Sacristy Special

September 10, 2016

In the Church of St James the Less, a landmark gothic revival church in what were once fields near the city of Phiadelphia, d’Ogries did some spectacular but difficult to photograph lancets in the new sacristy built in 1930 and the windows were dedicated that same year. There are several in fact but of the photos I took only these four details are useful for this blog.

St Dunstan.

ST Hilda

St Gregory

Archbishop Warham

Please note the exceptional delicacy of the drawing – these are some of his finest, in my opinion, and I hope one day to get better full photos of these tiny windows.


In a Time of War Continued…

July 24, 2016


Another off kilter view due to the unfortunate placement of the gallery at St Mary’s Church Wayne, PA. Here St Cornelius the Centurion is the companion window to the previously discussed St Joan of Arc. But in going over my photos from Wayne I noticed how many of the windows were in fact memorials from the Second World War. There are even more.

The war, while it took many lives from the parish, was bountiful in it’s “gift” of memorial windows. This one, like the one of St Joan, is a thank offering for all those men of the parish who served rather than for a lost soldier or sailor.

I am not completely satisfied with this example. While there is some of his characteristic variety in color, it’s not as bold as other examples in the same series. I like the border concept – the oak leaves (for valour) and the red, white, and blue ribbons, there is little to no variation in it. Perhaps he was tired, or involved with other projects. Certainly he spends a lot of time on incident and the draughtsmanship is sure.

The Best of the Best ?

April 26, 2016

I have posted some details of these windows before but here is the series of four from the baptistery of The Church of The Good Shepherd in Rosemont Pennsylvania. The first photo isn’t the best as it was a very sunny day.

The Expulsion from the Garden of Eden

The Annunciation to the Blessed Virgin Mary

The Nativity of Jesus

The Baptism of Jesus by John the Baptist

The sheer delight in technique, exquisite draughtsmanship, playful details, and crystalline color makes these, to my thinking, some of his finest work, certainly the finest I have seen.

Merry Christmas

December 31, 2015


Again with the comparisons! The first Nativity window is from the St Joseph’s chapel in the old parish house at The Church of St James the Less in Philadelphia and the second in the baptistery of the Church of the Good Shepherd in Rosemont a few mies away. Done at different times, the Rosemont window represents a more refined design, though the St James window suffers from having an awkward squat shape as opposed to the elongated more truly gothic shape of the second example. But both examples show his play with the local color and though the canopy-work is essentially the same format and style, the figures are not mere repeats of previous cartoons – something that most stained glass firms tend to abuse.

I hope in time to get images of the other windows in the chapel at St James the Less. The chapel is no longer used as such, but is a classroom in the excellent middle school that was established a few years ago at the parish. Happily the school values the stained glass as well as the marvelous parish church which they use as a school chapel.

The Passion

January 4, 2014


These cartoons are from a group of three possibly related for a church or project unknown to me (D’Ogries’ work is concentrated largely in the New York, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania region though my recent post from Chicago’s St Thomas the Apostle shows his reach into the mid-west).

In the first we have Peter (identifiable by his shorter beard and haircut) with other disciples and possibly Mary Magdalene kneeling in the foreground. I have been unable to photograph the central crucifixion panel due to its size but suffice it to say it is stark.

In the second – the right hand light of the triple light window – we have Mary and the Beloved Disciple at the foot of the cross. Note the austere and modern dramatic composition. Several spears from the Roman soldiers appear to cross from one light into the next – something a truly ” early gothic” window would not have done. Though these are modern in their feeling, the bits of framework indicated suggest they are from a traditional setting.

More New Finds !

January 3, 2014


Two more windows from Chicago’s St Thomas the Apostle Catholic Church. The first is a detail – a half figure – of St Ephrem of Edessa, a Doctor of the Church, and shows d’Ogries at his most daring. While he uses the elements of his 14th c mannerisms – he weds them here to the art deco style of the building. The portrayal is strange and powerful.

The second is a lower light from a full window – here showing the Magi presenting gifts to the Christ Child. I would love to see the upper light – and in fact I hope one day to see all of this remarkable glass!

Again I am indebted to the Facebook page of the parish.

