described in any document that I can find. If you have a reference, whether published or personal, please pass it on. All contain symbols, but he meaning are in some cases unclear. They are as follows: William W. Lyons Elements of a History Window - Booklet Five Printed February 28, 2013 (4:43pm) Page 6 of 11

7 Resurrection Pair The image appears to be an unusual wreath. Ascension Pair The primary elements are the Greek letters for Alpha and Omega, with a five point star beneath and a four circle design above. Pentecost Pair The images include the Star of David above with an unusual decorative shape below. Martyr Pair The images appears to be sheaves with a Star of David above. Missions Pair The images appear to be Swords with a wreath. Ephesians 6:17 says And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. The Questions Counting the Windows We are often asked how many stained glass windows there are in our church. There are stained glass windows in four locations within First Presbyterian Church of Atlanta. These are Sanctuary, Winship Chapel, Berean Room, and Narthex. Short Answer The best initial response is We have twelve very large window groups in the sanctuary. This can be followed by There are a total of twenty prominent windows in four locations in the church. The total of twenty includes: 12 in the Sanctuary - Ten History Windows, East, and Rose 1 in the Berean Room (Reception Room - the last Tiffany window installed) 3 in Winship Chapel 4 in the Narthex This is a total of twenty prominent windows in the church. Many often fail to see the windows high in the rear of the Winship Chapel and miscount the Narthex windows. The structure of the History windows is far more complex. As described William W. Lyons Elements of a History Window - Booklet Five Printed February 28, 2013 (4:43pm) Page 7 of 11

8 above, the History Windows and the East Window in the sanctuary are actually a collection of larger and smaller windows and elements. If the person asking is interested in detail, answer with Counting all of the smaller windows, including the mosaics, we have 102 windows. Many also ask for the names of the artists (studios) which created the windows. Tiffany created our first seven windows, six History windows in the sanctuary and the smaller window in the Berean Room. Details are given elsewhere, including Appendix D. D Ascenzo created the final four History windows in the sanctuary. This completed the History windows. After Dr. Lyons death, the series of windows in the sanctuary was considered completed. Willet Studios, under the leadership of first father and then son, created the rest. For some time after installation of the East window in 1948, and before the rediscovery of the Rose window space in 1992, the eleven windows were considered the complete series for the sanctuary. More Complete Answers Now for the complexity. How many windows are there in the sanctuary and in the rest of the church? In the Sanctuary The original design of the sanctuary provided for spaces for 12 large windows in the sanctuary. The space above the organ, initially designated for a Rose window, was quickly filled in, soon forgotten, and then rediscovered in Actually this history is more complex as is discussed elsewhere (Stained Glass Windows, Booklet Two). The twelve windows in the sanctuary are the ten History windows, the East window, and the Rose window. The History Windows - The most complex to count Each History window consists of several significant individual components, but we still often refer to each as a single window. A total of 10. This answer misses the detail. Eleven of the windows in the sanctuary (ten History and East) are actually each a combination of several large and smaller windows. We identify the components of a History Window as (from the top) Mansions, Trefoil, Triplet, and Pair. William W. Lyons Elements of a History Window - Booklet Five Printed February 28, 2013 (4:43pm) Page 8 of 11

9 Mansions At the top of each History window and the East window are eight tall slender panes. We are still trying to decode their meaning. We treat this group of panes as a single element, or window. We treat each entire Mansion as a single window. Trefoil: The focal point of each History window is a trefoil. In some cases the trefoil represents a single scene. In some cases it represents 3 scenes. In any event the three elements of the trefoil can appropriately be described as 3 windows. The Trefoils are described in more detail in Stained Glass Windows. Triplet: Below the trefoil is a set of three smaller windows which we call the Triplet. The center window of the Triplet contains a key symbol of the entire window. We consider the Triplet to be 3 additional windows. Pair: Further below are two more windows, which we call the Pair. On the south side these are actual windows, on the north side they are mosaics. We count each Pair as 2 windows. The Pairs on the north side of the sanctuary have no source of light from behind, hence the use of mosaics. Four Pair, called The Sanctuary Mosaics in an undated booklet were created by Conrad Pickel Studio and were given in memory of Emily Winship Scott. We believe the Pair below the Abrahamic Covenant window was installed at the time of the window. We believe they are also mosaics, but both the technique and design are different from the later mosaics. Thus, each of the ten History windows can be considered to consist of: Mansions 1 Trefoil 3 Using this logic each History window contains 9 windows Triplet 3 Pair 2 The total for the History Windows, which is frequently considered to be 10, by this logic is actually 90. The East Window The East window is our largest window. The central window, a trefoil, represents a single scene. The upper portion contains Mansions, similar to the Mansions in the History windows. Below the trefoil is a Triplet, as with the History windows. William W. Lyons Elements of a History Window - Booklet Five Printed February 28, 2013 (4:43pm) Page 9 of 11

