Letter from Charles J. Connick to Thomas Whittemore, March 16, 1937

Connick, a leading American stained glass artist of the first half of the 20th century, expresses his amazement upon seeing a film of the mosaics of Hagia Sophia.

[A V/3 20] Special thanks to Catherine Piganiol from the Bibliothèque Byzantine of the Collège de France for allowing us to include the transcription of this letter housed in their archive.

Charles J. Connick : designer and work in stained and
leaded glass : nine Harcourt Street, Boston, Massachusetts

March 16, 1937

Mr. Thomas Whittemore, 712 Sears Building, Boston, Massachusetts.
Dear Mr. Whittemore :
When I saw you after your lecture last Friday evening, I was so surprised to hear your good words of my book that I did not tell you how greatly I had enjoyed the whole evening.
Mrs. Connick and I have been talking about that glorious mosaic masterpiece ever since, and we have both wondered if there is any possibility of getting a color print of it anywhere.
Also, we are both eager to have whatever reproductions may be available of all the mosaics in Santa Sophia.
One more question has also puzzled us ; that is, what type of moving picture camera have you and your assistants used to get the effects you show on the screen ? There are qualities of color and illumination together, just as the image appears and again just as it disappears, that are quite magical in their loveliness.
We did notice, however, that when the various images were in full light, we had the impression that reds and blues were not shown in full purity and luminosity.
But my first purpose in writing this letter is to invite you to come to my workshop and studio some morning or afternoon during your stay in Boston. Just now I have a very interesting window on exhibition that I would like to have you see, but I shall also have other things in the near future.
If you will write or telephone me, I shall be delighted to call for you or to send an automobile at your convenience.
Both Mrs. Connick and I have heard so much about you from Mr. and Mrs. Cram and from Boris Ermoloff that we feel as though we had known you for many years.
We consider it a great privilege to hear you and to see your wonderful pictures, and we do not propose to miss a single lecture.
With heartiest greetings,

Sincerely yours,
Charles J. Connick

CJC/rmh.

 

More Exhibit Items

Letter from Charles J. Connick to Thomas Whittemore, March 16, 1937
Letter from Charles J. Connick to Thomas Whittemore, March 16, 1937

Connick, a leading American stained glass artist of the first half of the 20th century, expresses his amazement upon seeing a film of the mosaics of Hagia Sophia.

William John Gregory: Notebook Entry for June 1, 1937
William John Gregory: Notebook Entry for June 1, 1937

Gregory expresses his opinion upon seeing the films shot in 1936 for the first time the following year.

Letter from Ture Algot Johnsson Arne to Thomas Whittemore, November 24, 1937
Letter from Ture Algot Johnsson Arne to Thomas Whittemore, November 24, 1937

Arne extends an invitation for Whittemore to give two lectures illustrated with films in Sweden.

Letter from Johnny Roosval to Thomas Whittemore, March 16, 1938
Letter from Johnny Roosval to Thomas Whittemore, March 16, 1938

Roosval expresses how delighted he is that Whittemore will be visiting Stockholm and Upsala to give lectures illustrated with the film.

Letter from Mildred Bliss to Thomas Whittemore, April 17, 1941
Letter from Mildred Bliss to Thomas Whittemore, April 17, 1941

Bliss expresses her apprehension regarding Whittemore's return to Istanbul, suggesting that he should instead travel around the United States to show "the film" since many people were interested in seeing it.

Letter from Thomas Whittemore to Mildred Bliss, July 3, 1941
Letter from Thomas Whittemore to Mildred Bliss, July 3, 1941

Whittemore expresses his interest in publishing the uncovered mosaics in Hagia Sophia as soon as possible to prevent German intervention. He discusses publicizing the work of the Byzantine Institute on the West Coast by giving a lecture illustrated with the color films.

Letter from Thomas Whittemore to John Thacher, April 7, 1943
Letter from Thomas Whittemore to John Thacher, April 7, 1943

Whittemore informs Thacher, Director of Dumbarton Oaks, that he has agreed to show a color film of the work carried out at Hagia Sophia, in response to a request from the Administrative Committee of Dumbarton Oaks.

Telegram from Thomas Whittemore to Robert Bliss, April 8, 1943
Telegram from Thomas Whittemore to Robert Bliss, April 8, 1943

Whittemore agrees to show color films of the work done at Hagia Sophia at Dumbarton Oaks.

Telegram from Thomas Whittemore to Alan Valentine, February 14, 1947
Telegram from Thomas Whittemore to Alan Valentine, February 14, 1947

Whittemore proposes a lecture at the University of Rochester, which will be illustrated with color films of the conservation work carried out in Hagia Sophia.

Letter from Walter Clark to Thomas Whittemore, March 18, 1947
Letter from Walter Clark to Thomas Whittemore, March 18, 1947

Clark from the Eastman Kodak Company invites Whittemore to give a public lecture illustrated with the color film at the Art Gallery in Rochester, NY.

Telegram from John Thacher to Thomas Whittemore, December 22, 1947
Telegram from John Thacher to Thomas Whittemore, December 22, 1947

Thacher, Director of Dumbarton Oaks, asks Whittemore to give a public lecture with films at Dumbarton Oaks.

Thomas Whittemore: Moving Pictures in Colour
Thomas Whittemore: Moving Pictures in Colour

This short summary published in the proceedings of the 6th Congrès International des Études Byzantines shows that Whittemore presented the work of the Byzantine Institute to the Byzantine scholarly community by means of the color films produced during the cleaning and restoration work at Hagia Sophia.

Letter from the American Philosophical Society to Thomas Whittemore, March 16, 1950
Letter from the American Philosophical Society to Thomas Whittemore, March 16, 1950

The Executive Officer of the Society informs Whittemore that a screening of the films at the Annual Meeting in 1950 would not be possible, but proposes to put him on the program for the following year.

Letter from Thomas Whittemore to L. P. Eisenhart, March 20, 1950
Letter from Thomas Whittemore to L. P. Eisenhart, March 20, 1950

Whittemore agrees to show the color film at the American Philosophical Society Annual Meeting in 1951. This screening never took place as Whittemore passed away on June 8, 1950.

Letter from John Coolidge to William MacDonald, January 15, 1951
Letter from John Coolidge to William MacDonald, January 15, 1951

Coolidge from the Fogg Art Museum at Harvard University accepts MacDonald's offer for a screening of the Byzantine Institute films.

Letter from Marian Hayes to Seth Gano, February 7, 1951
Letter from Marian Hayes to Seth Gano, February 7, 1951

Marian Hayes, art history professor at Mount Holyoke College and a former student of Whittemore's at New York University, inquires about renting the color film on Hagia Sophia to show it to her students.

Invitation from the Byzantine Institute, February 8, 1951
Invitation from the Byzantine Institute, February 8, 1951

The Byzantine Institute issues an invitation to a screening of the films in honor of Thomas Whittemore at the Fogg Art Museum at Harvard University.

Letter from William MacDonald to Marian Hayes, February 9, 1951
Letter from William MacDonald to Marian Hayes, February 9, 1951

MacDonald replies to Hayes' inquiry about renting the films by explaining that they are unique and thus cannot be lent out. Instead, MacDonald proposes that he personally transport the films to Mount Holyoke College for a screening.

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