100 Years of Light! - A Thought Exchange Program with Dr. Steven Shubert on Tuesday March 4th

February 27, 2014 | Richard

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In celebration of the 100th anniversary of the Royal Ontario Museum, Exterior 1 Dr. Steven Blake Shubert will trace the story and meaning behind the ancient Egyptian domestic scenes depicted in the University of Toronto’s Lillian Massey Building’s beautiful stained glass windows (see below for event details). Lillian Massey provided money to the University to establish the Department of Household Science, pictured in the background to the right. The lovely windows inside were created by the British pre-Raphaelite artist Henry Holiday (1839-1927).

In his talk, Dr. Shubert will highlight corespondence in the ROM Registration Department between Charles T. Currelly, Holiday, and Lillian Massey, the benefactor.

Originally Lillian Massey was thinking to commission windows with an ancient Greek theme in line with the neo-Classical architecture of the building. But, clearly something changed along the way . . .

Stairs below
The approching view

Dr. Shubert notes, "Lillian Massey Treble never seems to have approved the Egyptian subject matter of the window". The ROM opened in March 1914, the windows were dedicated in October 1915, and Lillian Massey died before she was ever able to see the final result.





We are told that "the theme of domestic arts relates to the function" of the building, and thus, "the three panels of the window are devoted respectively to the culinary arts on the north, the textile manufacture arts in the center and the clothing care arts to the south. Each panel is divided into an upper and lower section; while the lower scenes render outdoor activities, those on the upper level appear to be indoors, as indicated by a series of lotiform colums supporting a roof".


Left window
Left 'north' window depicting culinary arts

Right window
Right'south' window depicting clothing care arts

Centre window
Centre window depicting textile manufacture arts


During his talk, Dr. Shubert will show that Holiday had a rudimentary knowledge of Egyptian hieroglyphic writing which he employed in the window design:

Upside Down
But somehow these centre panels were installed upside down! . . . ?


Steven S Feb 13Program title:

"100 Years of Light - Explanation of the Stained Glass windows in the Lillian Massey Building, University of Toronto"

Presenting Steven Shubert, PhD
With new photos by John Elmslie
Tuesday March 4th, 2014
2:00 - 4:00 p.m.

Beeton Auditorium, 1st Floor
Toronto Reference Library
789 Yonge Street
Toronto (At Yonge and Bloor)

Free Event . . . All are Welcome.

Dr. Steven Shubert has recently accepted a position in
 The Marilyn & Charles Baillie Special Collections Centre

 Dr. Shubert's research is fully explained in an article entitled
"Egyptianizing Stained-Glass in Toronto"
 published in the Spring 2014 issue of KMT A modern Journal of Ancient Egypt.