Windows in Alexandria
Alexandria Travel Blog› entry 71 of 108 › view all entries
In June, Susan and I had seen the Tiffany decorative arts exhibit at the Virginia Musuem of Fine Arts (see earlier blog entrry). Along with the exhibit we'd seen spectacular examples of Tiffany stained glass windows at Maymont at St. Paul's Church. To assist exhibit-goers find more Tiffany installations, VMFA had put a Tiffany Driving Tour of Virginia on its web site. Two of those wer not far away: the Arlington Arts Center and the Virginia Theological Seminary chapel. My appetite had been whetted for more Tiffany photography. I decided on this Sunday, I'd try to seek out the Tiffany window at Virginia Thelogical Seminary (VTS) in Alexandria.
It was a short srive up I-395 from Springfield, and then an exit at Seminary Road.
I found the Tiffany widow, a triptych installed in the left transcept. The subject is Paul Before Herod (Paul making his case before Herod Agrippa and Queen Bernice). This window was installed in 1928, but the subject is the same as one of the windows at St. Paul's, that one installed in 1898. They are very similar and it is interesting to compare them. Both show they Tiffany style of layered glass for the three-dimensional effect, drapery glass for the robes, and confetti glass for the foliage. One difference is in the figure of Festus, standing to the right of Herod Agrippa. In Richmond, his robes are a translucent white or cream. In Alexandria they are an azure blue. This is opalescent glass, the driving tour notes tell us.
Over the chapel's altar is another large stained glass window, but not a Tiffany. The Ascension Window depicts Jesus and the Disciples, but I was not able to find out the artist. [Mayer & Co. of Munich I later discovered. Dedicated in 1907.] Beautiful and done in some of the same style of figurative painting, it is neverthess flat and icon-looking. [I must sadly report that Immanuel Chapel burned in a fire on October 22, 2010. Both of the stained glass windows were lost.]
On my way along Seminary Road, I'd noticed signs for the Fort Ward historical site nearby. You know what's next. From VTS, I drove over to Fort Ward Park. Fort Ward was one of the ring of earthwork forts built during the Civil War to pretect Washington, DC, from Confederate attack. (Alexandria was occupied by Union troops during the Civil War. One encampment was on the grounds of VTS.) I'll tell the story of the Fort Ward site in my review below. I arrived in plenty of time to see the museum and walk the preserved grounds on a sunny and warm late August afternoon. The site is in a 45 acre city park now, and other visitors were there to jog and picnic. A pleasant day of local exploration!