Category Archives: Armstrong-Browning Library

Museum Monday – Stained Glass Windows

Happy Monday everyone! I was NOT ready for this weekend to end. I picked up an extra shift on Saturday to help make up hours for the mandatory {but appreciated} Independence Day holiday and then hubby had to work on Sunday for the whole afternoon and evening so it didn’t feel much like a weekend at all! But it is Monday and that means…

Museum Monday

If you’ll remember back to this post, I work at a beautiful museum/library on the campus of Baylor University. We have some of the most beautiful artwork, architecture, sculptures, and literature that most of the world will never get to see. I think that is a crying shame and I would like to share with you some of what I get to see every day. Today’s focus will be on stained glass windows.

01 - Saul  02 - Rabbi

Armstrong Browning Library and Museum boasts the world’s largest collection of secular {non religious} stained glass windows. There seem to be many sacred and Christian themes throughout the windows but the subjects of the windows are of Robert Browning’s poetry, often written on the themes of the Bible, and are therefore considered secular in nature.

On a personal note, I really wish I had a better camera with which to take pictures. My iPhone is NOT doing these justice!

03 - TR1  07 - RH1  08 - RH2

These three are examples of the stained glass windows portraying various stories from Robert Browning’s poetry.

09 - RH3

The technique used to make the shading here illustrated by the woman’s face is a technique called “acid etching.” It creates a permanent painted effect.

04 - Christmas Eve  05 - Easter Day

These two stained glassed windows, named Christmas Eve and Easter Day, are two of the most beautiful but least appreciated pieces of art in the museum. They are in small alcoves between the Martin Entrance Foyer and the Hamkamer Treasure Room and Jones Research Hall, respectively.

05.1 - Easter Day Words

Here is a close-up of the words on the stained glass window entitled Easter Day. The words are Robert Browning’s own and speak to those who are patient enough to read them in a profound way.

06 - Sunrise

Another beautiful stained glass window, this time in the Foyer of Meditation, whose beauty my iPhone cannot do justice. Dr. Armstrong believed that sunrise and sunset were the most contemplative times of the day and always wanted this room to have that same feeling. He designed these windows go from a dark  yellow at the bottom, through a variety of pale yellows, and end with frosty white glass at the top. These particular windows are incredibly difficult to photograph, even for the most experienced photographer.

11 - PPleft  10 - PPcenter  12 - PPright

These three stained glass windows were the first “Browning Windows” on Baylor’s campus and were originally displayed in the Browning Room in Carroll Library. From left to right, they depict “The Guardian-Angel,” “The Pied Piper of Hamelin,” and “How They Brought the Good News from Ghent to Aix” and are from Haskins Studios, Rochester, New York, 1924. The windows were moved from Carroll Library to Armstrong-Browning Library in 1951.

15 - L1 14 - L1 13 - L1

These final three are part of a collection of six on our bottom floor. They are the newest in our collection, created by the Willet Stained Glass Studios, Philadelphia, celebrating Italy and Italian locations that were special to Robert, Elizabeth, and Pen Browning.

Armstrong-Browning Library & Museum – Ceilings

My camera just died.

About two minutes ago. The part that holds the batteries and SD card in broke in half. I don’t like this camera anyway. It takes poor quality pictures, it’s focus isn’t very good, and Kodak is apparently getting out of the camera business, so maybe it’s time to find a better quality one. Maybe used? Maybe refurbished? The hunt begins!


One of the ideas I had for this blog back when it was just a twinkle in my eye was that I’d post pictures from around the museum in which I work! I am employed at Armstrong-Browning Library and it is by far the best job I’ve ever had! I adore my fellow employees {Mary, Pat, Richard, and Justin}, my boss Jessica, and all the higher-ups! Aside from answering phones, answering questions, directing patrons, counting visitors, and giving tours, I also have time during my day here to work on my blog, work on my music, and do my homework. This is the best job ever! Since many of you might not ever get down to the Armstrong-Browning Library, I’d like to bring a few of its treasures to you!

The Armstrong-Browning Library celebrates the poetry and prose of Robert Browning {Pippa Passes} and Elizabeth Barrett Browning {“How do I love thee? Let me count the ways” Sonnet 43 from Sonnets of the Portuguese} and houses the world’s largest collection of their Browning material. Dr. Armstrong, an English professor, devoted his life to the Browning’s and the building of the library which opened in 1951 on Baylor University’s campus. But more on that story later.

One of my favorite features of the building is the ceilings! Dr. Armstrong traveled the world and picked up inspiration from all over and brought it into the design of this building.


This is the ceiling in the Martin Entrance Foyer. So many people who come in through the front doors are so mesmerized by the beauty of the paintings, busts, exhibits, and stained glass windows in this room that they forget to look UP! This is the ceiling I sit under every day!


This is the ceiling in the Hankamer Treasure room. The plaster-and-wood ceiling is hand-paintd in the style of the Italian Renaissance. This is different from many other room in which the ceilings better reflect the French style.


My now-dead camera did not take the most clear of pictures, but I think you can start to get an idea of the beauty and grandeur of ceiling here.


The exquisitely beautiful McLean Foyer of Meditation is a forty-foot cube with a dome that is recessed an additional five feet. The room was conceived and designed as a place for quiet peach and reflection. It was inspired by a room called the Arab Hall in the London home of Frederic, Lord Leighton, a famous Victorian artist who designed the tomb of Elizabeth Barrett Browning in Florence. – The Self-Guided Tour for Armstrong-Browning Library

I couldn’t have described it better myself… so I didn’t. Special features you can see in the photo:

  • The two-ton bronze chandelier decorated with bells and pomegranates
  • The dome, whose wide inner circle is covered with 23-carat gold leaf hand-pressed into wet plaster to create the velvet-like texture.
  • The barnyard animals encircling the inner circle to tie in with the upper portion of the walls hand-painted in the style of the Italian countryside.

There will be much more to come from the Armstrong-Browning Library and Museum in the upcoming weeks and months. I hope you’ve enjoyed a first look at the beauty of this museum.