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John La Farge Stained Glass

Judson Memorial Church

Judson Memorial Church, 1888-93
55 Washington Square South
New York, NY 10012


Judson Memorial Church in New York City contains seventeen windows by John La Farge, one of the finest ensembles of his works.[1] The church was built between 1888 and 1893 by McKim, Mead, and White. It is a large brick church in an Early Renaissance style, with a tall bell tower at its right side.

Unfortunately, I have not been able to photograph the interior of this church yet, as it is undergoing restoration. I hope to add photos of these windows at a later date.

There are fourteen stained-glass windows in the nave of the Church, and three in the main stairwell. St. Paul was the first window installed, in 1892. The window depicting St. John the Evangelist is related to the St. John window in the Boston College collection. The figure of St. George in the van Aken window resembles the Christian knight in Christ Church in Lincoln, RI. It also looks back to La Farge’s earliest designs for Memorial Hall in Cambridge, MA. This window was installed in 1915, five years after La Farge’s death. It was executed by Thomas Wright, one of the artist’s most trusted assistants. A window depicting the prophet Samuel as a child was dedicated as a memorial to David Malcolm Kinmonth, ca. 1895.

The window with St. Stephen was dedicated to George Dana Boardman, who was the first husband of Edward Judson’s mother, Sarah Hall Boardman Judson. It was installed in 1895. An image of a praying angel is shown in a circular window on the second stair landing. The outer border is abstract decoration, but the face of the angel is carefully painted with great detail and shading. It was probably painted by Juliet Hanson, who often painted the “flesh” of figures in the stained glass windows. The face of the angel is that of Mary Whitney, who was La Farge’s studio assistant and long-time mistress.

Other decorative windows are found on the first stair landing. The inscription on these notes the dedication of these windows: “In memory of Matthew Randall Trevor, the beloved physician.” The third stair landing window is abstract, an ensemble of six decorative windows, with two showing a red Maltese cross. The Josephine Bigler Crow Memorial Window is also abstract, with flat panels of geometric design surrounding the cross.

Another round window depicts Christ as the Good Shepherd, with strong reminiscences of fifteenth century Flemish painting. It is a memorial window to Edward Abiel Stevens D.D.; it was installed February, 1896.There is a pair of inscriptions on the window. The upper one reads: “In Memory Of Edward Abiel Stevens D.D. / For Nearly 50 Years A Missionary To Burma / Born In Georgia Jan 23 1814.” The lower inscription reads, “Died Rangoon June 19 1886 / An Ambassador Is Sent Among The Heathen / Obad. 1”.

A third round window depicts an angel playing a lute, based on a detail of a mural by Melozzo da Forli in the Vatican Library. It was dedicated to Helen Elizabeth Wood. A fourth round window depicts the sufferings of the Madonna as the Mater Dolorosa. It was dedicated in memory of Delphine Antisdel.




[1] A detailed overview of the stained glass at the Judson Memorial Church is found in Julie L. Sloan, and James L. Yarnall, “John La Farge and the Judson Memorial Church,” The Magazine Antiques, vol. 153 (Feb. 1998), 300-9.