Lost Garden, Lead Faun and Lost in Time

John Gregg spoke to the need to move garden ornaments and figures in order to keep them visible to the eye. The large Diana (now in Hawaii), the lead faun and the Three Graces moved about the Park and gardens.

Three Graces at Lost Garden Path

Three Graces at Lost Garden Path

Chinese Musicians on path to the Lost Garden

Chinese Musicians on path to the Lost Garden

These two post card dates from the late 1960’s or early 1970’s. They show the placement of the original Chinese musicians and the Three Graces at the Lost Garden.

A pavilion with five inset shelters served as the focal point for this garden. The central inset held the marble copy of the Canova Venus (now in the marbled hallway leading to the Carriage House/dining room) as well as a spiral staircase leading to a rooftop sunbathing platform. John Gregg designed the Lost Garden in 1932. John and Robert would repeat this theme at their Kauai  estate.

Remnants of Lost Garden - 2003

Remnants of Lost Garden – 2003

Two Allerton Publications - both 1951 President George Stoddard and Dean Rexford Newcomb authored the one on the left. Dean Par Danforth edited the text for the one on the right.

Two Allerton Publications – both 1951
President George Stoddard and Dean Rexford Newcomb authored the one on the left. Dean Par Danforth edited the text for the one on the right.

In 1951, the University published two brochures  (pictured) of introduction to the newly opened Robert Allerton Park. President George Stoddard wrote a short welcome and Dean Rexford Newcomb authored the text of introduction in the black and white brochure printed on slick paper. This brochure gave introduction to the most important features of Robert’s gift – the landscaped gardens and fine art, the House architecture and offered photographs of the House interior.

The other brochure, also published in 1951 but on rag paper, gave more in depth information about the Park holdings – statuary, formal gardens including the Lost Garden. This brochure offered no photographs of the House interior. It also presented a good aerial photo of the Lost Garden.

Four Herculaneum at Kauai estate

Four Herculaneum at Kauai estate

In the transcript 1978 interview between Dr. Theobald and John Gregg Allerton at the Hawaii estate, John Gregg stated that the Herculaneum group had previously been installed at the Lost Garden. Where was this massive figural group installed within the Lost Garden?

At the Kuaui estate, the Herculaneum group hold court on the expansive stone patio outside the main entrance to the house.

Photo of Lost Garden at time of gift (1946) Allerton Publication - 1951 Par Danforth, editor

Photo of Lost Garden at time of gift (1946) Allerton Publication – 1951 Par Danforth, editor

Path to Lost Garden at time of Gift (1946) Allerton Publication - 1951 - Par Danforth, editor - Lead Faun at Lost Garden trailhead

Path to Lost Garden at time of Gift (1946)
Allerton Publication – 1951 – Par Danforth, editor – Lead Faun at Lost Garden trailhead

Both brochures provided views of the Lost Garden pavilion, the Chinese musicians and the lead faun statue on a pedestal at the train head. The lead faun was last seen in storage in the former gardening shed behind the Visitor’s Center. The statue had little art value. It was simply decorative garden art and modeled after the classical statues. The Allerton Lead Faun was reportedly a copy of the one at the Uffizi Gallery in Florence.

Lead Faun - September, 2004 - In Storage

Lead Faun – September, 2004 – In Storage

Marble Faun at Louvre Museum, Paris

Marble Faun at Louvre Museum, Paris

For Robert, an aesthete, the display of great original art was less important than the artistic expression conveyed by the staging of copies. How does the impressive figure of Adam lend itself to the experience of the garden visit? While the ‘real deal’ from the Art Institute would be better, the copy Adam in limestone gives the garden stroller the impression of ‘real.’

For central Illinois, the choices are limited for ornamental horticulture to enhance architectural details. After John Gregg entered Robert’s life, the couple purchased works of original art that became the architectural focus of the garden design. While the Sunsinger supersize was a surprise, the scope of the landscaping for his installation provided a stunning design. In the case of Kauai, the horticultural possibilities are dramatic, year around and offer a tension equal to the man-made elements.

