Posts Tagged With: rooster

Rooster Redux

rooster_restoredI just came across a letter in the SPS archives collection about the rooster carving I repaired this spring. The letter was part of a larger collection of papers newly acquired by the archives.  It was written by carver John Gregory Wiggins to Henry Crocker Kittredge and is dated February 12th, 1939.  Kittredge was at that time the sitting Rector of SPS, following the death of Samuel Smitth Drury, Fourth Rector, and in 1947 would become the Sixth Rector of SPS. Here’s an excerpt from the letter:

Dear Henry:

I’ve just shipped off a rooster to you. The last one was broken and sent me by SSD [Samuel Smith Drury]. He’s a finial for the choir room.  I’ve left the extra base on for ease in packing. These finials were all put on the pew ends by SPS labor, and the staining was done the same way. So I guess there’ll be no trouble about that. This is a ruggeder rooster and ought to stand up to ordinary wear + tare [sp.].”

This indicates that the rooster carving that is now located in the Choir Room is not the original one carved in 1930, but the replacement carved in 1939.  It is also interesting to learn from this letter that the mounting and staining was done  by workers at the School to match the finish on the pews – it explains the sort of rough way the rooster was attached to the pew end, which likely led to the split in the base.

Categories: History, Other Carvings | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

The Form of 1998 Plaque

Here is a photograph of the completed plaque for the Form of 1998. It was dedicated on June 1, 2013 and hangs in the Middle Dining Hall of Coit (The Upper) above the panels that contain the names of all the members of the Form of 1998. Below the photo is the description of the elements incorporated in the plaque design.

1998_fp_framed_web

The New Hampshire State House dome is the central image for the 1998 Form plaque, and represents the march by over 300 community members from St. Paul’s School to the State House lawn on Martin Luther King Day that year. The march was organized to encourage the State to add Martin Luther King Jr.’s name to the holiday, which was called Civil Rights Day at the time. This is represented by the MLK initials carved in the tympanum beneath the State House dome. The upper right corner of the plaque features an open book with the initials CBA carved onto the pages, representing the beginning of the Rectorship of the Right Reverend Dr. Craig Barry Anderson, Eleventh Rector of St. Paul’s School. The book symbolizes the Rural Record, a journal of day-to-day life that was kept at St. Paul’s School from 1857 into the early 20th century. In the upper left corner is a trophy with the Roman numerals IV carved into it. This represents the four sports teams that won New England championships that school year – field hockey, wrestling, boys’ crew, and girls’ crew. In the lower center section of the plaque a shield is carved featuring an element from the coat-of-arms from the Henley-on-Thames Town Hall. This represents the boys’ and girls’ crew teams’ trip to the Henley Regatta – where the girls’ team won the Peabody cup. The lower left and right sections feature four feathers representing each of the newly renovated Quad dorms. Each of the dorms has a stone carving on the building representing a different bird – an owl for Manville, a pelican for Simpson, a rooster for Brewster, and an eagle for Ford – the feathers in the carving are from each kind of bird.

Categories: Completed Plaques, Form of 1998 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

1998 Plaque Progress: Plaque Completed

dome_painted

The Form of 1998 plaque is now completed.  The above photograph shows a sample of the painted finish on the plaque – the center portion showing the New Hampshire State Capitol dome representing the Martin Luther King Jr. Day march.

The completed framed plaque will be revealed on Anniversary Weekend on Saturday June 1st – at which time photographs of the finished plaque will be published online.  Thank you to the representative from the Form of 1998 for your help with this project –  I am looking forward to seeing members of the Form of 1998 at the SPS Anniversary event to celebrate your new Form plaque!

Categories: Form of 1998 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

1998 Plaque Progress: Carving Complete

1998_carved

Above is a photo of the completed carving for the 1998 Form plaque.  The photos below show details of the finished carving:

dome

mlk

The center of the carving features the State House dome with the initials MLK in the tympanum. This represents the march from SPS to the State House on Martin Luther King, Jr. Day (which was then called Civil Rights Day) to encourage the addition of MLK’s name to the New Hampshire State Holiday.

book

In the upper right corner features an open book with the initials CBA to represent the beginning of the Right Reverend Dr. Craig Barry Anderson’s term as Eleventh Rector of St. Paul’s School.

trophy

The upper left corner shows a trophy with the Roman numerals IV representing the four sports teams that won New England championships that school year – field hockey, wrestling, boys’ crew, and girls’ crew.

henley

In the lower center portion of the plaque there is a carving of a shield featuring an element from the coat-of-arms from the Henley-on-Thames Town Hall. This represents the boy’s and girl’s crew teams trip to the Henley Regatta – the girls’ team winning the Peabody Cup.

feathers1

feathers2

The lower left and right sides of the plaque feature four carved feathers – each representing one of the Quad dorms that were renovated and re-dedicated on October 3, 1997.  Each of the dorms has a stone carving representing a different bird – an owl for Manville, a pelican for Simpson, a rooster for Brewster, and an eagle for Ford – feathers are shown from each kind of bird.

