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The Righteous Shall Receive a Crown of Glory

The Righteous Shall Receive a Crown of Glory

A spectacular and large Tiffany stained glass memorial window has been installed in the Museum’s modern glass gallery. It is the first time that this window has been on view at the Museum since its donation in 1996.

Titled The Righteous Shall Receive a Crown of Glory, the window was designed by Frederick Wilson (American, 1858–1932) for Louis Comfort Tiffany (American, 1848–1933). It was made around 1901 at Tiffany Studios in Corona, New York. The window includes handmade colored and opalescent sheet glass—and special textured glass for the drapery—that was cut, painted, and assembled with lead came. The window measures 13 feet high by 8 feet wide, and it was given to the museum by Mr. and Mrs. Bruce Randall [^^96.4.230^^].

The Righteous Shall Receive a Crown of Glory, Louis Comfort TiffanyOver the course of its 50-year history, Tiffany Studios produced an estimated 5,000 windows, many of them with religious subjects, such as this memorial window. The designer, Frederick Wilson, was Louis C. Tiffany’s most prolific religious stained glass window designer, and he served as the head of the ecclesiastical department at Tiffany Studios.

Although Tiffany began making stained glass windows in the late 1870s, he did not hire a full-time ecclesiastical designer until Wilson, who began working at the Studios in the early 1890s. Prior to Wilson, Tiffany did not use in-house designers, but instead hired outside muralists and painters to produce window designs. Some designs were original, while others incorporated elements from famous paintings by Botticelli, Leonardo, and Raphael, in addition to the work of later painters, such as Bougereau and Millet. Wilson gave the religious stained glass windows produced by Tiffany Studios a more cohesive look and identifiable style.

For its religious windows, Tiffany Studios offered a catalog of stock subjects from which clients could choose, and the designs could be ordered with additional decorative elements. This is the %%case%% with this window, in which a banner with words from Scripture—which appears in one of Wilson’s preparatory drawings—has been replaced with a large glass jewel-studded cross.

The theme of the window celebrates victory over death, and the joyous hope of resurrection. Tiffany’s outlook was more optimistic than that depicted in most 19th-century stained glass memorials, in which the subjects of mourning and death—illustrated by weeping angels or the Crucifixion—predominated.

The Righteous Shall Receive a Crown of Glory, Louis Comfort TiffanyThis window is dedicated to the memory of Charles Green (1811–1901). It was commissioned by Ira Dewayne Brainard (1846–1914) and his wife, Mary Genevie Green Brainard (1847–1931), for the United Methodist Church in Waterville, New York.

Built in 1860, the Waterville United Methodist Church was renovated in 1902 and during the 1950s. The church was in use until a new church was built in 1967, at which time the old church was sold. Like many 19th-century churches in the small towns of New York State, the building was adapted for other uses. The former church has served as an auction house, a store, and it is now a private residence. The Tiffany window was removed at the time of its sale in 1967, or soon thereafter.

The window was bought by the donors in the late 1960s. When the window arrived at the Museum in 1996, it was disassembled. It needed cleaning and restoration of its support structure, and it was too tall to fit into the Museum’s galleries. The window was preserved in crates in Museum storage until 2012, when it was requested on loan for an exhibition by the Museum of Biblical Art (MOBiA) in New York City. The window was conserved and exhibited at MOBiA, and then returned to the Museum and installed in the modern glass gallery. For more information on the conservation, see Exhibition on Louis C. Tiffany features Stained Glass Window from Corning Museum.

In order for the window to fit into the Museum’s modern glass gallery, the memorial panel at the bottom of the window, beneath and separate from the main scene, had to be removed. However, it is because of this panel that we know the history of this window. The memorial panel is inscribed:

“The Righteovs Shall Receive a Crown of Glory”
To The Glory of God
In Memoriam
1811 Charles Green 1901

The Righteous Shall Receive a Crown of Glory, Louis Comfort Tiffany

It refers to Peter 5:4: “And when the chief Shepherd shall appear, ye shall receive a crown of glory that fadeth not away.” In the window, two angels escort the soul of the deceased into the light of heaven, up marble stairs toward a large cross supported by three angels.

Charles Green was a prominent hop contractor and banker in Hubbardsville, New York, a small town south of Utica. His daughter, Mary Genevie, married the hop farmer and salesman, Ira D. Brainard, in 1870. At that time, the young couple left Hubbardsville and moved to the nearby town of Waterville. After the death of his son, Charles Green moved to Waterville in 1892, becoming business partners with his son-in-law. They consolidated their businesses into a new company, the Charles Green, Son, Brainard & Company. Specializing in hop sales and banking, the firm was very profitable, and it became one of the most extensive of its kind in central New York. Both families were leading citizens and active in the Methodist church. After Green’s death in 1901, the Brainard family commissioned this window in his memory. The window was most likely installed when the church underwent renovation in 1902.


Sources:

Lucy Abigail Brainard, A Genealogy of the Brainerd/Brainard Family in America, 1649-1908,  Vol. I, Parts 1-3, Hartford Press, 1908, p. 158, no. 231

Henry J. Cookinham, History of Oneida County, New York from 1700 to the Present Time, Vol. 2, Part 2, Chicago: The S.J. Clarke Publishing Company, 1912, p. 622-624.

Frederick Simon Hills, New York State Men: Biographic Studies and Character Portraits, Vols. I and 2, Albany, NY: The Argus Company, 1910, Volume 2, p. 34.

Patricia C. Pongracz (ed.), Louis C. Tiffany and the Art of Devotion, New York: Museum of Biblical Art in association with D Giles Ltd., 2012.  The window and a related preparatory drawing are discussed and illustrated on p. 128-129, 155, 158.

Robert Wahl and Arnold Spencer Wahl, “The Death Roll: Ira D. Brainard,” American Brewers Review, Vol. 28, No. 8, 1914, p. 374-375.

Waterville, NY web site (www.watervilleny.com)

Published on March 5, 2013

Tina Oldknow
Senior Curator of Modern and Contemporary Glass
Tina Oldknow has been the curator of modern glass since 2000 and she is responsible for all curatorial aspects of the glass collections dating from 1900 to the present. During her time at the Museum, she has reinstalled the Modern Glass and...
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