Every day we Annapolitans walk, drive by, work and play on hundreds of years of Western history. Our city is an old, old city and one that has played an important role in the life of our nation even before it was conceived. But how many of us know more about our rich heritage other than a few well-worn anecdotes? This Place Through Time is The Sound’s new weekly feature that tells the story of our ancient city through the words and pictures of Annapolis’ own historians, one chapter at a time.
Stained Glass in Annapolis
Annapolis is perhaps best known for its outstanding collection of eighteenth-century architecture. Or perhaps as the home of the Naval Academy. Or maybe as the site of the nation’s oldest state house in continuous legislative use. But probably not for its public art. Nonetheless, Maryland’s capital city offers an impressive array of outdoor sculpture, paintings, and stained glass in public spaces. If stained glass is your passion, here are the places in town to visit.
NB: Picture ID required for entrance to State buildings. No pocket knives or pepper spray allowed.
Tiffany skylights were installed in the Senate and House of Delegates Chambers when the annex was built in 1902–1905. The Senate Chamber skylight was restored in 1989–90; the House Chamber skylight in 1992.
Joint Hearing Room, Legislative Services Building (90 State Circle)
The rear wall of the Joint Hearing Room contains three panels of Tiffany glass. The large central panel features the obverse of the 1648 seal of Cecilius Calvert, second Lord Baltimore. The flanking panels depict the obverse and reverse of the seal of Maryland as adopted by the legislature in 1874. The panels were originally designed for the Court of Appeals building, which stood on this site from 1903 until 1972. The Court of Appeals dome, formerly installed in this room, is now located in the Miller Senate Building.
Thomas V. Mike Miller Jr. Senate Building (11 Bladen Street)
The rotunda of the Miller Senate Building contains the leaded glass skylight designed by Louis Comfort Tiffany for the new Court of Appeals building in 1903. When the building was razed in 1972, the dome and panels were reinstalled in the Joint Hearing Room. The dome moved for a third time to be the crowning glory of the new Senate office building, which opened in 2001. Twenty feet in diameter, the dome was constructed in forty-nine sections. The central section spans three feet; the other forty-eight pieces form twelve surrounding pie-shaped sections.
St. Anne’s Church
The present church, the third on this site, contains stained glass windows created by several of the leading firms working in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Tiffany Studios made two of the windows. The third window on the south side of the church, which shows St. Anne instructing her young daughter, the Virgin Mary, was first shown at the Columbia Exposition in Chicago in 1893. The demi-lune transom window above the south door was a 1914 memorial portraying the angel of Resurrection proclaiming the Gospel of Charity. The rear window on the north side, dating from 1903, depicts Christ walking on water to relieve his frightened disciples. This window was fabricated by the firm of Heinigke and Bowen. The Mayer and Company firm of Munich and London created two of the St. Anne’s windows: the next-to-rear window on the north side, which shows the meeting of the Virgin Mary and St. Anne, and the adjoining window, showing the Presentation of Christ in the temple.
United States Naval Academy Chapel
Four of the chapel windows in the apse and transept are the work of Tiffany Studios;
one was crafted by the Gorham Company, which created stained glass windows in the early 1900s. The Class of 1869 donated the Tiffany window at the end of the apse as a memorial to Admiral David Dixon Porter, Academy superintendent from 1865 to 1869. The Gorham window in the right transept is a memorial to Admiral David Glasgow Farragut, commemorating his victory over Confederate forces at Mobile Bay in 1864. The Archangel Michael provides guidance through the bay’s mine fields; below, Farragut observes the battle while lashed to the rigging of his ship. The Tiffany window in the left transept, with its winged angel of peace, was a gift in 1909 to commemorate Admiral William Thomas Sampson’s victory in the battle of Santiago in 1898 during the Spanish-American War. Tiffany’s “Commission Invisible” window, to the right of the Farragut window in the right transept, was a gift of the Class of 1927. The “Sir Galahad” window, to the left of the Sampson window in the left transept, is the oldest window in the present chapel, having been made by Tiffany for the earlier, second chapel.
Otto Heinigke, a leader in the stained glass revival movement in America, who was influenced by European medieval stained glass, was one of the first to combine that technique of painted pot metal glass with the contemporary opalescent glass used by Tiffany.
Louis Comfort Tiffany (1848 – 1933) was the son of Charles Tiffany, owner of the eponymous jewelry company. Although Tiffany began his career as a painter, he is best known for his work with opalescent stained glass. Tiffany established the Tiffany Glass Company in 1883. The firm, which operated under a succession of names until 1902 when it became Tiffany Studios, ceased operation in 1932, a victim of the Depression.
About the author:
Jean Russo is a native New Yorker who has lived in Maryland for many years. She has a Ph.D. in colonial history from The Johns Hopkins University, works part time for the Maryland State Archives and Historic Annapolis Foundation, and does volunteer and freelance work for most of the historical entities in town and in the Four Rivers Heritage Area. She is co-editor of Colonial Chesapeake Society and The Diary of William Faris . . . An Annapolis Silversmith. Ms. Russo is a founding member of the Annapolis History Consortium.
The Annapolis History Consortium is an informal organization of professional and amateur historians who meet about ten times a year to discuss issues, places, and events pertaining to area history. The more than one hundred members of the Consortium’s online group discuss issues and answer questions online.