Newcomb Art Museum of Tulane University, Erected by the Class of 1911 in Loving Memory of Marjorie Miller May 2 MDCCCXCI - August 29, MCMX
The Fountain Window was commissioned in 1911 by the Newcomb College class of that year in honor of their classmate Marjorie Miller, who died in 1910 at the age of 19. The window depicts the Newcomb Fountain, which was in front of the art administration building on the Garden District Newcomb College Campus, and shows up often as a motif in Newcomb Pottery and Newcomb arts and crafts. The window was originally installed, along with the majority of the other Tiffany windows in the museum's collection, in the Newcomb Chapel at the Garden District campus. Today, it serves as not only a memorial to a classmate who passed, but to the early Newcomb College campus, as it positioned itself as a leader of education for women in the South.
The Fountain Window is vastly different from the other Tiffany windows in the collection because it is more modern. There are no examples of drapery glass or layered panels. Every panel is single pane, meaning the glass pieces themselves are fairly opaque. In Tiffany’s earlier works, translucent pieces of glass would be layered to create opacity. In windows made before 1900 there could be up to six layers of glass in Tiffany’s major commissions. But this was a costly practice, and so his studio eventually abandoned this practice.
Another major concession seen in the Fountain Window is that it is not wrapped in copper foil, as his earlier pieces were. This results in a noticeably thicker lead line throughout the work which at points threatens the amount of detail that can be shown.
While at the end of the 19th century Tiffany glass was the leader in American Stained glass, this trajectory quickly changed into the 20th century, as memorial windows featuring romantic and nostalgic imagery fell out of fashion. To complicate the drop-in demand was the growth of competition; younger competitors were able to out-bid Tiffany’s immense studio. Concessions needed to be made in order to remain profitable, so Tiffany abandoned many of his early practices.
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