Sunday, May 8, 2011

Page 13: Archives of the National Cathedral

Following his trail led me to the archives of the National Cathedral where I was able to find some rare photographs of Lawrence Saint working within his studio. His glass racks appear lining one wall. With funding from the National Cathedral, Lawrence Saint built a hot shop behind his studio and employed a Swedish glassblower named Gus Erikson to produce sheet glass. All of his colors were made in the roundel method with the exception of the striated red which was made in the muff method because, as he put it, “the striated roundels looked like Fourth of July pinwheels”. 

Saint had a staff of craftsmen working for him including painters and glazers. He was meticulous in his study of medieval glass. 

He even sent some medieval samples he had obtained to a lab for chemical analysis. After receiving the commission for the National Cathedral he returned to Europe to study the glass of Leon Cathedral in Spain because it was on the same latitude as Washington, DC. He wanted to compare the Leon color palette to the glass he had created. One story recounts that he got into trouble crossing the Spanish border when samples of his own glass were mistaken for medieval originals. The authorities detained him as a smuggler but he was able to show by letters that he was working for the National Cathedral and that he had made the glass in question in his own studio in America.

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