Medallion window, c. 1892
Stairwell, Laurelton Hall, Long Island, New York, 1902–57
General exhibition window in thirteenth-century design
With its lancet shape and rich red and blue colors, Louis Comfort Tiffany’s leaded-glass Medallion window was created for general exhibition purposes around 1892. Measuring approximately twelve by four feet, the artwork mimics the look of soaring 13th-century windows found in French Gothic cathedrals. Tiffany (1848–1933), who traveled extensively in Europe, was influenced by medieval stained-glass techniques. According to an article by Tiffany in the July 1893 issue of The Forum, “perfection was reached in the medallion windows of the thirteenth century. The glass employed at this time … was made in unequal thicknesses and was filled with bubbles and other imperfections which added greatly to its brilliancy by affording many points against which the sun’s rays were broken. Its unequal thickness gave the quality of light and shade without thinness or opacity.” Tiffany glass worker Jimmy Ryan wrote in a 1948 letter that the Medallion window was created “to demonstrate the application of Tiffany Favrile glass to windows of 13th century design.” The Medallion window was exhibited at the 1901 Pan-American Exposition in Buffalo, New York, and was featured in Charles de Kay’s 1914 authorized biography The Art Work of Louis C. Tiffany. In 1935, it was installed at Laurelton Hall, Tiffany’s Long Island estate, then home to the designer’s foundation. Today it is on view in the Morse exhibition Revival and Reform—Eclecticism in the 19th-Century Environment.