A 150-year-old stained glass window in a local church is getting a much needed facelift.
Grace Episcopal’s Bolton Brothers stained-glass window, installed at the City Island church in 1863, is getting repaired thanks two grants from the Episcopal Diocese of New York and the New York Landmarks Conservancy, as well as about $9,000 in pledges from the parishioners, said life-long parishioner Karen Nani.
Nani, who is part of a church committee overseeing repairs, said that the window – which includes three panels – are an example of those made by the Bolton Brothers, a family that were the first manufacturers of figural stained glass windows in the United States.
The earliest examples of their work date back to the 1840s, with examples to be found in Christ Church in Pelham, N.Y., St. Ann Holy Trinity in Brooklyn, and the Metropolitan Museum of Art in Manhattan.
“The whole congregation feels that it is a work of art and that it is our duty to make sure it is good shape after 150 years and ready for the next 150 years,” she said.
The window depicts the Trial of Christ, with Jesus seen in the center of the three window panels in a purple tunic, and Pontius Pilate to his right, dressed in green and washing his hands of Jesus. It is located above the church altar.
The condition of the window had been worsening in recent years, said Nani, with cracks and small holes becoming visible. Superstorm Sandy really made the committee go into overtime to get the window repaired.
“When Hurricane Sandy hit, we could see that things were worsening,” said Nani.
The window had some slapdash repairs in the 1950s, little more than patch work, but the technology may not have been available then to repair the window to the form it will be in when the $25,000 project is complete, she added.
The window is currently being restored by Rohlf’s Stained and Leaded Glass in Mount Vernon, N.Y. Almost 90% of the money for the repairs has been collected or pledged.
The New York Landmarks Conservancy grant funded almost a third of the project as part of its Sacred Sites grant program, said NYLC grants manager Colleen Heemeyer.
“We do give grants for all kinds of stained glass,” she said. “We are interested in having it preserved because it is part of the historic fabric of this particular church, but also because of the historical significance of it being a Bolton Brothers window.”
The Episcopal Diocese of New York grant totaled $7,000, said Nani.