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Rare Tiffany window installed in Abbey

Lynne McNeil describes how a Tiffany window commissioned by the Victorian philanthropist Andrew Carnegie has now been installed in the Abbey Church of Dunfermline.

A RARE Tiff any window, commissioned by philanthropist Andrew Carnegie has been installed in the Abbey Church of Dunfermline – more than 100 years after it was created.

The Victorian millionaire who famously gave away the fortune he made when he and his family emigrated to the USA, commissioned the window in 1912 in memory of his late mother and father who had lived in a cottage near the historic Abbey Church. He had hoped the window could be installed in the historic nave of the Abbey.

A decision was taken at that time by H M Commission for Ancient Monuments that the stained glass window was unsuitable for the nave because of its pastoral design. The window was left in storage for many years and subsequently installed within the town’s Carnegie Hall – a theatre purpose built for the Fife town with funding from Carnegie’s legacy.

Following some deterioration, the window was then restored and in 2008 placed in Andrew Carnegie House, the purpose-built new headquarters of the three Carnegie Trusts based in Scotland. However after a decade it was discovered that further restoration work was needed as a result of an overheated environment. With the centenary of Carnegie’s death in 2019, a decision was taken to fulfil Carnegie’s original wishes and install the window in a suitable location. The General Trustees of the Church of Scotland granted permission in early July for the stained glass window to be installed in a purpose-built frame with backlighting on the south side of the church.

The window was dedicated at a special service on August 12 and attended by representatives of the congregation, Carnegie family descendants, local and US communities, international Carnegie institutions and those who have provided funding for restoration and installation work, including the Dunard Fund and the Carnegie Corporation of New York. The service took place the day after the centenary of the death of Carnegie when a wreath-laying service took place at his statue in Pittencrieff Park, which he gifted to the people of Dunfermline, to be held in trust by the Carnegie Dunfermline Trust.

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