note on the long cylindrical tube said, “Fragile drawings.
Open only in an emergency.”
I looked at Reverend Jim Tinnemeyer, the only person I know who
is as fascinated with
Jim said, “I’m declaring an emergency.”
"Beasts of the Evangelists" on the lectern. See Ralph Adams Cram
After prying the lid off, we carefully slipped out a roll of sheets of vellum, a tissue thin but very durable paper used by artists, architects and engineers. As we unrolled the sheets, we were relieved to find that they were not as fragile as the note claimed. And we were elated to find scale drawings in pencil for the chancel furnishings: pulpit, lectern, communion table, baptismal font and choir screens, all installed during the 1937-38 sanctuary remodeling at Shadyside.
refers to "Symbols of the 12 Disciples" In fact several
are of Gospel writers who were not disciples. See Apostles in the Pulpit
Reluctantly, we returned the drawings to their protective tube, leaving further inspection until sufficient time afforded careful handling. Some weeks later, I returned to the church for a day of photographing the design depictions. The purpose was to get a record of the drawings as an interim measure until they could be conserved and electronically scanned.
vellum on which the drawings were made is a thin, durable,
semi-transparent medium similar to tracing paper.
none of the sheets were signed, the designer’s identity has been well
established. The drawing
list attributed them to Charles M. Osborn of
Choir Screen carving including
Shadyside favorite Church Mouse. See THREE VINED MICE
In a note to Shadyside Pastor
Dr. Robert Holland, more than three decades later, Miss Macfarlane
Indeed, the sanctuary
remodeling was the work of Wilson Eyre and McIlvaine of Philadelphia.
However, it appears that he may have been brought to
Osborn's drawings were full size, some to a reduced scale.
Wilson Eyre’s firm had
submitted preliminary drawings of the chancel and its furnishings.
No information has surfaced explaining why they were rejected.
Osborn’s work is more fully developed and shows a depth of
understanding of Christian symbolism (which he may have learned in
Cram’s office). The amount
of explicit, carved Christian symbols is remarkable for a church in the
Reformed tradition. It is,
however, paralleled by similar work at Heinz Chapel, at Cram’s East
Liberty Presbyterian of a few years earlier, and nearby
Perhaps just as remarkably,
the exquisite carvings in stone and wood were ready for the
sanctuary’s re-opening just three months after the late January
completion of the drawings by Osborn.
The identity of the
magnificent craftsmen, whose gifts we still appreciate, has not been
remain: Why were Wilson Eyre's designs not accepted? Was
Charles Marcus Osborn responsible for selecting the specific Christian
symbols. Who sculpted the limestone and the marble? Who was
the woodcarver? Miss Macfarlane reported in another letter to her
parents that a special service was held at Shadyside to honor the
workmen of the remodeling. Which of the craftsmen of the chancel
furnishings attended? Will light be shed on these questions by
further Undercroft Discoveries?
POST SCRIPT: In the Summer of 2011, several of these wonderful drawings were framed and hung in the newly remodeled reception area, adjacent to the new Sharp Atrium.
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