John the Baptist

Work by Edward Peck Sperry:

John the Baptist

John the Baptist

EDWARD PECK SPERRY

  • Types of glass: 1. Opalescent 2. Granite 3. Drapery 4. Striated 5. Nodular

  • Painting on faces, hands, and feet

  • Multiple Layers

  • 1907

 

This window was originally installed in St. John’s Episcopal Church in Elizabeth, New Jersey. Edward Peck Sperry created this window after his work for Tiffany had ended, and it differs significantly from the windows he designed for that firm. The signature and date appear below the figures in the left panel.

SPECIAL FEATURES

  • The painting techniques and design seen here are different than in windows produced by Tiffany Studios. The styles of artists often changed after their affiliation with Tiffany had ended because they no longer operated under his design restrictions.

  • The bigger pieces of drapery glass in this window are possibly plated behind with smaller pieces. There is not much plating in this window; it is mainly one layer.

BIBLICAL STORY OF THE WINDOW

This window features John the Baptist who according to scriptures baptized many in the Jordan River. He is best known for baptizing Jesus Christ whom he appears with in the left panel. In the right panel, he is portrayed as a boy with his mother, St. Elizabeth.

John the Baptist

Edward Peck Sperry

Detail of John the Baptist

Detail of John the Baptist

Edward Peck Sperry

Edward Peck Sperry

(1850-1925)

Edward Peck Sperry entered the Yale School of Fine Arts in 1875. He left after about two years to study in Paris and then at the American Academy in Rome. He eventually completed his Bachelor of Fine Arts at Yale in 1903.

Sperry designed stained glass for Tiffany for more than ten years from 1888 until 1902. After working for Tiffany, Sperry worked for Gorham & Company where he was designer-in-chief of the window department from 1904 to 1906. Sperry also designed for the Church Glass & Decorating Company where he was possibly a founding partner.

While working for Tiffany, Sperry designed the memorial windows for the signers of the Mayflower compact. This was one of his most noted design projects for Tiffany. The windows were created for the Society of Mayflower Descendants and are in the First Parish Plymouth Meetinghouse in Plymouth, Massachusetts.

Sperry designed several works with Chicago connections. At the 1893 Columbian Exposition, he exhibited a watercolor design for a window for Potter Palmer. The Exposition was in Chicago, and Palmer spent most of his career as a prominent businessman in that city. Palmer built several buildings along State Street in Chicago on property he owned, including the famous Palmer House Hotel.

Sperry also designed a window for the Armour Institute of Technology (now the Illinois Institute of Technology) in Chicago. In 1904, he created an Ivanhoe-themed window for the University of Chicago. Although currently in storage, it is one of the largest opalescent windows in the United States.

The John the Baptist window in our Collection is signed by Sperry. It is from the period after his work for Tiffany and Gorham.