Saint Bartholomew, the North Carolina Window
The fourth in the series of Tiffany stained-glass works of art placed in the memorial chapel is the North Carolina window. It features Saint Bartholomew, who is seldom pictured in works of art and is mentioned only once in the Bible. His hair, beard, hands and bare feet are beautifully hand-painted by artisans who worked at the Tiffany Studios in New York. He is depicted holding a knife, signifying his symbol of martyrdom – he was flayed alive and crucified in Armenia for his beliefs. Perhaps Saint Bartholomew was chosen by the window designers to represent the state of North Carolina because over 40,000 soldiers from this state were killed during the Civil War. North Carolina suffered more casualties than any other Confederate state.
The tie-bars crossing Saint Bartholomew’s knife are not usually noticed by the viewer, because Tiffany took advantage of a physical phenomenon called halation to help camouflage tie-bars and other mechanics of window construction. Halation occurs when the light passing through the window is diffused, causing the solid bar to appear to narrow, decrease in size, or disappear. Halation is intensified when light colors are surrounded by dark ones as with Saint Bartholomew’s knife, which is shaded so that the part of the blade nearest the hilt is darker than its point, causing the bar that crosses it to be practically invisible. (Martha Wren Briggs, The Compass Windows of Old Blandford Church)
In the contract with the Tiffany Studios for the North Carolina window, the cost for the window is $350, with a $35 fee for “sash protection, freight and setting”. This was the standard charge for each of the now priceless compass windows installed in the church between 1904 and 1912. Blandford Church is now managed by the Petersburg Preservation Task Force and is open for tours on Thursday – Saturday, 10:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m. and on Sunday, 1:00 p.m. – 5:00 p.m., with the last tour each day beginning at 4:00 p.m.
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Written by Petersburg Preservation for The Petersburg Preservation Task Force.
Featured image provided by Petersburg Preservation