Last week, a rare set of seven glass Tiffany Studios windows sold at Philadelphia’s Freeman auction $705,000, more than double its pre-sale high estimate of $250,000.
After online and phone bidding, the set was won by a Philadelphia-based philanthropist, who plans to display the windows in a museum, according to Freeman’s statement on the sale.
Commissioned from Tiffany Studios in 1902 for the New Jerusalem Church in Cincinnati, Ohio, Angels Representing Seven Churches comprises a set of eight-foot-high glass panels each depicting a winged angel, the title and imagery of which refers to an episode from the Bible’s Book of Revelation.
Churches accounted for a majority of Tiffany’s commissions. By the early 20th century the design studio, headed by Louis Comfort Tiffany was a leading producer of painted glass, following recognition for the studio’s presentation of a chapel interior of leaded glass windows at the 1893 World’s Columbian Exposition in Chicago.
A similar example of the Tiffany glass window pane design resides at the the Richard H. Dreihaus Museum in Chicago.
After nearly 60 years years in public view, the set was preserved before the church’s demolition in 1964 and subsequently held in storage for four decades. Later, the windows were purchased by the Swedenborgian Church in southeast Pennsylvania in the 1980s.
It wasn’t until the early 2000s, when the windows were re-examined and restored by glass expert Arthur Femenella, that the attribution was discovered, when the Tiffany signature was found on one of the panels. Beginning in 2007, the set was exhibited throughout the U.S. as part of the traveling exhibition “In Company With Angels: Seven Rediscovered Tiffany Windows.”