The tail feathers of the peacocks are made of bits of glass in the “broken jewel” technique; each peony blossom is a single piece of glass molded to catch the light differently through the day. La Farge layered his colored glass as a painter would build glazes of colors to achieve the right shade. For the composition, he borrowed from many cultures: the central panels with the bird and flower motif evoke Chinese and Japanese screens; the lower panels emulate Pompeian architecture; and the transoms above recall the tympanum above the door to a Romanesque cathedral.
Exhibition Label, Smithsonian American Art Museum, 2006
This pair of stained-glass windows by John La Farge reflects the Gilded Age’s fascination with medieval art and craftsmanship. These windows were commissioned by Frederick Lothrop Ames, a railroad magnate who had them installed in the vast, opulent hall of his Boston home. For this composition, La Farge borrowed from many cultures: the central panels evoke Chinese and Japanese screens; the lower panels emulate Pompeian architecture; and the transoms recall the tympanum above the door of a Romanesque cathedral.
Smithsonian American Art Museum: Commemorative Guide. Nashville, TN: Beckon Books, 2015.
Peacocks and Peonies I
- frame: 112 x 51 1⁄4 x 6 1⁄2 in. (284.5 x 130.3 x 16.5 cm)
- Credit Line
Smithsonian American Art Museum
Gift of Henry A. La Farge
- Mediums Description
- stained glass window
- Object – flower – peony
- Animal – bird – peacock
- Object Number
- Linked Open Data
- Linked Open Data URI