All Saints' Episcopal Church, Whitman, Mass.
LeFarge Windows


The History and Memorial
Noted artist John La Farge crafted two windows in 1883 for Elizabeth Winthrop and Ellen and Ida Mason. These memorials were dedicated to their deceased sisters, eight year old Anna and twelve year old Clara. The windows were installed in the Mason family chapel on Brattle Street in Cambridge, Massachusetts, and were described in the July 5, 1883 edition of the Boston Evening Transcript:

“. . . the warm rich colors of the La Farge windows are easily recognizable by their deep tones . . . indescribably beautiful and touching.”

This chapel, now the chapel of the Episcopal Divinity School, underwent renovations in 1917. The donors granted permission to move these windows to an Episcopal mission church in the shoe manufacturing town of Whitman.

For almost a century, the Mason Memorial Windows have greeted the parishioners of All Saints’ Parish, as well as residents enjoying the Whitman Town Park near the church.

The Artist’s Unique Artwork
The Mason Memorial Windows are not only beautiful memorials, but they also hold a great deal of artistic and historical significance. John La Farge, discoverer of a new stained glass technology, Opalescent glass in the LaFarge windowspatented the opalescent glass manufacturing process in 1880. By mixing bits of various materials into the molten glass, La Farge was able to produce unique visual effects. Through the use of opalescent, ripple and confetti glass in these windows the distinctive genius of John La Farge shines through. Glass jewels add to the artistic effects. Some of the glass used in these windows was experimental in nature. The angels’ robes in one window consist of a purple confetti glass which is believed to be one-of-a-kind.

Layered glass in LaFarge windowsIn addition to his new glass designs, La Farge used heavy plating and lead lines of various widths as well as very sophisticated mitering. These techniques give a depth and a three-dimensional aspect to the windows that other artists could not achieve. La Farge’s unique execution is especially noticeable in the maroon robe of the Clara Mason Memorial Window, where the plating is three to four layers thick.

The Goals of Restoration
Original LaFarge facesAfter 117 years, the Mason Memorial Windows are in need of repair. Pieces of glass are cracking, the lead and putty used are deteriorating, and the integrity of the windows is being compromised. The windows are beginning to deflect or bow under their own weight. At some point in the windows’ history, the painted faces were replaced when the original ones began to flake and peel. Unfortunately, the new faces were completed in a manner that is not consistent with La Farge’s Gothic Revival style. An example of an actual La Farge face is illustrated above.

The goal is to restore these windows to their former glory as envisioned by John La Farge. The cracked and deteriorating pieces of glass will be repaired. The entire windows will be releaded and reputtied. The faces will be restored. Appropriate protection and ventilation will be installed. With proper backlighting, these works of art will be shared with a larger community — for all to enjoy.

In preserving these historical works of art, Anna and Clara Mason, and all those who have died before their time, will once again be commemorated as La Farge intended.

The Opportunity to Help
The full restoration of the Mason Memorial Windows will cost $125,000. In an effort to preserve artistic history, we are reaching out to the community, both near and far, for assistance. If you would like to make a contribution to help with the restoration of the Mason Memorial Windows, please call or write All Saints’ Parish in Whitman, Massachusetts.


Mason Memorial Restoration Fund
All Saints’ Parish
44 Park Avenue
Whitman, MA 02382
(781) 447-6106


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