Saint John, Tiffany Window at Historic Blandford Church
One of the first Louis Comfort Tiffany Studios stained-glass works of art placed in the memorial chapel is the Virginia window portraying Saint John, the Beloved Disciple. The youngest of the twelve disciples, he is depicted as a beardless youth holding a jeweled cup or chalice. The window was unveiled to the public at the Ladies Memorial Association’s 1904 commemoration of the June 9, 1864, Battle of Old Men and Young Boys, which marked the start of the almost ten-month siege of Petersburg in 1864-65.
The figure of Saint John looks as though he is ready to step out of the window: the right hand and left foot extend beyond the framework of the design. The window features a horizontal panel of yellow and blue glass, the yellow strip perhaps representing the desert sands of the Island of Patmos, where the exiled saint wrote the book of Revelation, fading into a blue band of open sky. The hem of Saint John’s robe features a technique referred to as fractured glass. Chips, which are pieces of flaked or splintered glass, have been superimposed on each other and fused into the glass to form the hem of the clothing. The many edges of fractured glass create texture and reflect light.
The cup which the Saint holds may represent the cup of poison which he was forced to drink, though a snake came from the cup, having drunk the poison. Or it may be a loving cup to refer to his designation as “the Beloved.”
In the contract with the Tiffany Studios for the Virginia window, the cost of 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.-4:00p.m. and on Sunday, 1:00 p.m.-4:00 p.m. Beginning March 1, hours of operation will be extended to 5:00 p. m. For more information, call (804) 733-2396.
More Tiffany windows information can be seen at
Written by Clay Hamner for The Petersburg Preservation Task Force.
Featured image provided by Petersburg Preservation