Stained Glass Haven, Gothic Yale Style

Libraries are an incredible center of learning. The dignity which comes with evoking knowledge is in the references which are evoked, and in this regard, the Sterling Library at Yale University, one of the most elaborate buildings on the college campus, is an exceptional take on stained glass. The some 3,000 hand-decorated windows in the library evokes strong images of the university’s interactions with the town of New Haven.

DSC_4613Whether the glass paintings depict history or literature, characters from the play MacBeth, or even small insects, the truly haunting and Gothic building lures all travelers and tourists in. The building was bequeathed by New York attorney John W. Sterling, a graduate from Yale in 1864. Upon his death in 1918, Mr. Sterling left most of his estate to Yale University, to “create one magnificent and useful building which would act as a memorial of his affection for his alma mater,” according to the school university’s website.

In total, there are some 3,300 hand-decorated windows in the library. They depict everything from fiction to history and even small insects on otherwise unadorned panes created to look real.

The sculpting in the building was mostly done by a talented young architect Rene P. Chambellan, whose influences ranged a visceral selection of illustrations, symbols ranging from nature to those of mythological significance, philosophic, religious, and weaving a tapestry of Yale’s own significance within the spectrum of knowledge and wisdom, with references from the heraldry of the university.

 The glass, which fascinated me to a great extent,  was designed by G. Owen Bonawit, who, like Chambellan, was influenced by the scholarly ideas around him (aren’t we all). The decorative panes in these windows were inspired by globally diverse book sources which are housed in Yale’s Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library.

The wrought iron skeleton that houses the cathedral incorporates a truly gorgeous tribute to the written word.

Hope you enjoy all the pics. The copyrights go to me. All photographs were taken in 2009.


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