Grace Church



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Grace Church is located on the bend in Broadway at 10th Street in Manhattan in New York City. Grace Church is a historic parish church in the Episcopal Diocese of New York.

Grace Church considered a masterpiece, Gothic Revival designed by James Renwick, Jr., his first major commission. In 1843, the land on which the Grace Church was built was purchased from Henry Brevoort. The 23-year-old architect of Grace Church James Renwick, Jr. the nephew of Henry Brevoort whose sole completed work at the time was the Bowling Green Fountain, was commissioned as the architect. Grace Church is a National Historic Landmark designated for its architectural significance and place within the history of New York City, Grace Church registered as an New York City landmark, designated in 1966.
The cornerstone for the new church was laid in 1843 and Grace Church was consecrated in 1846. Vestry minutes from January of that year break down some of the expenses for building a new church—including items ranging from the cost of the workers from Sing Sing state prison who cut the stone to the cost of the embroidery for the altar cloth. Like Trinity Church (also consecrated in 1846), Grace Church was designed in the Gothic Revival style, and despite the wood, plaster (scored to look like stone) and lathe construction—as opposed to the stone construction of medieval Gothic cathedrals. For a full generation after it was built it was the most fashionable church in New York: "For many years Grace has been the centre of fashionable New York", Matthew Hale Smith observed in 1869: "To be married or buried within its walls has been ever considered the height of felicity".
The east window of Grace Church over the high altar created by the English stained glass manufacturer Clayton and Bell in 1878, dominates the chancel, and the whole church. A "Te Deum" window, its theme is praise. The figures with their faces raised toward Christ, who is seated at the top center, represent prophets, apostles, martyrs and all the world.
The reredos, of Grace Church with mosaic figures of the evangelists, is made of French and Italian Marble and Caen Stone, and shows the four Gospel writers, Matthew, Mark, Luke and John, flanking the Risen Christ as he gives the great commission, "Go into all the world and make disciples..." This piece, along with the altar, was designed by James Renwick Jr. and executed by Ellin & Kitson in 1878. The Choir furniture was installed in 1903 after the chancel was lengthened an additional fifteen feet in a renovation designed by Heins and La Farge.