The Good Shepherd (1895)

Inspiration for the Window
Palestinian shepherds led their sheep and did not drive them, and the sheep followed because they knew and trusted the shepherd’s voice. The Gospel of John, chapter 10, records an announcement made by Christ:

14 “I am the good shepherd; I know my sheep and my sheep know me— 15 just as the Father knows me and I know the Father—and I lay down my life for the sheep. (John 10:14-15)

The Good Shepherd is a key theme in Psalm 23 as well, "The Lord is my Shepherd..." which is a very comforting chapter for people who are going through difficult times.

Psalm 23   King James Version (KJV)
The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want.
He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: he leadeth me beside the still waters.
He restoreth my soul: he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name's sake.
Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me.
Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies: thou anointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over.
Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life: and I will dwell in the house of the Lord for ever.

The Good Shepherd painting

The theme for this window is based on a painting by the German artist, Bernhard Plockhorst (1825-1907), a professor at the Weimar Art School. He was best known for paintings of religious art. This and other works have decorated Bibles since the nineteenth century, and Plockhorst reproductions are sold today on the Web.

“The Good Shepherd” by the German artist,
Bernhard Plockhorst (1825-1907).

About the Window
Rich colors appear in this window (left). Christ wears a ruby red robe overlain by a cloak of mottled deep green and gold. His face is tanned, and the shepherd’s crook in his hand has become the hallmark of a bishop in the Episcopal Church. White stratus clouds appear in a blue sky.

In 2006 a foot-wide outer pane fell from a double-layered section of the glass window, leaving a horizontal strip near the top where the sky is a deeper blue than the glassmakers intended. The window is unsigned but verified by church records and is regarded as Louis Comfort Tiffany’s own design.

Given in Memory of Thomas Streatfeild Clarkson

Thomas and Lavina ClarksonThe window was given in memory of Thomas Streatfeild Clarkson (1837-1894), a popular Potsdam businessman and community leader who died on August 19, 1894. His death occurred unexpectedly from injuries suffered in an accident at the Clarkson sandstone quarry on nearby Sugar Island (in the Raquette River).

A bachelor, Thomas and his unmarried sisters (including Frederica) lived on Clarkson Hill. Thomas had financed the construction of a chapel at Trinity Church as a memorial honoring his brother, Levinus (1835-1876), and deceased father—another Thomas Streatfeild (1799-1873). The Gothic structure was opened to the public on June 21, 1885, on the 50th anniversary of the founding of the church.

A young Thomas S. Clarkson (1837-1894)
playing chess with his sister, Lavinia (1842-1926).
Lavinia donated the first stained glass windows
in the church (those above the altar—not made by Tiffany).

In addition to the 1895 window, this well-liked, philanthropic gentleman was honored with another memorial a year later when his sisters dedicated the Thomas Streatfeild Clarkson Memorial College of Technology on Main Street on what would have been his 59th birthday.




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