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Charles Merrill Memorial Window

Decorative Arts and Design

By 1900 the achievements in stained glass of Louis C. Tiffany, John La Farge, and the Lamb studio had received international recognition. Building on innovations in opalescent glass and plating, or layering, Walter Cole Brigham added a novel and literal naturalism to his landscape windows by the inclusion of seashells and quartz river stones. Trained as a painter, Brigham christened his artistic invention "Marine Mosaic."

Working in his studio on Shelter Island off the eastern end of Long Island, Brigham crafted Marine Mosaics from 1901 until about 1915. The large evocative window on display was commissioned in 1911 by Abigail Merrill in memory of her husband Charles and installed in the chapel of the Home for Aged Men, 745 Classon Avenue Brooklyn, where it remained until the 1960s, when the building was razed.

Although he was applauded in his own day, Brigham's reputation faded and now he is little known. His Marine Mosaics were, however, a unique and important contribution to the history of stained glass in America.

MEDIUM Glass, shells, pebbles
DATES ca. 1910
DIMENSIONS 74 3/8 x 78 1/8in. (188.9 x 198.4cm)  (show scale)
MARKINGS no marks
SIGNATURE Not signed
INSCRIPTIONS no inscriptions
CREDIT LINE Gift of The Roebling Society, Mrs. Frank K. Sanders, Mrs. Hollis K. Thayer and H. Randolph Lever Fund and the Frank L. Babbott Fund
CATALOGUE DESCRIPTION Window, Marine mosaic of glass, shells, and pebbles, rectangular in shape with pointed Gothic arch at top. Scene depicted is of a body of water, possibly an inlet, surrounded on three sides by land, with trees, grass and flowers. Sky is streaked with orange and red as if depicting sunset. Three large trees in foreground. Left is fruit bearing; two trees in foreground are conifers. Trees in background appear to be fruit bearing. CONDITION - Old repairs. Otherwise good. Restored by preparator 1970. Prior to restoration, had a few pieces missing (minor), and some loose pieces.
MUSEUM LOCATION This item is not on view
CAPTION W. Cole Brigham (American, 1870–1941). Charles Merrill Memorial Window, ca. 1910. Glass, shells, pebbles, 74 3/8 x 78 1/8in. (188.9 x 198.4cm). Brooklyn Museum, Gift of The Roebling Society, Mrs. Frank K. Sanders, Mrs. Hollis K. Thayer and H. Randolph Lever Fund and the Frank L. Babbott Fund, 70.3. Creative Commons-BY (Photo: Brooklyn Museum, 70.3_SL1.jpg)
IMAGE overall, 70.3_SL1.jpg. Brooklyn Museum photograph
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