“The Infant Samuel“
The window depicts the prophet Samuel as a child. He stands in a long white robe in three-quarter view, looking upward. Samuel’s mother, Hannah, dedicated him to the Lord’s service when she prayed for conception. In the first book of Samuel, chapter 3, the calling of Samuel to the Lord is described; it is this incident that is depicted in the window, summed up by the verse in the inscription, “SPEAK LORD / FOR THY SERVANT HEARETH” (1 Samuel 3:10). In chapter 2, Samuel is described several times as wearing a linen ephod. An ephod was part of the dress of the high priest. It is described as being shaped like a waistcoat with a girdle and shoulder pieces of onyx inscribed with the names of the tribes. It does not appear that Samuel’s gown in the window is this garment.
The window is dedicated in the bottom panel. The left panel reads: “IN MEMORY / OF”; the center panel reads: ‘DAVID MALCOLM / KINMONTH”; and the right panel reads: “1858-1886 / A FRIEND OF /CHILDREN”. Kinmonth was 28 years old.
La Farge’s account books record some, if not all of the payments for this window, and the Judson Church records reveal similar payments, but refer to the window by a name that is now unconnected with the window: Payton. In La Farge’s account book for Feb. 25, 1895, there is a payment of $750 which has been lined out for reasons that are unclear. On Feb. 27, two days later, another payment is entered, but the amount is illegible. The next day, Feb. 28, the window is recorded as having a balance due of $1030.00.
The Judson Memorial Cash Journal and Ledger book, Nov. 1, 1894 to April 1, 10-0, records payment on Feb. 19, 1895 to La Farge for $750 for the “Payton window.” On the same day is a payment for the frame for the same window.1
The figure of Infant Samuel was reused by La Farge for a window in the Christ Church Parish House, Springfield, Massachusetts. This sketch still exists. A sketch of the Judson “infant Samuel” was published in color in Cecilia Waern’s 1896 Portfolio article, “John La Farge: Artist and Writer;” this sketch is unfortunately lost.2
In addition, a sketch for the surrounding architectural niche for either this window or “The Infant Mary,” E3, is known, but its location is unknown.
© 1995, Julie L. Sloan, used with permission
- This book is in the Judson Church archives.
- Cecilia Waern, “John La Farge: Artist and Writer,” Portfolio (London: Seeley & Co., Ltd., 1896), between pp. 52 and 53.