History of Grace & Holy Trinity Church

The Angel Window

Tiffany Studios, NYC,  Installed 1905

In memoriam

1848 Byrd Warwick 1894
1879 Byrd Warwick, Jr. 1901

Inscribed: Whosoever shall confess me before men, him shall the Son of man also confess before the angels of God.

The prestigious Tiffany Studios of New York made the window depicting an angel on the north aisle of the church. Opalescent glass was utilized in it instead of clear glass. The studio was founded in the 1870’s by Louis Comfort Tiffany (1848-1933). His father, Charles Lewis Tiffany, was the founder of the jewelry store Tiffany and Co., in New York. The two were separate corporations. The young Tffany studied under the American landscape painter George Innes and, later, in Europe. He was inspired by the stained glass windows of Chartres Cathedral in France and the mosaics at Ravenna, and, on returning to America, he devoted his efforts to working in glass media. At its height the firm employed more than four hundred workers and produced products in about five thousand varieties of glass.

Opalescent glass (glass that transmits light but is not transparent) had been developed in Europe in the 1870s. Various techniques for this included repeated heating and cooling of glass, the addition of chemicals (especially metallic oxides), and the incorporation of glass of different hues and the folding or creasing of the glass. By the late nineteenth century Tiffany and some of his contemporaries were making extensive use of this type of glass. Tiffany Studios produced not only windows and mosaics for churches and houses, but also a variety of colorful glass objects such as lamps, bowls, vases and pitchers.

In Tiffany archives the window in our church is listed simply as an angel window. It depicts an angel in flight playing an elongated trumpet. By tradition the long trumpet represents the call for the general resurrection, and it is the Archangel Gabriel who will make this call. Gabriel is typically depicted as a handsome young man. The designer of the window may have had these associations in mind. The garment folds and feathers are skillfully developed by a combination of details within the glass and the leaden strips. A somewhat unique feature is that the designer chose to place the tips of the wings beneath the elaborate Gothic canopy and the trumpet in front of it.

The window was installed in 1905. It was given by Mrs. Byrd Warwick in memory of her husband, Byrd Warwick (1848-1894), and her son, Byrd Warwick, Jr., (1878-1901), who died while a student at the University of Virginia. Mr. Warwick was a tobacconist.

— written by Lewis Wright