Art/ Collection/ Art Object

Design for a baptismal font

Artist:
Louis Comfort Tiffany (American, New York 1848–1933 New York)
Maker:
Tiffany Studios (1902–32)
Date:
1902–1932
Geography:
Made in New York, United States
Culture:
American
Medium:
Watercolor, gouache, black ink, and graphite on artist board on pebble-finish mat board
Dimensions:
Overall: 22 9/16 x 18 11/16 in. (57.3 x 47.5 cm) Design: 17 1/8 x 12 3/8 in. (43.5 x 31.5 cm)
Classification:
Drawings
Credit Line:
Purchase, Walter Hoving and Julia T. Weld Gifts and Dodge Fund, 1967
Accession Number:
67.654.35
Not on view
This design was for a baptismal font for Saint Paul’s church in Paterson, New Jersey. While the white marble columns recall the supports from ancient Greek temples, the dome in gold filigree with inset jewels and bold enamel evokes Byzantine architecture and its characteristic melding of East and West. Although it is unknown whether this baptismal font was ever executed, its similarity to the church’s existing Gorham Manufacturing Company font, presented in 1912 as a memorial to Mrs. Jane Hamilton, the first wife of Rector David Stuart Hamilton, suggests that possibly it did once inhabit Saint Paul’s.
Inscription: [recto, center of matt, in ink]: BAPTISMAL [FONT?] [now missing] / ST PAUL's CHU[RCH...] / PATTERSON...N[J]
[recto, part of mat, now broken from lower left corner, in ink]: FROM... / TIFFANY / STUDIOS / NEW YORK
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