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The artful windows of Boston College
On January 10, 1914, University President Thomas I. Gasson, SJ, commissioned a Boston artist, Thomas Murphy, to create the first stained-glass window at Boston College—”St. Patrick and King Laoghaire at Tara,” the centerpiece of Gasson 100. Over the following years, hundreds more windows would be added throughout the growing campus.
Murphy’s work and that of three other early 20th-century artists—Alexander Locke, Richard King, and Earl Edward Sanborn—are showcased in Transforming Light: The Stained-Glass Windows of Boston College, a 162-page coffee table–size volume from Linden Lane Press at Boston College. The book, which features 200 color photographs by BCM photography editor Gary Wayne Gilbert, begins with a survey of Boston College architecture by Jeffery Howe, a fine arts professor at the University, and with a general history of stained glass by Virginia C. Raguin, an art historian at the College of the Holy Cross. (The art form originated in the Middle Ages as a way to tell stories from the Scriptures and has been referred to as “a Bible for the illiterate.”)
The windows of Boston College tell stories of Christian and Celtic history, depict the elements of a Jesuit education, (from fine arts to the “useful arts”), portray great Americans, and celebrate the likes of Shakespeare and Chaucer. The book is available from the BC Bookstore, below.
Read more by Thomas Cooper