Victorian Artist: Sarah Wyman Whitman

Victorian Artist: Sarah Wyman Whitman
A talented pastel painter from the Post Civil War era became a prominent woman stained glass artist.

Sarah De St. Prix Wyman Whitman was born in 1842 in Lowell, Massachusetts and would marry a wool merchant. She apprenticed with the American architect Richard Morris Hunt and knew the artist John La Farge. It may be from that association that she learned the art of making stained glass.

Sarah Wyman Whitman (as she was known) achieved fame with her pastel paintings of landscapes, portraits, and floral still life. She exhibited at the Chicago Columbian Exhibition/World’s Fair of 1893.

Whitman’s stained glass studio was at the Lily Glass Works in Boston and her commissions came from such notable institutions as the Boston Athenaeum and the Trinity Episcopal Church.

In Cambridge, Massachusetts, Harvard University’s Memorial Hall, in its Office for the Arts, has two stained glass windows attributed to Sarah Wyman Whitman. One window is of Honor and Peace; the other is a part of the South Transept Windows.

You can view these amazing windows at Memorial Hall by clicking on this link:

Whitman’s work is in good company as four other stained glass windows are by John La Farge and three other windows are by Tiffany Studios.

If these don’t seem to be illustrious enough credentials, Sarah Wyman Whitman would also be credited for designing book covers for her friends and publisher Houghton Mifflin.

Some of these books can be found at the Boston Public Library’s Rare Book Room where the books are for "in library use only."

Sarah Wyman Whitman’s logo was a flaming heart with her initials. I think her love for the Arts was exemplified in her becoming a founding member of the Boston Society of Arts and Crafts., "THE WORLD LEADER IN ART MARKET INFORMATION."

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