Christ the Light of the World Window

Christ the Light of the World (1893)

Inspiration for the Window

This Tiffany window, the first to be installed, is based upon a painting entitled “The Light of the World” by William Holman Hunt (1827-1910). The painting and subsequently the window were inspired by a Spanish Poem and the Book of Revelation Chapter 3 verse 20 which reads:

20 Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door,
I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me.
-- King James Version

According to the Rev. Richard Glover (1862), the idea of painting the picture was suggested to Mr Hunt by a sonnet entitled "Tomorrow" by Lope de Vega (Spanish). The translation below is by H. W. Longfellow:

Lord, what am I, that, with unceasing care,
Thou did'st seek after me, - that thou did'st wait,
Wet with unhealthy dews, before my gate,
And pass the gloomy nights of winter there
O strange delusion ! that I did not greet
Thy blest approach, and O, to heaven how lost,
If my ingratitude's unkinkly frost
Has chilled the bleeding wounds upon Thy feet.
How oft my guardian angel gently cried,
" Soul, from thy casement look, and thou shalt see
How He persists to knock and wait for thee ! "
And O ! how often to that voice of sorrow,
" To-morrow we will open " - I replied,
And when the morrow came, I answered still
" To-morrow" !

About the Artist:
Light of the World Painting by William Holman Hunt Hunt grew up in Cheapside, London, England, and attended Royal Academy Schools where he studied to become a painter. His early spiritual leanings encouraged the belief that artists should return to the style of late medieval and early Renaissance painters, and that symbolic realism should be incorporated into modern art. With the help of metaphors, the viewer could read into a painting more than it apparently tells. Some viewers regarded this painting as symbolic of Christian salvation that came into a sinful world. Sin is represented here by an overabundant of neglected undergrowth. “The Light of the World” was begun in 1851 and placed on exhibition in 1853. It became so popular that Hunt was asked to paint a larger copy, which he did in 1900-04.

“The Light of the World,” a painting by the
English artist William Holman Hunt (1827-1910).

About the Window
The stained glass window features a kingly figure, white robed, bejeweled and crowned with thorns, knocking on a door at evening time. The bright light that illuminates his robe seems to have its source in the lantern at his side. Undergrowth on the left side and the trees above his head provide a dark background. Many church members were startled with the rich colors that appeared when the window was cleaned and reinstalled in 1986-87. A century of grime from wall lamps and candles had left a solid black background. Examine the panel below the figure. Note the rectangular outline of chipped, marble-sized pieces of colored glass. Note also the pale and streaked colors in the adjacent, brick-sized panels of glass.

The window is unsigned but verified as a Tiffany creation by church records.

The pane at the bottom of the window reads:

Aaron Townsend Hopkins Born Nov. 19th 1800 Died Sept. 28th 1883
Betsy Eastman Hopkins Born Jan 17th 1806 Died Nov 11th 1882
  And with the morn Those Angel faces smile
Which I have love long since
  And lost awhile

Window Restoration Plaque:

In Loving Memory of
Dorothy S. Sherburne
Ethel L. Sherburne
Given by
Frank W. Sherburrn
Window Restored 1986

Given in Memory of Aaron and Betsy Hopkins
The window was given in memory of Aaron Townsend Hopkins (1800-1883) and Betsy Eastman Hopkins (1806-1882) by their youngest daughter, Charlotte Clark Allen. Charlotte lived with her husband, George, in New York City. Born in Williamstown, Vermont,

Aaron Hopkins had served as the principal of Newton Academy in Shoreham, Vermont, a 200 year-old college preparatory school near Lake Champlain whose main building still stands. Mr. Hopkins came to Potsdam and built a tannery on the corner of Maple and Market streets and a sandstone home (now a sorority house) at the junction of Main and Union streets. He served as Potsdam Town Supervisor and Trinity Church Vestryman. Betsy, his wife, was the daughter of Samuel Eastman, a founder of nearby Hopkinton, NY. The couple was married in 1827 and had five daughters and one son.


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