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An Abundance of Opalescent Glass:



George Hardy Payne




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

  • Painting on faces, hands, and feet

  • Mostly one layer

  • Not dated


With twelve sections, this is one of the largest windows in the Museum’s collection. It was originally installed in Ebenezer Evangelical United Brethren Church in Allentown, Pennsylvania. The Payne Studios produced this window, and their signature is in the bottom center panel. It is unusual that the signature includes the firm’s trademark.


  • A significant amount of drapery glass was used to create the robes, which flow and drape like real fabric. The artist also used drapery glass to depict the plants.

  • Notice the difference in the structural supporting bars in this window. In most American School windows, the bars are placed to minimally impact the design of the windows. Here, possibly due in part to the heavy weight of this large window, the bars cut through the images.

  • This window does not have as many layers as the other windows in the collection. The density of the opalescent glass makes additional layers unnecessary.

This window depicts the miracle of the Transfiguration of Jesus:

After six days Jesus took with him Peter, James and John the brother of James, and led them up a high mountain by themselves. 2 There he was transfigured before them. His face shone like the sun, and his clothes became as white as the light. 3 Just then there appeared before them Moses and Elijah, talking with Jesus. (Matthew 17: 1–3)

Detail of Transfiguration

Detail of Transfiguration

George Hardy Payne

George Hardy Payne Studios

George Hardy Payne Studios was incorporated in 1910, but its roots go further back. George Hardy Payne’s father, George Hardy, worked as head painter for Clayton and Bell Studios, one of the most successful stained glass workshops in England, before immigrating to the United States.

George Payne opened a glass studio in Orange, New Jersey. The Penelope Waiting for Ulysses to Return from War window, which is on display in the main staircase of the Thomas Edison home in West Orange, New Jersey, is attributed to George Payne. Dated circa 1880, it is one of the earliest known Payne windows in the United States. He also worked on windows at Grace Episcopal Church and St. Patrick’s Cathedral, both in New York City.

George Hardy Payne succeeded his father in business. He relocated the firm to Paterson, New Jersey, and officially named it George Hardy Payne Studios. By World War I, the studio had eighty-six employees. George Leslie Payne worked with his father George Hardy Payne for several years before the latter died in 1927. George Leslie Payne died in 1979 at which time his wife sold the business.

George Hardy Payne Studio windows are a blend of American and English styles. As is characteristic of American windows, they contain opalescent glass, layered glass, and drapery opalescent glass. However, both the liberal use of painted glass and the window structures are English in character. Structural support bars are generally not incorporated into the design of the windows and instead cut across the images. In most American school windows, however, the bars are placed to minimally impact the design.

Payne Studio windows were installed in houses of worship throughout the United States. Our Transfiguration window provides a fine example of the religious art done by this firm.

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