The Virginia Museum of Fine Arts is a top U.S. art museum with more than 5,000 years of art from around the world.
The Magnolia and Apple Blossom window was commissioned for George E. Dimock for the Study in his Elizabeth, New Jersey home. This nine-paneled window, which is segmented into three sections, looked out onto a garden in which magnolia and apple trees were planted, Tiffany’s design ensured that Dimock could enjoy the blossoms all year round, just as we can today. The width of the walls in between the sections of the window in the current installation is based on photographs of the window from Dimock’s home. The building has since been destroyed, but the window was thankfully saved, turning up in a descendant’s garage in the 1970s. It was in this garage that the late Fred Brandt, curator of the Lewis Collection of Decorative Arts, examined the window, leading to its purchase for the museum’s collection.
Rich foliage reaches up on either side of this nine-paneled window, meeting to form an arch in the central top section. Flowering apple blossoms are depicted on the left, and magnolia blooms on the right. The tree stems are formed of grooved lead or cames, and while the lead realistically simulates tree bark, it also provides physical support to the glass in the frame. The illusion of three-dimensions in this window is achieved through different techniques, employed by Tiffany Studios’ glassmakers. Drapery glass— a technique that involves folding and bending glass— gives shape to the petals and leaves; confetti glass— a method in which small, irregular shapes of glass are embedded into or fused to a sheet of glass— creates a delicate clutter of color amid and behind the trees to create a canopy of petals. This process fractures light into many shades of color as it passes through the surface of the window. Finally, plating where different colored glasses are layered on top of one another, gives the illusion of texture and depth while producing subtle color in the tree canopies.
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