Jubal and Miriam

William Jay Bolton
John Bolton

On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 704

This impressive window is one of an extraordinary program of sixty windows made for the Church of the Holy Trinity (now St. Ann and the Holy Trinity) in Brooklyn, New York, between 1843 and 1848. The Church of the Holy Trinity was built in 1843 by wealthy Brooklyn merchant Edgar John Bartow, and designed by Minard Lafever, a noted architect working in the Gothic Revival style. He was commissioned to build in Brooklyn a church that would rival Trinity Church in Manhattan. With its tall attenuated steeple encrusted with Gothic-style ornament, the church expressed a new spirit and sense of freedom, representing a departure from the ecclesiastical conservatism of Trinity. They contracted with William Jay Bolton and his brother John Bolton, of Pelham, New York, to execute the sixty windows on three stories as well as a majestic Chancel window and an organ loft window for the church. Unusually, the Boltons assumed all roles—as designers, painters, and glaziers.

A minster and an artist, Jay Bolton, as he was called, emigrated from Bath, England, to Pelham, New York, in 1836. Soon after his arrival in the United States, he studied in New York under Samuel F. B. Morse at the National Academy of Design. Bolton, with the assistance of his brother, provided stained glass windows for several buildings in Pelham. But it was his work at Holy Trinity that assured his place in the canon of American stained glass. Inspired by windows he had seen at King’s College Chapel, Cambridge, England, and looking to the artists of the Renaissance, Bolton interpreted his Old and New Testament scenes with unusual artistry. The commission at Holy Trinity, which the Boltons completed in a remarkable five years, is rare in being a comprehensive and unified program. These windows are the first major program of figural stained glass produced in the United States.

The window’s subject is the Old Testament biblical figures of the prophetess Miriam, sister of Moses and Aaron, who "took with timbrel in her hand, and all the women went out after her with timbrels and dancing," and Jubal, "father of all those who play the lyre and pipe." Surmounting the figure, Gothic tracery frames depictions of various musical instruments—lyres, lutes, horns, a drum, and a viol—articulated in vitreous glass paint and silver stain on richly colored glass. The rendering and costumes of the figures, while surmounted by Gothic tracery and architectural canopy, derive from the Italian Renaissance, and more specifically, from the work of Sandro Botticelli.

#3820. Stained Glass Window

Jubal and Miriam, William Jay Bolton (British, 1816–1884), Stained glass window; vitreous glass paint, enamel paint, silver stain, American

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