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Shop Drawings?

February 18, 2014
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Being in the midst of one of the nastiest, continuous stretches of frigid weather we’ve seen in years, our BAB projects are suspended . We certainly can’t be working on our ice-rink-of-a-roof right now, and it is even too cold to be working in the unconditioned spaces inside the BAB. Well, back in the day, we used to work through pretty much any challenging condition. We’ve become ‘soft’, I guess, or maybe more reasonable. In any case, this is a good time to catch up on past BAB topics.

As a follow up to one of Tom’s post on the New Kodak Room demolition, we did indeed find many more watercolors of stained glass window designs. We’ve found full size cartoons in the past, but this is the first set of small scale design images we’ve found.

Watercolors Found

These are all of the drawings that we’ve found arranged on our dining table. I did a light dusting, but they are in various stages of water, fire and dirt damage. The photos don’t do justice to the vivid colors.

They range in size from postage stamp scraps to tabloid, some fragments but mostly matted images. They lack an identification of where they were meant to be installed, the name of the designer or even a date of their execution, but they are attractive and give a scale representation of the final product.

These are some of the small pieces that turned up.

These are some of the small pieces that turned up.

Based on our experience, we think these were Shop Drawings- a drawing submitted by a vendor to the owner and/or architect for approval prior to fabrication. The images include notations, corrections and comments. The tiniest non-matted pieces were probably modifications pasted onto the originals which popped off over the years.

Most have a label or stamp on the back with the Jacoby name and address. The majority are from the former address on Vincent Ave., but a number have the Wilmington address.

Typical label from the Vincent Ave. location

Typical label from the Vincent Ave. location- note the reference to MENTAL PRODUCTION.

This one is signed by the Building Committee Chair.

This one is signed by the Building Committee Chair.

This one includes a stamp with the Wilmington address along with a number of other notations.

This one includes a stamp with the Wilmington address along with a number of other notations.

One even looks like it experienced fire damage. That would fit with what we were told about the previous studio being destroyed by fire.

There is a bit of char at the bottom of the page, but the image is still very crisp. Dusting off my very old catechism learning, this looks to be the stations of the cross.

There is a bit of char at the bottom of the page, but the images are still very crisp. Dusting off my very old catechism learning, this looks to represent the stations of the cross.

We think these paintings were originally stored in the cabinets that we were removing but were small enough to fall thru slots on the bottom. They might have been from older commissions, so they weren’t missed.

The designs range from very traditional figural depictions to more geometric patterns.

This one looks like it could flank a fireplace in any number of houses around the city. On the back, it is labeled "House".

This one, #5548, looks like it could flank a fireplace in any number of houses around the city. On the back, it is labeled “House”.

It makes me wonder if the studio branched out to more retail applications during slower times. There are clearly different artistic points of view in the designs and different drawing styles. I know that Jacoby had on-staff designers as well as contract designers. These could have been produced by a number of different artists.

There are quite a few depictions of Christ in various poses, beautifully rendered.

This is one of quite a few depictions of Christ in various poses, beautifully rendered.

I like how the Three Kings appear to be walking down the window.

I like how the Three Kings appear to be walking down thru the window.

This one has a floral, geometric motif, may have been for somewhere other than a church.

This one, with a floral, geometric motif, may have been for somewhere other than a church.

This is the most contemporary of the designs.

This is the most contemporary of the designs.

Pretty little nativity scene.

Very detailed, little nativity scene.

Katherine Sue Harwell

One pretty series of windows, featuring winged cherubs, was created in memory of a 10-year old girl, Katherine Sue Harwell, for a church in Muskogee, Oklahoma. I managed to find a small bit of information about that windows on-line which led me to the St. Paul United Methodist Church and gave me bones to use for a search. The current St. Paul United Methodist Church looks to be of more recent vintage than the window design. A little more digging led to some very sad information. It appears that the old church burned in 1991, destroying many of the stained glass windows. I don’t know if this was one of the lost windows- that will be a task to be added to the list of future investigations. The rest of the images will remain a mystery unless we can unlock the project numbering system.

The pencil notations are the unique information that might help us to identify the windows but they also offer an intriguing ‘window’ (har!) into the design process. One of our favorites notations is in pencil on the bottom of a relatively simple church window design. It says “NOT WANTED See architects sketch”.

Not sure why this one was rejects- very pretty, simple design.

Not sure why this one was rejected- very pretty, simple design.

Isn’t it just like an architect to strive to control all aspects of the design? I’d love to know which architect thought he was the better window designer and if the design ended up being something special.

The amazing thing about these pieces is the richness of their color. Because they were hidden in darkness for so many years, the colors did not fade. They remain very dirty, waiting until we learn the best, safest cleaning method. We are storing them in climate controlled space, in the dark, until we are motivated to do more with them.

The BAB continues to be a wealth of intriguing history and hidden treasures!

8 Comments leave one →
  1. Sue permalink*
    February 21, 2014 3:35 pm

    Heard from a relative of the founders of Jacoby:

    Hi Sue,

    While doing some family history research, I came across your B.A.B. blog and the description of the drawings from the Jacoby Art Studios. Hermann Jacoby was my great-grandfather, so hearing that these relics of his business still exist is a thrill.

    You speculated that Jacoby may have done work in places other than churches. Secular windows from the studio are installed at the Mayfair Hotel restaurant in downtown St. Louis. There are probably other places, but that’s where my mom took me every winter to look at the windows (and have oyster stew).

    I don’t know much about the business as Hermann and his son, Charles, were long gone by the time I was born. However, if there’s anything I can tell you about the family, I’d be glad to answer any questions.

    You and Tom have my unbounded admiration for the task you have taken on. I now live in San Francisco in an Edwardian, built in 1910, and keeping it going is a nearly full-time job. Reading the accounts of the work you and Tom tackle makes me feel that I have it easy.

    Best regards,
    Laura Jacoby

  2. Joanne Cooper permalink
    February 19, 2014 12:45 pm

    Thanks for sharing. I am forwarding this info to The Stained Glass Association of America. They are located in Kansas City, MO and also to the American Glass Guild. I always like to see the artwork and window info you have found on Jacoby.

    Thanks, Joanne Cooper Art Glass Creations LLC

    ________________________________

    • Sue permalink*
      February 19, 2014 12:57 pm

      Thanks Joanne! The watercolors are artworks on their own. It would be wonderful if we could find the installed windows to compare.

  3. Maurine Pruchnicki permalink
    February 19, 2014 12:08 pm

    They are indeed beautiful, Sue. I love the Nativity. I’m so glad you are preservingthem. Love, Mom

    • Sue permalink*
      February 19, 2014 12:56 pm

      Hopefully, some day we’ll figure out something to do with them so they can be protected but seen.

  4. Ruth permalink
    February 19, 2014 6:40 am

    I have 2 stained glass windows in my house that look like the drawing labelled “house”. Thanks for your post. Very interesting.

    • Sue permalink*
      February 19, 2014 12:54 pm

      There are so many pretty stained glass windows in St. Louis- we are lucky to have had so many talented artist here.

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