The chapel at the Isabella Stuart Gardner Museum, or Fenway Court as it was known during Gardner’s lifetime, was designed when the building was constructed in the early 1900s. The chapel was a private space while Gardner was living. An upholstered folding screen-- currently tucked to the left as visitors enter the chapel from the adjacent Long Gallery -- was used to block off the chapel space during public visiting hours. The Chapel and the Gothic Room were opened to the public after Gardner's death in 1924.
The focal point of the chapel is a twelve-foot high stained glass window “Scenes from the Lives of Saint Nicasius and Saint Eutropia,” created in France in the early thirteenth century. Additional information about the items in the chapel are described on the Museum’s website.
Gardner attended Grace Episcopal Church in New York City when she was a childIn 1872, Gardner switched her allegiance to the Anglo-Catholic, Church of the Advent in Boston where she commissioned an elaborate high altar screen. She was also committed to a monastic order, the Society of St. John the Evangelist, where she was a generous benefactor. She was opened minded and liked to learn about a range of ideas including Transcendentalism and Buddhism.
Isabella Gardner directed in her will that a memorial service take place in the Chapel at the museum each year on her birthday, April 14. The service was to be conducted by the Society of St. John the Evangelist, otherwise known as the Cowley Fathers. This service has taken place each year since Mrs. Gardner's death.