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.
More information on the Battell Chapel facilities.
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.
The Battell Chapel Tiffany windows – photo by Christopher Little
Chapel Windows Project
While the Tiffany Windows need only a good cleaning and new protective glass to replace the badly weathered Lexan covering on the outside, the Armstrong windows badly need complete restoration, including removal, disassembly and re-leading.
A special Chapel Windows Project has been initiated to raise funds for restoration, repairs, and maintenance. The Norfolk community and any one interested in fine, historical stained glass is invited to participate, with the Church of Christ family starting off the campaign in April 2016. The aim for the project is 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.
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.
Please consider the value of Battell Chapel to your family and to the town of Norfolk, and then give generously to this project. Special Chapel Windows Project envelopes are available. Donors may choose to spread multiple gifts over the duration of the project.
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 21, 2017 a total of $160,635 has been raised for the project. A total of $122,230 has been spent. $38,405 is available, enough to complete Phase III (Tiffany Room). Matching Grants will help us raise additional funds for Phase IV (side Chapel windows) as well as to cover additional contingency costs.
Further Background on the Windows Project
In 2009 a group of church members convened to determine the condition and maintenance needs for the stained glass windows in Battell Chapel, including the Tiffany Windows. Multiple experts presented study results and bids for needed repairs. The consensus of the study group was that the three Chapel altar windows were seriously in need of repair and that all other windows (including the Tiffany Windows) also needed some repair and maintenance. The church having just finished the three-year Dare to Dream capital campaign, the cost of $157,000 for this work in 2010 prevented the study group from coming forth with any recommended actions at that time.
Another group came together in mid 2015 to take up the cause of the Chapel Windows again. Revised costs for the stained glass work now total around $240,000. A small portion of associated expense is included in the capital improvement portion of the church budget. The bulk of the funds needed for this project will be raised outside the annual church operating budget. Grants are being sought and community-wide solicitations and fund-raising events are being held. Tiffany Windows tours are being promoted to attract attention to the wonderful experience available in Battell Chapel.