In 1889 John La Farge designed a triptych depicting St. John the Evangelist; Christ Preaching and St. Paul the Apostle, for the All Souls Unitarian Church on Warren Avenue in Roxbury, MA, the same year La Farge was awarded the French Medal of the Legion of Honor for his contribution to art.

In 1925 the Church was sold to another denomination and the original donors of the triptych requested that the windows be removed and given to the Unitarian Universalist Society in Amherst, which was undergoing a remodeling and expansion project in 1925.  In 2013 the Unitarian Universalist Church in Amherst decided to sell the La Farge windows, for a variety of reasons: The Christian symbolism was determined not to be fitting for Unitarianism; The windows required restoration; Church building expansion was needed and funds were required for construction. The only place to expand the buildings was through the wall where the La Farge triptych was installed. The McMullen Museum at Boston College saw an opportunity to showcase these wonderful windows, and purchased them with the help of Boston College Alum (Class of 1974) and respected art dealer, William Vareika, of Newport, RI

Serpentino Stained Glass was trusted with the tedious task of conserving this amazing La Farge tryptic  now displayed at the McMullen Museum at Boston College.

The background of these windows was fabricated using a field of large (1-1/2” in diameter) round turquoise cabochons. Sheets of lead were laid out and holes cut through the lead to allow light to illuminate the cabochons. Each cabochon was then wrapped with small lead came and soldered to the sheet lead. On the obverse side, each cabochon was then plated with different shades of blue and teal glass.

Interior view of cabochons before restoration.

Exterior view of cabochons before restoration.

Interior layers removed from panel depicting St. Paul.

*NOTE: Most of the base layer lead matrix was saved and reused. Only the lead in the large highlighted  border was replaced.

The sections of the panels with the cabochons were carefully separated from the figural sections (see photo on the left), in order to ease the flattening process.

The cabochons were plated on the exterior with different shades of blue and green glass.

Each plate was numbered and its orientation marked on the glass as well as on the lead to insure that they would be reinserted correctly.

The conservation of the three windows was completed in August 2014 and it is currently on exhibit at the Mc Mullen Museum at Boston College.

For more information on the exhibit, please visit:

McMullen Museum, Boston College

John La Farge, 1889

Interior view of cabochons before conservation.

Interior view of cabochons after conservation.

Interior view of the St. Paul panel before conservation

Interior view of the St. Paul panel after conservation

Pompeian style window after conservation.

Central section was left intact as the lead matrix showed no lead corrosion.

As you can see from the center photo, only the cracked pieces were removed from the center decorative section of the window. After glass repair, the pieces were reintroduced and their original 1890 leads reused. 

Pompeian style window before conservation.

Only the borders were removed and dismantled for re-leading due to lead fatigue.

Central section was left intact as the lead matrix showed no lead corrosion.

Central section reintroduced within the re-leaded borders.