Window 5 – Nativity


Lower Subject: Nativity

Inscription:    none

Dedication:     In memory of Sue Young Lallande and John James Lallande, Louise Lallande Hoyt and Lindley Murray Ferris

Maker/Date:  Wilbur Herbert Burnham, Boston, Massachusetts, 1943

Background –   This was the last window added to St. George’s and was donation outside the Parish.

Wilbur Herbert Burnham, born in Boston in 1887, was an artist and master craftsman in stained glass. Burnham was commissioned to design windows for churches and cathedrals in the United States and in Europe. Among his most notable works are windows in the Cathedral of Sts. Peter and Paul, Washington DC, the Cathedral of St. John the Divine and Riverside Church in New York City, Princeton University Chapel, and the American Church in Paris. Burnham founded his studio in 1922  at 1126 Boylston Street, Boston; and later, Wakefield, MA under the direction of Wilbur Herbert Burnham, Jr, his son. Burnham died in 1974. The studio was later sold in 1982 though the records were given to the Smithsonian.

Burnham was a member of the Neo-Gothic school.  The most prominent spokesman for the Gothic Revival was . He lectured widely and wrote , the most respected and eloquent publication on the art form in the twentieth century. Connick expressed the opinion that stained glass’s first job was to serve the architectural effect; this opinion was in sharp contrast to the painterly effect that had dominated during the Tiffany era

In a 1935 article in the journal Stained Glass, Burnham expressed his views about the importance of the medieval tradition in the harmony of the primary colors, red, blue, and yellow, with the complementary orange, green, and violet typical of his windows. His studies of medieval windows demonstrated that reds and blues should predominate and be in good balance – he believed “blues” had been over stressed. Burnham also noted that windows should maintain high luminosity under all light conditions with depth of color and amount of pigment useful in controlling glare in variably intense light. Burnham agreed with the concept of unity in multiple windows, which are most easily created when there has been an early, consistent policy by church leaders in collaboration with the designer.

They imitated the color palette of Chartres, principally red and blue, with touches of secondary colors. They imitated the forms, medallion windows for the aisles and large figures for the clerestories. They imitated medieval figure drawing, once called “stained glass attitudes.” Since the ideal in the church was a “dim religious light” they imitated the patina of the ages with thin washes of glass paint and picked out highlights.

All the color was in the glass and moved away from Tiffany’s use of painting.  Colored glass, known as “metal” was made by adding various metallic oxides to the crucibles in which the glass was melted.  Cobalt gave blue, copper green, iron red, gold cranberry, silver yellows and gold, copper makes greens and brick red.

Description – . The star and the Baby Jesus neatly divide the scene with a touch of the rose for new life just above Jesus.  Mary and Joseph on the right are clearly separated from the visitors on the left. It is very iconoic , inclusive and balanced – the two shepherds, one King and the angel strumming a lute on the left against the other characters. The colors are both vivid and varied. The blue sky provides a backup against the red wings of the angel, the cow, and the different color of the halos. The clothes are multi-colored  – red, blues and different shades of green. The figures are European and could have been taken from Renaissance or earlier European painting.

This is a bright window, especially in the full sunlight that reinforces the event. The use of small pieces of multicolored glass creates the effect. This contrasts with the Church’s Tiffany window where the figures could be indistinguished from a painting.    The characters are definity those of windows without the preciseness of the Tiffany approach with the use of staining different pieces of glass.

Burnham’s must have thought of the interplay of the sun coming through the window.  The morning sun shining through the window comes right through the star projecting star rays on the upper gallery.


Upper Subject:          Christ the King


Inscription:    INHS

The upper subject projects the baby Jesus into Christ the King image.