“St. George,” Van Aken Memorial
This window depicts a young soldier in Roman armor standing in profile, resting his hands on a long sword. His head is crowed with a laurel wreath. Except for the sword, non of the usual attributes of St. George are shown.
This window was executed after La Farge’s death by Thomas Wright, his trusted foreman. It was installed in 1915. Newspaper accounts of the exhibition of the window on Wright’s lawn at his home and studio in Montclair, New Jersey, indicated that the design was purchased by Edward Judson in 1911, at La Farge’s estate sale (La Farge died in 1910), but they also state that the design was made for Judson Church. The story of the purchase of the sketch are believed to be inaccurate; it is not clear when the window was actually designed.
The figure of the soldier is similar to one in the “Wisdom” window at Unity Church, North Easton, Massachusetts (1900-1902).
The window is dedicated as follows: on the left, “IN MEMORY / OF”; in the center, “GEORGIANA / VAN AKEN”; and on the right, “BORN1834 / DIED 1912”.
The inscription panel reads, “THIS WOMAN / WAS FULL OF / GOOD WORKS / ACTS IX:36”. The passage refers to Dorcas, also called Tabitha, whom Peter raised from the dead at Joppa.
One sketch for the window exists; it is the one that come out of Thomas Wright’s estate in 1918. It shows the whole window, including the architectural detail.1
A number of newspaper articles recorded that the window was exhibited on Wright’s lawn at his home in Montclair, New Jersey, prior to its installation.2 This suggest that the window was made there and not at the studio of the Decorative Stained Glass Company.
© 1995, Julie L. Sloan, used with permission
- This sketch is in a private collection in Newport, RI.
- “Montclair,” New York Times, January, 1915; “Completed Memorial Window,” Montclair Times, January, 1915;”Mr. Wright to Exhibit Window,” New York Times, January 14, 1015, p. 2:’ “[Cutting from a New York Newspaper],” Cartmel District Farming Notes, January, 1915; “Shows His Art on Lawn,” New York Tribune, January 18,1915; “Obituary [Thomas Wright],” Ornamental Glass Bulletin 12 (March, 1918), p. 8 These clippings are from the Thomas Wright Papers, collection of Sean McNally, Ridgewood, New Jersey.