10 Unlike the History windows, the East window is accompanied by two side windows, which contain no images and are not normally referred to as separate windows. For this purpose we do not count these windows. Below each side window are smaller windows which are only decorative. Some recall that these were added at a later for lighting on the stairs. The entire East window complex is frequently considered 1 window. It is actually 3, or 4, or 7 or 9, or even 11. Many of these features are not noticed by many, and some are not even visible except to those who climb he stairs to the balcony, We will use 3 for the number (Mansions as 1, Trefoil as 1, Triplet as 1). The Rose Window The Rose window stands alone. Easily 1 window. The history of the design, disappearance, and rediscovery of the space for this window is given in Stained Glass Windows, Booklet Two. In the Berean Room The first window installed outside the sanctuary was Tiffany s Jesus and the Little Children window in the Berean Room (Reception room). Easily 1. In Winship Chapel The Winship Chapel has a window almost as large as the sanctuary windows. There are also two smaller windows, similar to the Narthex windows, high up at the rear of the chapel which are often missed. Frequently thought of as 1, actually 3. These are described in detail in the booklet, Winship chapel. In the Narthex There are four windows in the Narthex (two pair). Sometimes thought of as 2, actually 4. Summary of the Count of the Windows Location Usual Actual Total Studio Count (includes mosaics) Sanctuary - History Tiffany 6, D Ascenzo 4 Sanctuary - East 1 3 Willet Sanctuary - Rose 1 1 Willet Berean 1 1 Tiffany William W. Lyons Elements of a History Window - Booklet Five Printed February 28, 2013 (4:43pm) Page 10 of 11

11 Winship 3 3 Willet Narthex 4 4 Willet Total Three Studios Remember, the total of 102 considers the top 8 panes of each History window as a single window. Sermons in Stained Glass Booklets The Architecture & History Committee is pleased to offer this series of booklets. We hope that they will help to make information about the history of our church, and the material held in our Archives, more accessible to our members and friends. The full version of this paper will be available on the web. Contact Bill Lyons for information on how to access the site. This document remains a work in progress. Printed versions of each of the first six booklets are on display in the Archives & History Room and some are available in the church bookstore or from Bill Lyons. Other resources, including the Appendices, a section on Correspondence with the Artists, and a complete, searchable, version of the entire paper are available online. The online resource is most easily accessed through Bill s blog at SermonsInWindows.com where questions and comments can also be made and read. There is no charge for these booklets and resources. Please see Archives & History Distribution Fund below. Bill Lyons can be contacted at or Please send Bill your comments and suggestions for additions to these documents. Also, you may contact Bill to be added to a notification list of significant updates or for notification of plans for presentations based on this material. Any errors this document are the responsibility of Bill Lyons. To offer comments or ask questions, use Bill s , or his Blog at SermonsInWindows.com Your interest in the windows and the history of our church is appreciated. Please let us know if there are any individuals or groups who should hear about this. Archives & History Distribution Fund The Archives & History distribution fund has been established by the Session of First Presbyterian Church to enable friends and groups to make contributions for the printing of the publications prepared under the auspices of the A&H Committee. Publications will be printed from time to time, as they are requested and as funds are available. Please designate your gift for Archives & History Distribution Fund. Thank you for your support. William W. Lyons. This material should not be used, copied, or reproduced without permission from Bill Lyons. Use for FPC purposes will be readily granted, but I want to be sure the latest updates are included and that no revisions are made without my review. William W. Lyons Elements of a History Window - Booklet Five Printed February 28, 2013 (4:43pm) Page 11 of 11

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