THE instinct of immortality survives through the centuries. The idea that the dead remember colors both literature and art, and makes the theme of poem and monument. In what way shall we show that they are not forgotten? That has been the question put to the sculptor, the architect, and painter by every generation. Every church is, in one sense, a memorial of One gone before, and the greatest buildings ever erected have been mementos of the dead. To-day this instinct to immortalize the names of those departed is as strong as ever, if not stronger, and it seeks, as the great gardens outside our cities show, every means that art can offer to express in the most artistic and beautiful manner the faith on which it leans.
What shall we do to keep fresh dear names? Shall they be written on stone or brass, cut in marble, or engraved on enduring copper? Shall there be a statue to recall the figure of the dead, or shall we repeat the vanished features on canvas? Or shall we go back to that good old art in which the great masters wrought with such splendor of color in glass? The idea of making a memorial monument of a window seems to have taken a strong hold on the minds of the early workers in stained glass. Figures of the saints, pictures from Scripture history, and story and inscriptions commemorative of kings and heroes, are everywhere to be seen in the old cathedrals. It is an idea that seems to abide with us now, even though the art of making stained glass had been, until within the past few years, regarded as a lost art.
Until quite recently we have occupied a rather peculiar position in this country. Science and all the industries grew rapidly, while art seemed to be partially neglected. This was particularly true of the art of making stained-glass windows. There has been an impression that nothing could be made now to compare with the work of the old masters in this art, and this art has been neglected until within the last few years by those who wish to build memorials to their dead, and we have few memorial windows in our churches. Added to the fact that much of the stained glass was of poor material was the fact that many of the windows were painted in some unmeaning design and of no art value as memorials.
Within a very few years all this has been greatly changed, and this ancient art has been developed and made a means of constructing the most remarkable memorial windows ever seen in our churches.
The art of making stained-glass windows was for a very long time one distinct method. The picture or design was painted on colored glass, the painting being fixed to the glass by reburning it and binning the color in. By the present improved system the picture is produced entirely of glass, without paint, and the "modeling" or variations in light and shade are obtained by picking out pieces of glass of the right thickness, thus producing an absolutely indestructible window. By the first system the glass for the different parts of the drapery is selected and cut to the right shape, and it is then painted to show the folds or modeling (light and shade) of the dress. By the new plan the pieces of glass are picked out with the greatest care to show in the glass itself the folds of the drapery. Without doubt this is the best method, because it is not possible to produce in paint the wonderful effects of light and shade often found in the glass itself. The softness and delicacy of the shading by the varying thickness of the glass