Once the carving has been sealed with a linseed oil finish it will be ready for the painting process to begin.Check back in a few weeks for a sneak peek photo of the finished plaque.

Categories: Form of 1998 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Choir Room Carving: The Triumphant Rooster

Over the March break I had the opportunity to finish up a small project that was very special to me – restoring one of the carvings in the choir room of the New Chapel.  There are a number of fanciful carvings adorning the tops of the bench ends in the choir practice room, all carved in 1930 by J. Gregory Wiggins, master carver, originator of the Form plaques, and former faculty member of SPS.

One of these carvings, a rooster located on the right side of the room on the back bench, had been damaged at the point where it was originally attached to the bench end.  I found the rooster stored away among other School artifacts while looking for photographs  for the archives, and discovered that the split piece had gone missing.  I had remembered seeing it damaged in the choir room back in 2010 when I was researching Wiggins, and went back and looked at the photographs I took of his carvings, including this one below that shows the damaged section:

rooster_damage

The photo below is of the carving, showing the damaged section of the base near the rooster’s back leg.  In this picture I have cleaned up the rough edges of the break so that I can fit a new piece of wood to the base.

rooster_repair

The restoration involved carving a small replacement piece – similar to creating the missing piece to a puzzle.  I used a scrap of oak wood to match the original carving, and carefully carved the shape to fit into the break and match the profile of the carving.  I used a number of carving tools, files, and special clamps to create this small carved piece.

Because this broken section originated at one of the original mounting holes I had to find an alternate way to re-attach the carving to the bench-end.  On the bottom of the carving I cleaned out a recessed area and attached a small flush-mounted piece of hardware that allows for a screw head to slide into place, securing the carving flush to the top of the bench end.

rooster_bottom

Once I had carved the missing piece to fit the broken section I glued it in place.  I made small adjustments to the fit and then stained and finished the replacement piece to match the surrounding wood.  I cleaned up the carving and re-attached it to the bench end in the choir room, as shown in the photographs below:

rooster_restored_detail

rooster_restored

One of the reasons this restoration project was special to me is that I felt it gave me the opportunity to give something back to J. Gregory Wiggins by repairing one of his carvings. I am much indebted to his work in originating the Form plaque tradition at SPS.  It was also a pleasure to work so closely with one of his carvings and observe the details of his carving process as evidenced in his work. His carvings have taught me a lot about this project, and whenever I feel stuck or uncertain on how to proceed I ask myself – “what would Wiggins do?” – and I am able to find a solution in the legacy of his work.

A final note:

I came across a letter in the archives written to J. Gregory Wiggins from Samuel Smith Drury (Fourth Rector of SPS), dated May 15, 1930, in which Drury had this to say about the completion of the choir room carvings:

A special fund put at my disposal has enabled me to carry through the embellishment of the choir-room, and I am confidently happy in the thought that generations of young choristers will sing all the more lustily, when they look at the triumphant rooster . . .

And happily, now they can continue to do so.

Read the update to this article by clicking HERE.

Categories: Other Carvings | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

1998 Form Plaque Progress: Design Complete

1998_finaldrawing_w

The design stage is complete for the 1998 Form plaque. I worked with a representative of the Form of 1998 to come up with a list of events, and the following design elements were chosen:

1998 Form Plaque Design Elements

Plaque designs traditionally incorporate one world news event and three to five School events.

World Event:

  • Center: Martin Luther King, Jr. Day – the march from SPS to State House to encourage the addition of MLK’s name to the State Holiday. This is shown as the State House dome with the initials MLK in the tympanum.

School Events:

  • Upper right: An open book with the initials CBA to represent the beginning of the Right Reverend Dr. Craig Barry Anderson term as Eleventh Rector of St. Paul’s School.
  • Upper left: A trophy with the Roman numerals IV representing the four sports teams that won New England championships that school year – Field Hockey, Wrestling, Boys’ Crew, and Girls’ Crew.
  • Lower center: A shield featuring an element from the coat-of-arms from the Henley-on-Thames Town Hall representing that the boy’s and girl’s crew teams went to the Henley Regatta – the girls’ team winning the Peabody cup.
  • Lower left and right: Four feathers represent each of the Quad dorms that were renovated and re-dedicated on October 3, 1997.  Each of the dorms has a stone carving representing a different bird – an owl for Manville, a pelican for Simpson, a rooster for Brewster, and an eagle for Ford – so feathers are shown from each kind of bird.

I will begin working on carving the plaque next and will post images of the carving as the work progresses.

Categories: Design Process, Form of 1998 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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