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A Hidden Treasure

In the winter of 1995, Anne Vaasjo, then a University of Victoria student was commissioned to design a sculptural project for Rose Manor. It would be displayed in the rotunda, which is a hexagonal area, open to the second floor at the junction of four wings in the heart of the building.

Anne’s assessment of the area where her sculpture would be displayed revealed some discrepancies in the architectural design in contrast to that of the Manor. Specifically the ceiling, which was set apart form the rest of the ceiling by wood molding. Determined to find some answers, she crawled through a hatch in a linen cupboard to gain access to the attic and discovered, under a layer of insulation, a hexagon shaped stained glass skylight which was eight feet in diameter. Curiosity paid off and revealed a hidden treasure.

Originally the window sat beneath a cupola which shed light on to the glass ceiling and throughout the two storey rotunda. At what point in time the cupola was removed and the stained glass entombed is unknown. An employee of 22 years reported that the cupola had not been in place during her term of employment and she retired from Rose Manor in October of 2003.

The skylight consists of nine panels of stained and painted glass. The central panel is decorated with floral image and is ringed by the remaining eight sections. The simple, geometric design was typical of the late 1800’s, according to Ed Schaefer of Ed Schaefer Stained Glass Studio, who states that this original work was designed as part of 100 year old Rose Manor. Built as an architectural embellishment, Schaefer believes the skylight was created by Henry Bloomfield and Sons, Stained Glass of Vancouver, BC. Their work can also be seen in the British Columbia Legislative Buildings, the Young Building at Camosun College and in the Christ Church Cathedral in Victoria.

In preparation for it’s unveiling at Rose Manor on April 29th, 1998, Schaefer and his assistant, Weaver Armstrong, both of Victoria, spent approximately 100 hours restoring all nine panels and completely releaded the skylight. Restored to its former glory, the stained glass skylight has once again been displayed in the rotunda for the daily enjoyment of residents, employees and visitors to Rose Manor.