First Presbyterian Church, Topeka Kansas
Inspirational, breathtakingly beautiful, priceless. These are the words that come to mind when trying to describe these historical windows. I have linked to a slideshow with comments about each window. It helps to click “slow” in the upper left corner in order to slow down the slideshow. Also, a thank you to Carolyn, our SHARE group’s First Presbyterian Church docent. We learned so much by having her with our group.
Louis Tiffany was a painter, but he wanted to create something people could use in everyday life. He began to work with glass, but didn’t like glass made in the United States so he built his own furnaces in Corona, New York in 1892. His trademark glass was “favrile.” The glass was made in 10 - 12 layers and pushed together and shaped while hot to make folds in robes or hair. Unlike most stained glass artists of his day, he used the colored glass to “paint” his windows.
In 1909, prior to making the windows for the First Presbyterian Church, he spent a week studying the light in the Topeka sanctuary. We personally saw the beauty of his placement when we arrived in time for the morning sun to shine directly behind the Ascension window. It only lasted a short time but we could only stand in awe at the beautiful sight.
The windows were very difficult to photograph so I strongly recommend scheduling a tour with a docent or attending church on Sunday morning. The interior of the church not only has the priceless windows but hand carved ornate wood trim.
And, the windows are thought to be the best examples of Louis Tiffany’s stained glass created for a church west of the Mississippi River.
There is a picture of one of the stained glass windows in the chapel. They are not Tiffany but beautiful on their own. The one I included was featured on a Hallmark Christmas card in 1982. I also wanted to illustrate how the picture of the newer stained glass is vibrant but lacks the depth and realism.