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Art/ Collection/ Art Object

Design of Altar Rail for St. Paul's Church, Troy, New York

Artist:
Louis Comfort Tiffany (American, New York 1848–1933 New York)
Maker:
Tiffany Glass and Decorating Company (American, 1892–1902)
Date:
ca. 1895–98
Geography:
Made in New York, United States
Culture:
American
Medium:
Watercolor, pen and a variety of inks—metallic bronze, brown and black, and graphite on off-white wove paper-faced illustration board with original warm grey window matt
Dimensions:
9 3/16 x 17 in. (23.3 x 43.2 cm) Other (Design): 4 3/16 x 13 9/16 in. (10.6 x 34.4 cm)
Classification:
Drawings
Credit Line:
Purchase, Walter Hoving and Julia T. Weld Gifts and Dodge Fund, 1967
Accession Number:
67.654.423
Not on view
The altar rail based on this design exists, slightly altered, in St. Paul’s Church in Troy, New York, where it was installed after major renovations in the 1890s. The rail was commissioned by Sarah McCoun Vail Gould (1821–after 1880), wife of George V. Gould (1807–1868), Troy mayor and Supreme Court judge. The inscription on the reverse dedicates it “To the memory of Sarah Vail Voorhees” (1846–1872), the couple’s daughter, who presumably died in childbirth. The symmetrical filigree floral design is influenced by both Islamic geometric tiles and window screens, which were frequently employed in architectural settings both domestic and public.
Inscription: [recto, on design at top of altar rail doors, in ink and watercolor]: A•D•G•Gloriam•Memoriam•A•B•Gould•Natus•/ •A•D•MDCCCLXII•+•MDCCCLXXXV•• [recto, on matt, center, in graphite]: Gates are to be adapted as shown [illegible];[recto, on matt, center, in graphite]: Design of Altar Rail / Mrs. Judge Gould / St • PAULS CHURCH / TROY• NY•; [recto, on matt, lower right, in graphite]: To Be FINISHED Polished Brass / 2 ft - 7" high; [recto, on matt, to right of design, in graphite]: [sketch of continued altar rail designs]
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