In 1902, a Swedenborgian church in Glendale, Ohio, commissioned the seven windows as a gift for their sister church in Cincinnati. Each window depicts an angel that represents one of the seven churches described in the book of Revelation. The windows were designed and created in the studios of Louis Comfort Tiffany, and they reflect not only the rich symbolism found in the Bible, but Tiffany’s hallmark color and brilliance. Tiffany’s love of revealing angels in stained glass shines through in every panel.
A heavenly combination of Tiffany’s art, Swedenborgian philosophy, and angelic influence is contained within this book and within the windows that are its focus. More than one hundred years after the windows were created in 1902 by Louis Comfort Tiffany for a Swedenborgian church in Cincinnati, which was later destroyed, the windows have found a new life. They were held in storage for several decades, rediscovered in 2001, restored, and are traveling to museums and galleries for all to enjoy.
Based on biblical passages, in the form of letters addressed to the seven cities of Asia Minor that open the book of Revelation, the windows illustrate the deep inner meaning of these messages. The angels themselves represent each of the seven cities; they also can be seen to symbolize the stages of the development of the Christian church as well as the stages of spiritual evolution of a person.
Each angel has a lesson to convey to those who understand the symbolism of the text and the imagery contained within the beautiful Tiffany stained glass. Their value is further enhanced by explanations of historical importance, biblical background, and inner spiritual meaning as described by Emanuel Swedenborg (1688—1772). Understanding the rich background and many levels of meaning can provide a transformative experience for those who appreciate their inner and outer beauty.
Tiffany’s Swedenborgian Angels guides the reader not only through the history of the windows, but the spiritual meaning of each one, weaving Swedenborg’s teachings with the luminous imagery of the angels themselves. If you have seen the exhibition, the book allows you to revisit the windows again any time; if you have not, it is a powerful introduction to a vivid piece of spiritual history.