Battell Chapel in Norfolk, Connecticut is a gem! It has been called “one of the masterpieces of [architect J. Cleveland] Cady’s ecclesiastical work”. Battell Chapel has served as a place of beauty, inspiration, and activity for the Church of Christ and for the Norfolk community since it was given in memory of Joseph and Sarah Battell by daughter Urania Battell Humphrey in 1888. The Tiffany Windows (pictured below), added as a gift by Ellen Battell Stoeckel in 1928, have become an important attraction for Norfolk tourism, drawing many visitors each year.If you would like to schedule a tour for yourself or for a group, please use the contact us form below and we will be in touch soon.
Stained Glass in Battell Chapel
At the west end of the Battell Chapel, spectacular in the sunset, are three large stained glass windows, shown above. These windows were designed by D. Maitland Armstrong of opalescent glass, then a new style for window work. Armstrong had spent the past six years working alongside his good friend and fellow artist, Louis Comfort Tiffany. Armstrong and Tiffany, along with their colleague John Lafarge, made significant contributions to new forms of opalescent and layering techniques, including freely using large “gem” pieces of glass in designs, which creates great depth of field and a shimmering effect with the sunlight. Here is what Wikipedia has to say about the stained glass work of Armstrong.
At the other end of the chapel are five smaller but beautifully designed windows by Armstrong’s more famous colleague, Louis Comfort Tiffany. These windows depict the four seasons, with the center window showing a brilliant sunrise, taking it’s theme from the “Sun of Righteousness” wording on the central Armstrong window. The two leftmost windows are “Promise” (Spring) and “Realization” (Summer), with “Fulfillment” (Autumn) and “Rest” (Winter) on the right.
Chapel Windows Project
In 2015 the Tiffany Windows needed only a good cleaning and new protective glass to replace the badly weathered Lexan covering on the outside. The Armstrong windows badly needed complete restoration, including removal, disassembly and re-leading.
A special Chapel Windows Project was initiated to raise funds for restoration, repairs, and maintenance. The Norfolk community and any one interested in fine, historical stained glass was invited to participate, with the Church of Christ family starting off the campaign in April 2016. The aim for the project was to raise a total of $300,000 in two years. The plan consists of four phases:
Phase I – Restore the Chapel’s center altar Armstrong window
Phase II – Restore the Chapel’s 2 side altar Armstrong windows
Phase III – Repair the Tiffany Windows and all glass in the Tiffany Room
Phase IV – Restore the Chapel’s 4 Armstrong side windows
Other – Cover all extra associated costs
By October 2016 sufficient funds had been raised to begin the work. One Tiffany window (“Sun of Righteousness”) was removed and sent to Glass Source Studio in Shelton, CT to repair a serious crack. Later in October the Armstrong center altar window was removed and transported to the studio for total restoration. In December the Tiffany Sunrise window was re-installed. The exterior cover for the Sunrise window was replaced with clear safety glass.
At the end of March 2017 the beautifully restored center altar window was re-installed and the exterior cover was replaced with clear glass, completing Phase I. At that same time the south altar window was removed and taken to the studio for restoration, beginning Phase II. On August 1, 2017 the south altar window was re-installed (with clear glass exterior cover) and the north altar window was removed for restoration. On November 14, 2017 the restored north altar window was re-installed (with clear glass exterior cover), completing Phase II. In March of 2018 the four Tiffany seasons windows were cleaned and repaired, with clear safety glass exterior covers installed. The Tiffany Room was also replastered and a replica of the original parlor fireplace was installed. In August of 2018 Phase IV began with the restoration of the southwest (portico) chapel side window. As funds have become available in 2019 the northwest chapel side window restoration is under way.
For a look at the beginning of Phase I on October 24, 2016 and to see the amazing layering technique in Tiffany stained glass see our Picture of the Week for October 30, 2016. To see some pictures of the reinstallation of the Center Altar Armstrong Window see our Picture of the Week for March 28, 2017.
Contact the Chapel Windows group (Marie Civco, Shelley Harms, Barry Webber, or Nels White) with any questions, or use the contact us form below.
One-Time Contributions to the Windows Project can be also made below. Thank you! If you are able to make a pledge of continuing support, please visit the Windows Pledge page.
Project Status Update
As of November 22, 2019 Phase I and Phase II of the Battell Chapel Windows Project (3 chapel altar windows) have been completed, with Phase III (Tiffany Room windows) mostly done and Phase IV (4 chapel side windows) started. A grand total of $222,130 has been raised for the project.
The Project Team decided to make some changes starting in 2018 and 2019:
In order to accommodate new and significant efforts for Church Steeple Repair, we will curtail active fund raising for the Windows Project.
Remaining funds on hand will be used to continue Phase IV by restoring the northwest chapel side window. We will use only unsolicited donations, grants, notecard sales, tour receipts, etc. to complete the project. The remaining chapel side windows will be restored over time as funds become available. They have been reexamined and do not show imminent signs of collapse. They will continue to be monitored, with emergency repairs made if required, until all restoration can be completed.
Improvements will be made to the Tiffany Room to go along with the work done on the Tiffany Windows.