Friday, October 26, 2012

Road Trip: Tiffany at First Presbyterian Church, Bath New York

Bath was definitely my favorite group of Tiffany on my recent road trip.  I’d visited Bath briefly over the summer, but since I was headed in that direction again, I decided to stop back in and take more pictures.  It’s definitely worth a second look. 
The church itself dates to 1877 and is the only extant church designed by architect Jacob Wrey Mould.  Mould was a great proponent of architectural polychromy (and yes, I am very excited to be able to whip out that term, which has lain dormant since graduate school!), where the structure of the building dictates the colored decoration.  His notable commissions include the original Metropolitan Museum of Art building, Belvedere Castle and other structures in Central Park.  His church in Bath has striped arches around the windows, an element which harkens back to Venetian architecture, one of Mould’s main influences. 
The interior of the church was remodeled by Tiffany Studios (maybe still going by Tiffany Glass and Decorating Co. then?) between 1895 and 1897.  There are some pretty amazing elements to note:
The windows throughout are geometric as opposed to figural, which I rather like.  The round window at the east end of the church has an outer border with red turtleback tiles and what looks like crown glass discs in the four quadrants.  I should have brought binoculars to get a good close up view!  

The transept and aisle windows are geometric as well.  The pattern is small scale and reminds me a bit of Tiffany Leaf and Vine (or Acorn) lamps.  
The east wall has unusual panels of what look like red glass tiles and studded, gilt-metal borders.  I wonder if this is the original finish and what the gold-colored material is in between the bumpy parts?  More glass, or metal? 
There is an outstanding pair of leaded glass lanterns at the east end of the church.  Each measures 55 inches high (according to the sexton) and has a double row of red turtlebacks above leaded panels separated by chunky jewels of glass.  
The chancel rail and pulpit are made of carved mahogany with inset mosaic details.  
The narthex of the church also has a Tiffany chandelier made of twisted wire, but it is currently on view at MOBiA’s exhibition, Louis C Tiffany and the Art of Devotion in New York. 

Next Tiffany stop:  Wade Chapel in Cleveland!  

© All text and images are copyright of Jeni Sandberg

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