Dallin Sculpture Found Hidden in Plain Site
Andrew Jay, one of CDAM’s board directors, recently came across an article in the 1910 Christian Science Register about the unveiling of Cyrus Dallin’s portrait of Rev. Francis B. Hornbrooke at Channing Unitarian Church in Newton, Mass. Hornbrooke served as the Church’s pastor from 1879-1900. We had assumed that the bust remained in this location, but Andrew’s research revealed that the Channing Church is no longer active. This could have been very bad news. The sculpture could have been given to a family member, lost, or even destroyed.
The Channing Church merged with the First Unitarian Society in Newton in 1945. Today it is known as the First Unitarian Universalist Society. A call to the Society revealed no knowledge of the sculpture or its whereabouts. This turn of events did not bode well.
Luckily, a Society staff member graciously reached out to their historian who promptly contacted Andrew to report that the sculpture was in the care of the Newton Public Library. An introduction was also made to the library employee who oversees the surprisingly rich art collection.
The next day, Andrew visited the library and was happy to see the sculpture prominently displayed on the second floor. It is in beautiful condition! The sizable work is striking for its lifelike appearance and detail. This is a remarkable find, as it is one of very few Dallin marbles in existence. (Most of his works are castings in bronze and plaster.) We are also happy to report that our hunt for Hornbrooke has led to discussions about future collaborations between the Newton Public Library and Dallin Museum.