Types of glass:
This triptych or three-part window exemplifies the art glass style associated with Chicago’s Prairie School of Architecture. George Maher, Frank Lloyd Wright, and other architects of the School designed entire buildings including the decorative elements and furnishings.
Maher often incorporated an organic design element throughout a home in its textiles, furniture, millwork, lighting, and windows. This was called his “rhythm motif theory.” He used a thistle theme in the James A. Patten home in Evanston, Illinois, to represent Patten’s Scottish ancestry and his Presbyterian faith. The thistle pattern was one of Maher’s most complex designs.
In this window, the flower within the octagon in the central panel resembles a spider, a popular Art Nouveau motif. Additionally, a spider appears to move down each side panel from one web to the next. This window was reclaimed before the Patten house was demolished in 1938. A fireplace that matches the window currently resides at the Metropolitan Museum of Art.
The window was executed by stained glass master Louis J. Millet. Millet had considerable influence on Chicago’s Arts and Crafts movement, and his design firm produced some of the most innovative windows of the late 19th century.
Maher's Thistle Triptych is on view in the Stained Glass Masters Exhibit on the first floor of the Halim Museum.