A further reference has come to light: “The stained glass windows from the d’Ogries Studios of New Hope, Connecticut [sic], portray the Greek and Latin fathers of the early church. Some of their faces were derived fro photographs of contemporary people adn protraits of historicalfigures: Msgr. T.V. Shannon who was pastor when the church was built (St. Gregory the Great), Cardinal Mundelein (St. Augustine), President Coolidge (St. Bede), George Washington (St. John Chrysostom), and Thomas Jefferson (St. Bernard). Page 165, of “Chicago Churches and Synagogues: An Architectural Pilgrimage” by George A. Lane, S.J. 1981

New Finds

January 3, 2014


Recently I was contacted by a parishioner of St Thomas the Apostle Church in Chicago – a noted building designed originally by the Art Deco architect Barry Byrne – regarding the 30 stained glass windows in that stunning church. Regrettably I had little or no information to pass on, but the glass, all of it, was done by d’Ogries shortly after the building was erected in 1924. Unable to find better examples, I have nonetheless found three small lower lights from the windows on the parish Facebook page!

First is the double image of St Thomas and of St Lucy – classic d’Ogries works, beautifully realized, though the glass obviously needs careful cleaning. While the church itself is a careful blending of Art Deco and High Gothic, the glass refers back to the later stylistically.

The second photo is horribly over exposed, but I include it for the general composition of the Resurrection with sleeping soldiers at the open tomb. I would dearly love to see the full image of the window, which depicts St Irenaeus of Lyons.

The last of these small lights dates the piece well with the inclusion of various modern methods of transportation – locomotive, aeroplane, steamship and automobile – traffic signals included!

One other small find is a tiny decorative panel intended to be hung in a clear window – this was in an online auction. Dated 1957, it depicts instruments of the Passion and I suspect was intended as a gift or a commission from a cleric or other pious person. It shows his gift at contemporary composition.

Production, huh?

September 12, 2012

When my mentor, artist Bolton Morris, first met Val d’Ogries at his studio near New Hope PA, d’Ogries asked Bo where he was working. Bolton replied – “E J Byrne Studios”. “Oh, said d’Ogries – so watcha doin there – Production, Huh?” Scoffing at a studio that often produced a large series of pieces or produced the same image repeatedly.

Here’s an example of the great Valentine François d’Ogries “in production”. Below is a photo of one example, St Mary’s Wayne, PA carved in the 1930s, that was destroyed by fire in 1969, while above is nearly the identical rood produced, designed, carved and polychromed for Christ Church Bordentown, NJ across the river from d’Ogries’ studio. I doesn’t represent him at his best surely, as he was a great stained glass man, but it does show the breadth of his “production” ! He produced another sculptural project at St MAry’s that I will discuss at a later date.


More in Black and White

November 24, 2011

Here belatedly are two cartoons – nary a drop of color anywhere.

The first, St Anthony the Great is for one of his clerestory windows at Rosemont. The second St Radulf of Bourges is for a location unknown to me.  While St Anthony has the usual emblems dashed about on the sketch, St Radulf (or Rodolphe or Raoul), as obscure a saint as I have ever come across, has nothing save his initial. It’s as lovely a stained glass cartoon as I have ever seen and I only wish I knew where the window was ( or even if it was ever executed). St Radulf, born ca 800 was archbishop of Bourges. He died in 866.

[If you click on the thumbnails they will expand.]

Comparisons are odious

May 28, 2011

Sometimes they are not.

Here are examples (one from my previous post on Henry Wynd Young, one by d’Ogries and a third by Bolton Morris) of three church artists’ take on St Dunstan, patron saint of church artists. As I mentioned previously there is a genealogy, and an inheritance, passed from one teacher to the next and Young, d’Ogries, and my mentor Bolton Morris were in a direct line of descent. For more of Morris’ work see:

How does one make comparisions? First d’Ogries’ take  is more elegant (and he used the charming tongs as an emblem wherewith he caught the devil’s nose!)  while Young’s drawing is more conventional.  Yet, for all d’Ogries’ interest in modern art (and he surely was interested in it), Young’s color is much more abstract in this example. Morris then (though this is merely a woodcut and not an example of his glass) moves on fully in the vein of abstract art that made d’Ogries jealous as he wanted to work in a fully modern vein, yet was constrained by his clients to “give them 15th century”.

The d’Ogries example is from the sacristy of the Church of St James the Less in Philadelphia – the first example of ecclesiological gothic architecture in the New World. I’ll be following up with examples of all his lovely tiny sacristy windows in the next post.