Windows For The Soul
Trinity Episcopal Cathedral-Davenport, Iowa

Incorporating Historic Glass

THE HISTORIC TRINITY EPISCOPALCATHEDRAL in Davenport, Iowa decided to build a new chapel. The Cathedral had previously acquired several antique stained glass windows from an Anglican church in England. The Cathedral’s building committee asked Bovard Studio to incorporate these historic windows into five large new window frames set into their newly constructed chapel. We found the windows stacked on top of each other, lying on a bare cement floor next to the furnace. Needless to say they had suffered heavy damage from careless handling and storage and had significant breakage including the painted faces of several figures. We decided the best solution was to deconstruct the windows and incorporate the surviving design elements into the new windows. We started by placing the faces of angels in the center section of the ‘rose tracery’ at the top of each of the five window frames. We used some of the original angel sections from the salvaged stained glass and our painting department replicated some angels as needed.


Left two photos: Salvaged fragments from an old English window prior to cleaning and restoration. These have been incorporated into the new chapel windows at Trinity Episcopal Cathedral.



These chapel windows in the Trinity Episcopal Cathedral in Davenport, Iowa, incorporates salvaged stained glass sections into a simple diamond background..


The next step was to disassemble the antique stained glass panels. Our goal was to preserve as much of the original glass design in the antique windows as possible. We laid the original glass pieces on the working drawing and replicated any broken and/or missing glass pieces, including several faces and flesh areas. The design team incorporated the figurative sections from the historic stained glass panels into the center two lancets of the stained glass windows. The design was brought into balance by expanding the design from the center lancets to allow it to flow into the outside lancets using imagery appropriate to the themes of the figures in the historic style. We pushed a few painted panes of stained glass from the design of the two center lancets into the clear diamond lights of the outside lancets and filled the balance of the space with the diamond shaped lights of clear mouth blown antique glass. We added several clear faceted jewels and tied the design together with a simple border of mouth blown red antique glass. The outcome was delightful. These five large stained glass windows flood this traditionally designed chapel with clear light and a smattering of prismatic rainbows from the faceted jewels that move across the worship space with the sun. The restored stained glass designs from the English Anglican church feature scenes of The Good Shepherd, Christ Feeding the Multitude, and Christ in the Temple, to remind worshippers of the timeless accounts of Christ's life.


left: This chapel window, from Trinity Episcopal Cathedral in Davenport, Iowa, incorporates salvaged stained glass sections into a simple diamond background. It's an excellent example of how mullions are used to break a large window opening into smaller sections. The four large lower sections plus the decorative tracery mullions in the upper section add interest and intrigue to the overall design.

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