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THE last number of the Advocate, in an article entitled "A Suggestion," contained one or two statements in regard to stained glass and the cost of a Memorial Window which need a little correction.
In the first place, the writer says that "the admirable finish and coloring which are now given to cathedral glass in American factories remove the necessity of importation." This is entirely wrong, since every piece of cathedral and antique glass which is used in the construction of windows in this country has to be imported, and that, too, from a few firms in England, as there are no other manufacturers either on the Continent or in America.
In the next place the statement is made, that a contribution of $3 from each student would cover the entire expense of a window. Call the average class 160 members. This contribution would amount to $480. For $480 a window could be purchased, and that is all. It would be no great improvement on the ones already in the Hall. Indeed, about the only difference between it and them would consist in the substitution of colored for white glass. At this price comparatively cheap glass would have to be used, and consequently all those beautiful effects obtained from the rich tints in cathedral and antique glass would be lost, the brilliancy of the ornamentation destroyed, and instead of the window being "a thing of beauty and a joy forever," it would stand as a memorial of a class which cared not enough for the honor to contribute a sum sufficient for the erection of one worthy of the Hall. Moreover, when a window purchased for a small sum like this comes in contrast with such a beautiful one as the west window of Memorial Hall, it necessarily has to suffer extremely by the comparison, and its poor quality will continue to become more and more evident as succeeding classes, striving to outdo their predecessors, erect more costly windows around it. The expense of erecting a window which shall be in harmony with the Hall, and which shall display real artistic merit in the design and its treatment, is from $1,200 to $1,500. This may seem to be a high price, but it must be borne in mind that fine windows are expensive. As an item let me here mention that the figure parts of a first-class window cost from $15 to $20 per square foot, and the decorative parts from $8 to $12; and it is much better to spend more and obtain one which has some merit in it, than to throw away a sum of money on a poor one. Doubtless $1,200 or $1,500 would be quite a heavy tax upon the collegiate pocket, but for such an object no student would refuse to give $5, and two thirds of the class, by giving $10 or $15 apiece, would easily contribute enough money to purchase a window which could not be surpassed by that of any succeeding class. Here in America stained-glass windows can now be constructed as well as in England, if not better, for this reason, that the makers, being on the spot, and knowing the clear light of our atmosphere, can import such kinds of colored glass as are suitable to it: while Englishmen, selecting the tints with reference to their dull atmosphere, generally make use of those which when exposed to our clear light are entirely too bright. As we have a sample of American work, of which we may be justly proud, in the handsome windows which now adorn Memorial Hall, there certainly seems to be no necessity for sending to England, and paying a premium for the name of a firm, when the work can be done equally well here.
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