The Ecclesiastical Work of Louis Comfort Tiffany

Mention the work of Tiffany and Co. (or simply Tiffany's) and what naturally springs to mind are domestic items such as lamps with ornamental stained glass, or secular designs in public buildings (such as the Education window at Yale University), but what may not spring immediately to mind is ecclesiastical work. That said, it exists. Louis Comfort Tiffany, son of Charles Lewis Tiffany who originally founded the storied New York company in 1837, produced some extremely interesting ecclesiastical designs -- even designing some vestments

One of the most intriguing pieces he completed was a chapel interior he designed for the 1893 World's Columbian Exposition in Chicago -- it now makes its home at the Charles Hosmer Morse Museum of American Art in Florida.

The design presents some interesting considerations for our Other Modern series. 

The chapel has classical and Byzantine influences, and employs glass mosaic and, of course, Tiffany stained glass windows.

There is no mistaking the distinctly "modern" feel about a number of the chapel elements and yet for the most part, those elements are also quite evidently tied to a traditional architectural and artistic idiom. Unlike minimalist forms of modernism which are so often sterile and asymmetrical, the composition, colours and textures found in the Tiffany chapel give it life, order and focus. 

One can imagine a style like this being employed with any number of variations. The mosaic reredos could become more iconographic or a ciborium magnum could also be used in this style and with a few modifications.

The Baptistery

But it is Tiffany's stained glass windows, with their delicacy of form and colour, which he is perhaps most justly known.  Here are just a few examples, coming from various churches.

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