This Soisson stained glass window has two columns and five rows. The top two rows of the window are arched. Around the entire window are clear glass rectangles, followed by dark blue rectangles. After the dark blue rectangles there are curled petals that alternate in blue and white glass on a red glass background. Below the petals is a wave pattern of alternating blue and light green glass, followed by small circles of clear glass, placed in small metal rectangles. Each scene takes place on a blue background, pieced together with different shards of glass. All the panels of the window connect together like a puzzle with many different colors and interconnected scenes. All of the figures in the scenes have light skin.
At the first row starting from the top are two angels facing each other, crouching with their faces pointed down. The angels are on a blue glass background, and are in separate sections divided by thin metal. Both the angels have yellow wings, a light green round halo around their heads, and are wearing red, flowing robes. Each one is holding a crown with a long skinny fabric in pale yellow covering their arms. The angel to our left has the fabric wrapping around his waist and flowing behind him. The angel on our right has the fabric twisting above his shoulder. They are standing on a yellow glass floor.
The second row starts with a yellow, blue and red glass ceiling. The background of the panel is pieced together dark blue glass and metal. Each panel has an arm with green sleeves coming out of the top. There is a red and yellow glass beam that extends down from the ceiling. The arms seem to be blessing a baby in each panel. The babies are being held by two angels each. The angels are covering the naked babies with white cloth. The babies have crossed arms. The legs of the baby on our left are together. The two angels on the left panel are holding eachothers hands, the hands that are closest to you. The left angel on the left panel has yellow wings and a green robe while the right has light green wings and a red robe. Their eyes are looking up toward the arm extending from the ceiling. In the right panel, the legs of the baby are covered with cloth that is held by the angels. The angel on our left has dark red wings and a green robe, with the same dark red as his wings at the bottom of his robe. The angel on our right has dark yellow wings and a dark red robe with white at the bottom of his robe.
The next four panels make up the central circle of the window. In the third row there are eleven people, separated over two panels. There are seven men and two women. In the center of the two panels is a body on a raised platform, with the rest of the figures surrounding the platform. We cannot see the head of the body. The woman on the left has a red gown with a white cloth draped around her head and upper body. Her face and neck is light pink. She is facing the body on the platform. Her legs are spread out and one foot is pointed. The woman on the far right has a light green gown with a dark yellow cloth over her head that falls to her knees. Her hands are clasped below her chin. She is looking up. On the left side there are four men. One in a brown robe is leaning towards the body on the platform. He is touching the body’s arm with his left arm while his right arm is touching the body's neck. He has a brown beard and mustache. Behind him is a male wearing a green gown. His foot is red. Both his hands are holding a white book that has red scribbles inside. Behind him is another male with a yellow gown that seems to be holding the long yellow cross. The cross is pointing upwards. In front of him is another male dressed in a white gown who seems to be holding a thurible. On the right side there are another four men. Next to the one holding the thurible is a man with a red and white robe . He has his right arm reaching out to the body on the platform, while his other arm is being hidden under his red robe. He has a brown bag around his waist. He is looking at the body. Next to him is another man with a white robe holding another long yellow cross. His foot is red. On his right side there is another man with a red robe holding onto a large brown brush with his right hand and a small yellow basket on his left. On the left side of the man in the white gown is another man leaning down while touching the body's feet with both his arms. The body is laying on top of the tall and long cement platform that has the top layer in yellow and the rest in blue. The body wears a multicolored robe. Around his neck is red. From his chest to below his knee is blue. From below his knee to above his ankle is green. His feet are covered in white. In front of the platform are two red and white shovels.
Below this scene are two panels depicting a group of people staring at a man who is lying in a bed with white and blue sheets. He has a halo around his head. On the left side there are three people standing, a woman and two men. They are wearing different color gowns. The woman is in green, while two men are wearing red and yellow with yellow and brown around their necks. They are all looking at the man that's laying down on the bed. Next to him are four to five people kneeling down. Behind them are red columns that connect to one another with a wall that has yellow bricks and red arcs. There is a design on the column in white, and a cloth streams from the top of the columns. On the right panel there is a group of people standing around each other with different color gowns like blue, red, yellow, white and brown. In back of them looks like a small entrance to a chapel. There's a red square that's door-like and brick at the top in white and purple. The background is blue. Below this scene is another pattern with blue diamonds and flowers and arrows. There's another flower-like design between the rows and columns of the window.
On the bottom row there are six people, one woman and five men. On the left side there is a man on the floor whose head is decapitated. His body is shown on the floor. He is wearing a green gown. His arms are reaching to the floor. His head is on the floor covered in blood. There is blood running down towards his head, which is next to his body. Above him is a man wearing chainmail. He is holding on to his long sword with both his hands. There's a green sword sheath around his waist. Next to him is a man wearing a yellow robe with blue tights. He is holding his long, silver sword with his right hand. It's above his head pointing at a woman who is kneeling down with one leg. She's wearing a brown gown with a white veil. Her arms rest on a small pile of green bricks, that seems to be attached to a small chapel. The small chapel has lots of different color bricks like red, yellow, white, and pink. She is looking down at her arms. On the right side there is a yellow column with a white design on it. It connects the green and red arcs. There are three men wearing different color gowns with the colors white, green, red, yellow and purple. The one in red is looking down with his hands together. He is covering his head with a headpiece but his light brown hair is still noticeable. The man next to him has his right hand up while his left hand is holding a red book next to his stomach. Behind him is a man, looking up, with a staff wearing a white robe and a purple cape.
Soisson Window with Scenes from the Lives of Saints Nicasius and Eutropia,
Pot metal glass
366 x 157.5 cm (144 1/8 x 62 in.)
This window was made for Soissons Cathedral, the earliest of the great High Gothic cathedrals. In addition to its beauty, the window—considered by scholars to be the finest example of 13th century French stained glass in America—has a fascinating history. It survived Huguenot attacks, the French Revolution, and World War I bombardments. When Isabella purchased the window on the advice of her friend, historian and novelist Henry Adams, she thought it was from the Abbey Church of Saint Denis. Perhaps Isabella pictured it as a perfect companion for Paul Helleu’s nearby painting of the same church. In 1960, scholars determined it was from Soisson.
The window narrates the story of two locally important saints—Nicasius, archbishop of Reims, and his sister Eutropia—who were martyred in 403. Look for the entombment of Nicasius in the center of the window: two figures carrying crosses flank the saint’s body, while shovels used to dig the grave appear at the bottom.
In Gardner’s lifetime she used this space as her personal chapel, and in her will stipulated that a service be held here annually on her birthday, April 14.