"Christ Enthroned in Glory" Window - All Saints Chapel
“Christ Enthroned in Glory” Window
All Saints Chapel, North Wall
The Episcopal Church of the Atonement
The stained glass window which fills the north wall of All Saints Chapel at The Church of the Atonement is entitled “Christ Enthroned in Glory.” The central theme of the window is the point in the Eucharist at which the priest is about to say the Sanctus and is repeating the text, “Therefore, with angels and archangels and with all the company of heaven, we praise and magnify His glorious name.”
Dedicated on April 6, 1930, the window was the gift of Kate M. Dalton in memory of her husband, Samuel Dalton, who died in 1917. Samuel Dalton had been a member of the Church of the Atonement since its founding in 1888, and served as Senior Warden of the church Vestry from 1905 to 1915. Dalton was an early resident of the Edgewater neighborhood, where he developed many properties, including The Manor House Apartments, which still stands on the southeast corner of Bryn Mawr and Kenmore Avenues, two blocks south of The Church of the Atonement. Together, the Daltons donated several items which are still to be found in the church, including, in 1912, the altar in the All Saints Chapel and the church’s pulpit.
The window was designed by the Willet Studio of Philadelphia specifically for the space. The Willet Studio, founded by William Willet in 1898 and continuing in business today as Willet Hauser Architectural Glass, has been one of the leading American designers and fabricators of stained glass windows for over a century. Work by the Willet Studio may be found in the Cathedral of St. John the Divine in New York City, Washington National Cathedral and Grace Cathedral in San Francisco.
The “Christ Enthroned” window at The Church of the Atonement has been recognized as an important piece of stained glass art in the city of Chicago. As described by Erne R. and Florence Frueh in Chicago Stained Glass, the window is, “heavily painted on fine antique glass, but retains its jewel-like radiance because of the exceptionally delicate and sensitive brushwork.”
The cost of the window in 1930 was $2,100. As it happened the receipt for the first payment for the window was dated October 25, 1929, in the midst of the stock market crash of October 24-29, 1929. While this event may not have had an effect on the completion of the “Christ Enthroned” window (it was paid for in full by March 1930) no further stained glass was added to the church until 1943.
In March 1930 the Atonement newsletter, The Clarion, gave an extensive description of the images to be found in the window:
“An exquisite stained glass window now fills the All Saints’ Chapel in the transept of the Church of the Atonement with a glowing decoration of rubies and gold on a background of richest blue. We shall dedicate it on April 6th at the eleven o’clock service, to the glory of God and in memory of Samuel Dalton, communicant, benefactor and one time Senior Warden in this parish, as the gift of his widow, Mrs. Kate M. Dalton and other members of the family."
"The central figure of “Christ Enthroned in Glory” is majestic, though the face is kind with eyes that see far into the future. The World is His foot-stool from which flows the River of the Water of Life, beneath which is the Lamb on the Book with the Seven Seals, Winged Man of St. Matthew, the Winged Ox of St. Luke, the Lion of St. Mark and the Eagle of St. John. In His left hand He holds the Book of Life, the Alpha and Omega, while His right hand is raised in benediction. Behind Him are the six sacred candles and His figure is encircled with a corona of light, while the Dove, symbolizing the Holy Spirit sheds its rays over Him."
"In the predella [base of the altarpiece] beneath this is the central theme of the window, the point in the Eucharist at which the priest with bowed head is just about to say the Sanctus and is repeating the text, “Therefore, with angels and archangels and with all the company of heaven, we praise and magnify His glorious name.” On either side of him kneel a deacon and sub-deacon. The rest of the window elaborates the phrase."
“In the large panels at either side of Christ Enthroned are angels. On our Lord’s left an angel kneels with the cup offered Him in the Garden of Gethsemane, while another angel embraces the Pillar of Flagellation bearing the SPQR symbolizing the Roman power under which our Lord was crucified. On our Lord’s right is a kneeling angel offering him the crown while the ribbon binding his wings bears the legend, “Crown Him Lord of All.” Behind him is St. Michael with his spear symbolizing the Conquest of Evil, while the adoring angels above symbolize the text, “Which things the angels desire to look into.”
“In the predellas beneath these side panels is shown the Procession of the Martyrs of All Ages, praising God. Two outer panels contain the figures of the four Evangelists, with whom the angels are conversing."
"The window was made by the Willet Studio of Philadelphia. It represents to us the light of day broken up into its components so as to reveal the beauties of God that are always about us, the memory of faithful service given to God and His Church and is a reminder that the ancient arts still survive among us to praise His honour and glory. It is a beautiful gift that will tell its story through many generations, and we are grateful to be able to house it in our parish church.”
Text by John Waters.
Photographs of the Christ Enthroned in Glory window taken by David Sutton.