H985.1.1 - Large knight stained glass windowpane 1889

Catalogue Number
H985.1.1
Object Name
windowpane
Object Type
leaded
Culture
North American
Origin Country
Scotland ?
Use Country
Canada
Use Province / Territory
British Columbia
Use Municipality
Vancouver
Dates/Period
1880s
Date
1889 to
Artifact History

This magnificent stained and painted glass window was removed from the house at 1103 West Georgia St. when the house was demolished in 1952. A superb example of high Victorian decorative art, it brings together all the elements that highlight the art of the period: medieval styling and topic, heavy ornamentation, dark and solemn atmosphere with richly illuminated detailing, and links to the motherland, in this case the knight's shield bearing a red lion, possibly naming him as St. Andrew of Scotland. The window was originally installed c. 1889 in "Earlscourt", the grand residence of Thomas Dunn and his wife, on the north-west corner of the Georgia and Thurlow St. intersection. A resident since before the great fire of 1886, Dunn had made his fortune wearing many hats. He owned a successful hardware business, Thomas Dunn Hardware Ltd. He was part-owner and builder of the Dunn-Miller block on Cordova near Carrall (the present Army and Navy store) and the owner of the Dunn Block on Granville St. Dunn was also an alderman in the 1886 City Council. His success in Vancouver encouraged him to open a branch of his store in Dawson City, Yukon, during the 1898 Klondike Gold Rush. This branch did not do well and is thought to have been the reason for Dunn's later business failure. Thus, just as Dunn was moving into his new home in 1901, his business was failing, such that the Dunns vacated the house within three years. It immediately became a rooming house, which it remained until its demolition. The Dunns moved to San Diego, California, in 1912, because of Mrs. Dunn's failing health. Much was done to save this window prior to and after the demolition, with documentation attesting to the rumours that circulated as to its whereabouts, from its storage in a garage where it was supposedly run over by a truck, to its supposed sale to Zeigler's Chocolates for $50. However, it finally surfaced 34 years later to be preserved for posterity.

Original Owner
Dunn, Thomas
Other Owner
McGaughey, J.
Reference / Bibliography

Robert Watt. Rainbows in Our Walls: Art and Stained Glass in Vancouver 1890-1940. Vancouver: Vancouver Centennial Museum, 1980; see Stained Glass Virtual Museum Project binders.

Supporting Documentation Contents

See Doc. Spec. file for letter from seller and draft press release.

Physical Description
Large multi-coloured stained glass window bearing the figure of a knight wearing helmet and armour, carrying a shield and sword; shield bears a red lion design, indicating that the knight may be St. Andrew of Scotland; figure is framed by a decorative arch with floral and leaf motifs; arch has an outer border of opalescent blue glass; decorative panel in curve of arch above knight's helmet shows distant view of castle interior and large urn or vase; knight stands on a painted tile floor; decorative panel below knight's feet shows painted scrollwork; in each lower corner is a green square painted with a floral motif, with blue glass and red jewel-like glass bead in centre; )illegible) outline major portions of design; details are hand-painted on glass; glass is mounted in a brown wood frame and has two horizontal metal supports across back, six across front; several glass panels are cracked, mainly in centre of window; hole in glass near sword blade had been patched; painted design has worn thin in some places; lower edge of wood frame is damaged but still solid and secure.
Material
glass, wood, lead, paint
Colour
Multi-coloured
Parts
Artifact Part Height (cm) Length (cm) Width (cm) Depth (cm) Diameter (cm) Thickness (cm) Weight
284.50 121.00 4.30
Technique
cut, rolled, coloured, painted, assembled
Nomenclature
Department
History
Source
McGauhey, J. (Mrs.)