Tinsley Memorial: #1 “Nativity”

#1 The Nativity -- Goodhue

#1: Nativity

The Rev. Dr. Peter Tinsley was Rector from 1869 – 1902, Rector Emeritus till his death in 1908. Dr. Tinsley was born in Virginia. He was also Chaplain of the 28th Virginia Regiment which was in many hard fought battles. He was at Appomatix when Lee surrendered. To his memory the Vestry entered a written tribute into its minutes and Mrs. J. Gordon (Helen Hughes) Taylor donated the reredos window in 1908. H. E. Goodhue Co. of Cambridge, Mass. made this stained glass window and provided this description of its design.

“The Central scene is a combined subject of which there is ample precedent in medieval art, the nativity with the three shepherds and the Magi of the Epiphany offering their gifts to the Christ child. Reading from left to right the figures are #1 one of the Magi (the African) and one shepherd, #2 one of the Magi (the European) and one shepherd attendant, #3 the Holy Family, #4 one of the Magi (from Asia) and one shepherd, #5 the third shepherd with boy attendant.

In the predella, the first of the openings, reading from left to right, are the angels appearing to the shepherds “Behold I bring you glad tidings of great joy” the center, the prophet Isaiah with quotation from Isaiah 60-3, “the gentiles shall come to thy light and kings to the brightness of thy rising”. The two right hand openings are devoted to the star calling the wise men to Bethlehem.

The tracery above contains scrolls bearing the Gloria in Excelcis, the emblems of the four evangelists, the recorders of the birth of Christ, two angels with censors offering up the prayers of the saints, the Greek letters alpha & omega (the beginning and the end) and the brazen serpent and grape vine entwined about the cross; emblematic of the redemption through the death upon the cross.”

As Bertram Grosvenor Goodhue built some of the finest Gothic Revival architectural works early in the 20th century, so his brother, Harry, revived interest in the stained glass principles of the 12th and 13th or Early Gothic centuries. (These are reflected in the unique Advent window, said to be the only Goodhue window in this part of the country.) The 12th and 13th century craftsmen are described as making rich deeply-colored glass and showing the greatest skill in its use. For instance, they recognized that blue would make adjacent red look purple, that red spread little and orange-yellow not at all. Their compositions of glass and leading have been described as vibrant, jewel-like, and concordant.

The revival of this style came at the height of popularity of the Opalescent School (of which our Tiffany windows are beautiful examples). Harry Goodhue, a highly skilled craftsman, was one of the first to recognize the value of pure color, with restricted texture and great reliance on leading, all of which gave his work character and dignity. This style was advanced and modified by larger studios (of which our Connick windows are famous representatives). Wright Goodhue, son of Harry and his Cincinnati wife, (daughter of Judge Wright also became skilled in this more recent development.)

The windows on either side of the altar are by the Artist/Manufacturer Charles Connick. See Beatitudes and Seven-fold Gifts of Holy Spirit.