An array of exhibits and programs this semester pay homage to the two superb art-glass windows commissioned by Lafayette College from Louis Comfort Tiffany’s Tiffany Glass and Decorating Company at the end of the nineteenth century. Both windows—Alcuin and Charlemagne (Pardee Hall, 1898) and The Death of Sir Philip Sidney (Van Wickle Memorial Library, 1899)—have been meticulously restored and are now installed in Skillman Library.
The “Tiffany at Lafayette” project is a collaboration between the Lafayette College Art Galleries and Skillman’s Special Collections to shine the spotlight on these magnificent windows as well as on Tiffany, the artist, whose well-known firm was responsible for their creation, and who had personal Lafayette connections through his marriage to the daughter of the College’s president. Three exhibits help tell the Tiffany story. The Williams Center Gallery hosts Tiffany Glass: Painting with Color and Light from the Neustadt Collection in Queens, New York, an exhibit showcasing the brilliance of Tiffany’s windows and lamps.
Skillman Library’s exhibits draw the connections between Tiffany and Lafayette College, including a photographic show in the Lass Gallery documenting Tiffany’s pre-wedding trip with his bride-to-be, Louise Wakeman Knox, daughter of Lafayette’s president James Hall Mason Knox, on board the Molly-Polly Chunker, a mule-drawn barge on Pennsylvania’s canals in 1886. Materials from the Lafayette College Archives in the Simon Room document the four Tiffany Studios’ windows owned by the College; the loss of two by fire in 1965; the restoration of the two now installed in Skillman; and more about the Tiffany family.
Programming for “Tiffany at Lafayette” included an opening lecture and reception, a Tiffany Symposium with three lectures on Tiffany’s college commissions, the Tiffany family, and the restoration of Lafayette’s windows, and individual talks on the science of art glass and Tiffany’s memorial windows for churches and synagogues. The exhibit will run until June 4 and will end with a special canal boat dinner cruise in honor of the Molly-Polly Chunker sponsored by the National Canal Museum on June 5.
Director of Special Collections