Lush and dramatic plants, bushes and trees define garden spaces at Kauai

Lush and dramatic plants, bushes and trees define garden spaces at Kauai

Diana Fountain and Pavilion at Kauai estate

Diana Fountain and Pavilion at Kauai estate

None of the pieces documented by photo or interview to have been at the Lost Garden were unique pieces of original art nor valuable. They were good quality and expensive yard art ornamental copies. At the Lost Garden, however, they must have made quite an impression in a setting where it would be possible to become lost in time.

The Lost Garden Pavilion was razed in 1972. The subject of this destruction rankled John Gregg Allerton. In 1976, the Park Director was called for an explanation of the destruction. The animosity between John Gregg and the Park Director became evident and continued as campus administrators and other insiders began to raise financial questions that went unanswered.

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A new perspective of Rainey Bennett – Four Floral Panels

The Chicago artist, Rainey Bennett, painted the four floral paintings that are inset within the paneling of the Oak Room at the Allerton Retreat Center. They were painted and installed in 1951. A handwritten letter dated to October, 1951, in the University archive library from Robert Allerton to then President George Stoddard asks the president to oversee their installation. The panels were commissioned and paid by Robert Allerton for $1,000. Robert also wrote that Bennett had mailed him photographs of the newly completed set of four.

Bennett Floral - Background suggest columns similar those at the Centaur

Bennett Floral – Background suggest columns similar those at the Centaur

 The panels replaced family portraits that were removed and donated to the AIC. The paneling within the Oak Room was built around the paintings, so the portraits would be recessed within the walls. Robert graciously filled the holes with these four original oils on panel.

Bennett Floral - Does the background figure suggest the Sunsinger?

Bennett Floral – Does the background figure suggest the Sunsinger?

Bennett Floral - Is there an Allerton reference suggested in the background?

Bennett Floral – Is there an Allerton reference suggested in the background?

Certainly Robert and John knew Rainey from their active support of Chicago artists and the Chicago Art Institute. Rainey contributed to many shows at the AIC and within the city.

Rainey Bennett was an active and successful artist, primarily working and living in Chicago. Early in his art career, he painted murals and executed artwork under the WPA program. Bennett painted murals for Rushville (1939) and Naperville (1941) IL Post Offices.

Bennett painted scenes for advertising art for Standard Oil, Rockefeller’s and later in his career for Marshall Field’s Department store in Chicago. Bennett illustrated and authored children’s books. He was the author-illustrator for The Secret Hiding Place and After the Sun Goes Down and the illustrator of The Temper Tantrum Book and Pig and the Blue Flag.IMG_0828

Bennett illustration from Pig and the Blue Flag

Bennett illustration from Pig and the Blue Flag

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Bennett may be most recognized by adults of a certain age for his illustrations for the Scott Foresman reading series during the 1960’s. He was a primary illustrator for Scott Foresman.

The commission for the Allerton floral paintings show a departure from Bennett’s usual style. The panels would indicate from their suggestive background figures and shadows that the artist had an intimate knowledge and appreciation for Robert’s gardens and the sculptural and architectural pieces installed within. In the background, or hidden within the flowers themselves, are shapes that suggest a portrayal of the shapes and textures presented at Robert’s estate.

Rainey Bennett’s works, according to on line sources, are owned by a great many art museums, including the Art Institute of Chicago where Rainey Bennett also taught.

In 1951, Rainey Bennett was coming into his own as a career and recognized Chicago artist. primarily working in illustration, advertising art and public art. Bennett illustration are mostly pen and ink sketches enhanced with watercolor washes. His paintings of South American scenes, such as he made for Standard Oil, are most frequently done in gouache and watercolor. Lithographs were also made of his watercolors for advertising promotion or local gallery sales. Rainey exhibited widely in Chicago and in at least two exhibitions that toured nationally.

1954 - Artists Equity Association - Chicago publication featuring a Bennett lithograph

1954 – Artists Equity Association – Chicago publication featuring a Bennett lithograph

Bennett’s contributed a frog composition  in a1954 oversized portfolio of original lithographs published by Artists Equity Association – Chicago. The style of the 1954 frog lithograph became Bennett’s signature illustration style. The Chicago Tribune published many Bennett illustrations as stand alone photos. Bennett also produced advertising art for Marshall Field’s Chicago department store. In the 1970’s, Marshall Field’s produced limited edition decorative Christmas plates featuring a Rainey Bennett illustration.

