February 11: Rowan Keith LeCompte (2014)

Rowan Keith LeCompte was born in Baltimore. From a young age, he was drawn to painting, architecture, and stained glass. His father was a baker and Rowan fired his early glass designs in the bakery oven. Following his service in World War II, there was no school at which to study a medieval art, so Rowan learned alone, with occasional tutorials from other masters. Stained glass may have been an ancient art, but he was not simply trying to recreate a lost art and saw his windows as an expression of his time. As early as 1955, he wanted to have stained glass “assert itself as a great modern art.”


Rowan LeCompte is best known for his works at Washington Cathedral, including the west rose window depicting creation, which the Washington Post hailed in 1976 as “one of the masterpieces of Christendom.” LeCompte has three of his early works at Epiphany. Two of them are interior etched-glass windows in the rear of the church. The third is a stained glass window in the east transept which LeCompte completed in 1958 with his first wife Irene, who was considered a gifted glass colorist. When the morning sun hits this window on a clear winter day, it’s easy to recognize the genius of Rowan and Irene LeCompte.

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