Modern & Gothic: Charles J. Connick 

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Live Autumn Lecture with Peter Cormack

America’s Greatest Stained Glass Artist

When Charles J. Connick (1875-1945) began his stained glass career in the 1890s, America had become so besotted with the newly-invented ‘opalescent’ windows of La Farge and Tiffany that the ancient traditions of the art form had all but been forgotten. Seduced by vulgar pictorialism, designers and craftworkers had ignored both the architectural dimension of stained glass and its essential qualities of light-infused colour. Reacting forcefully against this trend, Connick re-asserted the values of the ancient craft, successfully persuading 20th-century Americans that the medieval tradition could inspire powerfully expressive modern windows.

This lecture will trace Connick’s career from the 1890s in Pittsburgh, through to his first major commissions in the 1900s and the establishment of his own studio in Boston. It will demonstrate how Connick was profoundly influenced by Christopher Whall’s Arts & Crafts philosophy of stained glass, and how he collaborated fruitfully with leading architects, notably Ralph Adams Cram. It will illustrate many of Connick’s important commissions in some of the USA’s most impressive Modern Gothic buildings, such as Princeton University Chapel, San Francisco’s Grace Cathedral and New York’s Cathedral of St John the Divine.

Connick’s regular visits to Europe, where he studied both medieval and modern glass, were a constant stimulus to his creativity, as were his friendships with major figures in other cultural spheres, such as the poet Robert Frost. This will be a comprehensive introduction to Connick’s life and work, the subject of Peter Cormack’s forthcoming book (to be published by Yale University Press in 2024).

The lecture will be at the Art Workers Guild in London on Friday 20th October 2023, so do join us in person for a fascinating lecture by the leading expert on Arts & Crafts stained glass. Entry from 5.30 pm for 6.30 start. There will be a buffet supper following the lecture and a chance to mingle and talk to other stained glass enthusiasts and professionals. Event ends at 9.30 pm. Places are limited so book early to avoid disappointment.

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Food Option

Lecture only, With evening meal