Bennett watercolors and signed lithograph prints come up for on-line auction regularly.  As seen of the screen shot, 13 Rainey Bennett items were offered on that date on eBay.

Screen Shot - Ebay listing of Rainey Bennett items

Screen Shot – Ebay listing of Rainey Bennett items

This week, one original watercolor (gouache?) of Venezuela landscape was offered for $895.00 at on-line sale. The auction site also offered a post card sized advertisement for a 1960 exhibition at Feingarten Galleries in four major cities. The card features a Rainey Bennett work. This advertising ephemera was offered for $10.

Bennett’s Christmas plates turn up fairly regularly on eBay and Etsy at reasonable prices, between $5 and $20. These plates may become more collectible for collectors of Chicago memorabilia because the Macy’s name replaced Marshall Fields when it acquired the store. The double Chicago connection as well as Bennett’s whimsical illustrations will continue to attract buyers of these small collectable items.

Bennett’s books can be purchased through Amazon and multiple on-line book resellers and even from public library discards. Copies of the above mentioned books written and/or illustrated by Bennett are offered on line at prices ranging from $4 to $109.

Opening Illustration from After the Sun Goes Down

Opening Illustration from After the Sun Goes Down

Discarded Scott Foresman elementary readers featuring Bennett’s illustrations are readily found at little to no cost. Opening a fifth grade reader from 1962 and seeing the Bennett illustrations presented a full sensory flashback to Mrs. Heinz classroom. Going back in time is not always a good thing.

Bennett’s artwork fits well in children’s rooms and with minimalist and Mid-century modern style and decor.

A more comprehensive review of Rainey Bennett’s work is necessary before determining how much of a stylistic departure the four floral panels at Allerton represent within the artist’s full body of work.

Bennett Floral - What do the background columns and figure suggest to you?

Bennett Floral – What do the background columns and figure suggest to you?

Each unique floral panel presents a still life of flowers in a vase, yet, a new hidden detail at each new viewing draws the eye into the painting and beyond, searching for clues and hidden figures – connections to Robert’s estate.

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2nd Annual Kirby Wellness Walk Extended a Week

The Kirby Wellness Walk at Allerton Park has been extended an extra week. IMG_0539The Walk has been suspended for this week, January 2-6, 2018, owing to the dangerous weather conditions predicted to continue. IMG_0550The Walk has been extended to next week, nightly Tuesday through Saturday.

The Wellness Walk is certainly worth the effort required for warm dressing. The Mansion is lovely in winter. The giant bonfire photo posted on Facebook of the Winter Soltice Bonfire stirred regret for having missed the Park in such festivity.

IMG_0532This second Kirby Wellness Walk at Allerton Park opened Friday, December 8, 2017. Local marketing and promotion was extensive and effective.

Light wrapped palm trees on Wilshire Blvd, Beverly Hills, CA

Light wrapped palm trees on Wilshire Blvd, Beverly Hills, CA

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At least two local television newscasts promoted the Walk and Mansion activities with live feeds the prior to the opening event. Social media marketing hit a receptive audience. Traditional news feeds, print and on line, were also exploited.

The Friday Showcase was advertised to begin at 5:00. By 4:30, wreath making classes were underway in the Visitors Center, the sun was setting, the light show was turned on, fires blazed in two fire pits and each window of the Mansion danced with light and activity. Overhead string lights created a canopy that defined the fire space, provided friendly ambiance and lighted the way to the dazzling tunnel.

LIghted Tunnel on Wellness Walk

LIghted Tunnel on Wellness Walk

This fairy-land light tunnel then opened to the meadow giving a splendid look at the night sky in one direction, or a beautiful panorama of the Mansion and its mirror reflection in the small lake.

On nights when the Mansion is not reserved and no activity can be seen within, the window shades are drawn and rooms unlit. For the benefit of the Wellness Walk, blue and white ground lights flood the walls and cast angular shadows. The Mansion seems slightly ominous and hulking, like an aging relic of the Gilded Age. The Mansion has had a full schedule of ticketed weekend activities, many of which were sold out.

