The Tiffany windows planned for the north transept were designed with two scenes, the house of the carpenter where Jesus was raised and the boy Jesus among the “doctors” of the Temple. The windows were never created and those window openings retain their original 1865 Gothic design glass.
Below, you will see the watercolor rendering from the Tiffany Studios which shows how these scenes were to be fitted into the openings.
In 2012, the set with eight individual watercolor drawings was still vivid and seemingly unaffected by its heavily discolored acidic mat. It had been in a dark closet, but the Church was considering displaying it in the light. When there were concerns about the effect of light on it, the Building Committee decided to ask for free advice from the Museum of Fine Arts (MFA), Boston. Two members of the Committee brought the set of watercolors to the MFA and received expert advice from a paper conservator. The Church then decided to have the watercolors carefully conserved and reuse the original frame and glass while enhancing the beauty of the art with a new archival mat and calligraphy. The original mat was carefully added in a bump-out at the back of the frame to be kept as part of its history.
In late 2014, the Church loaned the beautifully restored set of watercolors to the MFA and in May of 2015 it went on display in Gallery 226 (the Aesthetics Gallery) in the Art of the Americas Wing.
This Tiffany watercolor design is at the Museum of Fine Arts in a safe, light and temperature controlled environment, but is available to view in the Prints, Drawings and Photographs Department upon request. The museum plans to exhibit the watercolor approximately every 5 years. There’s also a beautiful high-resolution framed photograph of the watercolor for display at the Church.