Decorative Painting

Decorations on the ceiling of Harkness Chapel.

Decorations on the ceiling of Harkness Chapel depict celestial, geometric and mythological themes. Gold stars crown the midnight-blue sky over the gallery at the rear of the building as well as the choir stalls at the front. Lions, griffins and dragons prowl the ceiling beams above the nave. The trusses are decorated with symbols associated with the writers of the four Christian gospels: a man for Matthew, a lion for Mark, an ox for Luke and an eagle for John. Rogers said in his design notes that the decorations would help make the chapel "more cheerful."

The artwork was done by George Davidson (1889-1965), a native of Russia who was raised in Hartford, Conn. Davidson taught painting at Cooper Union Art School in New York and was also a noted portrait artist.

His commissions included the Buffalo (N.Y.) Savings Bank, state office buildings in Texas and Tennessee, and the Mount Royal Hotel in Montreal. He worked with Rogers on buildings at Columbia and Yale. Connecticut College records show Davidson was paid $3,590 - more than twice the average annual income for a high school graduate in 1940 - for his work at Harkness.

Contact Information:



Email Laurie McGrath,

Office of Religious and Spiritual Life
Harkness Chapel
Box 5203
New London, CT 06320-4196