Tiffany Chapel

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search

Coordinates: 28°36′03″N 81°21′04″W / 28.600791°N 81.351174°W / 28.600791; -81.351174

Tiffany Chapel, from the Historic American Buildings Survey

The Tiffany Chapel is a chapel interior designed by Louis Comfort Tiffany and created by the Tiffany Glass and Decorating Company. First installed for the 1893 World's Columbian Exposition in Chicago, the chapel was later moved to the Cathedral of St. John the Divine in New York City, then re-acquired by Tiffany in 1916 and displayed in his own home. After the chapel was dismantled in 1949, parts of it were sold off; the remaining portions have been on display at the Charles Hosmer Morse Museum of American Art in Winter Park, Florida since April 1999.[1]


Created in a Byzantine-Romanesque style, the Tiffany chapel consists of complementing interior elements that include a marble and white glass altar in front of six carved arches each supported by two double columns all on an elevated mosaic platform.[2] A cross stands on the altar between two pairs of candles. The reredos displays a pair of peacocks - symbols of eternal life - under a crown in a Favrile glass mosaic.[3] On the left front is the ambo flanked by two candlesticks. Off to the right is the baptistry its front bordered by four columns and its back showing the large colored glass "Field of Lilies" window repeating the columnar pattern. The globe-shaped baptismal font is sitting on a hexagonal columned base in the center of the baptistry. From the ceiling of the chapel hangs an electrified ten by eight foot emerald glass chandelier in the shape of a cross.[2] Windows in the chapel show Tiffany glasswork built on the mosaic system displaying Christian themes including Christ Blessing the Evangelists and The Story of the Cross.[2] Furnishings include wooden benches. In the museum, the chapel occupies an 1,082 square feet (100 m2) area.[2]


In 1893 the then-800 square feet (74 m2) chapel was installed as a showpiece in the Manufacturers and Liberal Arts Building at the World Exhibition.[1][4] Tiffany reportedly said that "his was a chapel in which to worship art."[3] Visited by 1.4 million people it was greatly admired, brought international attention to Tiffany, and won 54 awards.[4]

After the fair, it was disassembled and placed in storage. In 1898 Celia Whipple Wallace (1833-1916) bought the chapel for $50,000 for it to be installed in the Cathedral of St. John the Divine, then under construction in Manhattan.[5] It was installed in the basement crypt with the intent to be placed in the main church. However, when Ralph Adams Cram took over as architect, the style of the cathedral was changed to "gothic"[4] and the Tiffany chapel stayed in the basement. It was in ecclesiastical use for about twelve years (1899–1911)—the only time it served as a chapel—then abandoned when the choir above was completed, and fell into disrepair. After 1916, Tiffany reacquired it, made repairs and replacements where necessary, and installed the work in its own building on his Long Island estate, Laurelton Hall. After his death in 1933, the estate changed. The Tiffany Foundation dismantled the chapel in 1949 and sold parts of it off.

After a fire in 1957 that had destroyed the main building, the remnants of the chapel were in disrepair. They were headed for destruction when Jeannette G. and Hugh F. McKean came to Laurelton Hall to recover its windows and architectural elements for the Morse Museum in Winter Park.[2] Other parts of the chapel that had been sold off were tracked down and bought back, so that the elements of the chapel could be reunited. After an extensive renovation the restored Tiffany Chapel became accessible to the public in 1999. Most of the items are original including the windows, columns, arches, decorative moldings, the altar floor, as well as most furnishings.[2] Non-original parts such as the walls, ceilings, and the floor of the nave are redesigned following descriptions of the installation at Laurelton Hall.

See also[edit]



  1. ^ a b "Tiffany's Rare 1893 Chapel Opens at the Morse Museum". Charles Hosmer Morse Museum of American Art. 1999. Retrieved January 16, 2011.
  2. ^ a b c d e f The Charles Hosmer Morse Museum of American Art. The Tiffany Chapel at the Morse Museum. Visitors' Guide, 2011.
  3. ^ a b Bishop, Phillip E. (April 17, 1999). "Tiffany Chapel Returns to Light". Orlando Sentinel. Retrieved January 18, 2011.
  4. ^ a b c Dan Hardison (May 2005). "A Chapel of Glass". The Episcopal Church and Visual Arts. Retrieved January 17, 2011.
  5. ^ "A Tiffany Chapel in Florida". Mosaic Art and Glass Art. September 5, 2007. Retrieved January 16, 2011.

External links[edit]