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Mystery plates on Tiffany windows
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 Posted: Wed Nov 20th, 2013 05:42 pm
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BloodGlass
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I have had the honor to do full restorations of a couple Tiffany's and have this nagging question just to satisfy my curiosity . In two of the cases it was apparent to me that there was a plate missing off of the back.... I know it's a Tiffany so you may be thinking what's he getting at, he had to put 6 plates back on instead of 7:) these plates would have encompassed the entire back of each section in one piece. The outermost plate lead for this layer was still present and I even found one little piece of what it was, a light grey hammered texture nearly clear.
So I have a couple theory's...put on at studio to make sections ridged during transport meaning to remove on site prior to install? Last minute change at the studio to give a uniform darkening of entire window? Once installed last minute change after deciding it was too dark? Or an attempt at accomplishing a protective layer for storm or vandal damage, precursor to plate glass storms? Or I'm not the first to do work on them and the last guy just decided who needs this plate.
So what do you think? I'm open to speculation but would LOVE a definite answer



 Posted: Wed Nov 20th, 2013 05:57 pm
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Mary Clerkin Higgins
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It's common to see a layer of a light color or no color but with texture spanning the back of Tiffanys - not as protective glazing but to help achieve the effects the artists  wanted.  Since you know it was a light gray it seems that someone wanted to lighten the window.  Who that was - the congregation, a craftsperson, is the next question. Best, Mary



 Posted: Thu Nov 21st, 2013 11:35 pm
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Kal Tiki
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 I agree with Mary. I also think the texture of the glass may have been
>important. I have seen many Tiffany's with a piece of textured plate glass
>as a protective layer. I have often wondered if the texture of that
>protective layer was a consideration for how transparent the glass was
>selected by the Tiffany Studio. I have certainly noticed a significant
>change in the appearance when the old glass has been changed to optically
>clear modern glass. Obviously Tiffany was acutely aware of the effect of
>textures most notably plating clear, or almost clear textured glasses on the
>front of windows to create atmospheric perspective. The texture on the back
>of glass is also an important factor in glass painting. I have seen
>incredibly thin washes of paint on the back of finely pained English windows
>that act like a diffuser and help to preserve finely painted lines on the
>interior of the window. The exterior missing textured glass plating may have
>also played a significant role in the glass selectors vision. This is also
>where some research into Church records might help. Any documentation as to
>whether this was vandalism or was it purposely removed by Tiffany, or
>someone from the church?  Dan Maher



 Posted: Fri Dec 20th, 2013 02:45 am
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BloodGlass
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I have done a bit if research on the windows and I feel pretty strongly now that the purpose was an overall darkening of the windows but I still do not know for certain why this layer was taken off or by who... I mean who's decision it was to take them off, the congregation or Tiffany studios. I am leaning towards the congregation tho since I did learn that on one of the windows, depicting Jesus with children, the donor had Tiffany do the face of Jesus THREE TIMES since they felt he looked too "middle-eastern" So apparently Tiffany was dealing with that special kind of client who feels they know better than the artist what the windows should look like:) so they would probably had no qualms about having them remove the darkening layer.



 Posted: Fri Dec 20th, 2013 02:45 am
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BloodGlass
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I have done a bit if research on the windows and I feel pretty strongly now that the purpose was an overall darkening of the windows but I still do not know for certain why this layer was taken off or by who... I mean who's decision it was to take them off, the congregation or Tiffany studios. I am leaning towards the congregation tho since I did learn that on one of the windows, depicting Jesus with children, the donor had Tiffany do the face of Jesus THREE TIMES since they felt he looked too "middle-eastern" So apparently Tiffany was dealing with that special kind of client who feels they know better than the artist what the windows should look like:) so they would probably had no qualms about having them remove the darkening layer.

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 Posted: Sat Dec 21st, 2013 03:06 am
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Vic
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BloodGlass wrote:
I have done a bit if research on the windows and I feel pretty strongly now that the purpose was an overall darkening of the windows but I still do not know for certain why this layer was taken off or by who... I mean who's decision it was to take them off, the congregation or Tiffany studios. I am leaning towards the congregation tho since I did learn that on one of the windows, depicting Jesus with children, the donor had Tiffany do the face of Jesus THREE TIMES since they felt he looked too "middle-eastern" So apparently Tiffany was dealing with that special kind of client who feels they know better than the artist what the windows should look like:) so they would probably had no qualms about having them remove the darkening layer.

If the plates were for darkening. It could be that when the windows were installed there was more light coming through them Over the years may be buildings went up, trees grew etc, thus blocking the light and making the windows too dark. So the plates were removed.



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