During Robert’s residency a staff of about ten maintained the Mansion and grounds. Many lived on site in one of the homes on the grounds. Some house staff had quarters in the Mansion. IMG_0652IMG_0650

Opening Night Festivities at Mansion Decemmber 8, 2017

Opening Night Festivities at Mansion December 8, 2017

Since Robert usually traveled abroad during the winter months, during Robert’s absence, the Mansion probably burned only essential lighting. Much like during Robert’s residency, the drawn window shades of the Mansion and dim interior lights spoke to their master’s absence.

In the bright lights of Opening Night and other nights of hosted events, the Retreat takes on an air of vitality, life and expectation. Lights flicker as busy shadows criss cross within. Indistinct murmurings and crescendo laughs beckon an invitation inside to retreat from the cold.

Here’s hoping for warmer weather next and this extended opportunity to visit Allerton Park in a new light. Enjoy our local Wonder of Illinois and Kirby Wellness Walk at Allerton Park and Retreat.

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Sailing the Ocean – Crossing the Pond

This model of the transatlantic ocean liner, Mauretania, is on display in the Water Transportation exhibit in the Smithsonian Museum of American History, in Washington DC. The Mauretania belonged to the British Cunard line and provided transatlantic passenger service primarily between New York City and England, usually porting at Southampton. The Mauretania held the speed record, the Blue Riband, for round trip transatlantic crossing for twenty years – 1909-1929.

Mauretania model at Smithsonian

Mauretania model at Smithsonian

With the ease of transatlantic or transpacific flights today, travel by ocean liner across the Atlantic for 4 days 22 hours seems difficult to imagine. Today’s Piatt County resident can drive to Chicago, catch a flight and arrive in London a short eight hours later.

In 1906, it took Robert Allerton about a week of non-leisure travel to reach Europe. The crossing took nearly five days, plus two day’s train travel from Chicago and another day’s travel by train from Monticello.IMG_9765

Unlike today’s air traveler with the choice of departure city, airline, class, price and time schedule. The choice for transatlantic travel in 1913, for example, rested primarily upon three passenger lines: Cunard, White Star and either Hamburg-America or North German Lloyd. Each line offered one Atlantic crossing per week using three ships for weekly service; a total of nine ocean liners making the weekly crossing. Three travel classes were offered. Each ship could carry 2,000 or more passengers. 6,000 people per week traveling from New York to England in 1913 seems like a big number for its time. Some well known transatlantic ships included Mauretania, Luisitania, Britannic, Olympic, Titanic, Cedric, Adriatic to name a few.

The New York Times newspaper reported scheduled ocean liner arrivals and departures, along with prominently name passengers, Robert Allerton included. In April, 1911, five ships from the Hamburg-America line docking in port in New York City at the same time made front page of the Times.

On-line searchable Ship Passenger Manifests provide a wealth of information. The manifests corroborate anecdotal or third party story and accurately document other claims. On-line demographic databases, such as Ancestry and FamilySearch, can factually dispute urban legends.

According to an on-line manifest database, Robert crossed the Atlantic at least five times on the Luisitania, sunk by a German U Boat in 1915. Ship manifests confirm Robert’s travel around the world with Charles Russell Hewlett in 1905.

Ship manifests document Robert traveled almost yearly, or twice, to Europe. The manifests support Robert’s reported practice of leaving the Farms during the winter months, returning home in March.

In 1909, Robert sailed to England in January aboard the ill-fated Luisitania, and home in March on the German ship, Kaiser Wilhelm II. Robert sailed to Europe round trip, again on the Luisitania, in 1911, leaving in January and returning in April. In January 1912, Robert sailed to England again on the Luisitania. According to a blurb in the Oakland Tribune in February 1913, Robert Allerton was the guest of Roger Quilter in South Mayfair, London. Robert returned to the US in April on the Mauretania.

New  print of Vintage photo. Found at resale store in Champaign. Dated 1912 in pencil on back. Four stacks identifies this class of ship. Mauretania was a ship of this class and similar markings.

New print of Vintage photo. Found at resale store in Champaign. Dated 1912 in pencil on back. Four stacks identifies this class of ship. Mauretania was a ship of this class and similar markings.

WWI slowed international travel, but the market quickly rebounded after the war. The White Star line lost the Titanic in 1912 to an iceberg collision. The Cunard line Luisitania was sunk by a German U-boat in 1915. The Brittanic was also sunk by enemy mines. By 1920, Robert had resumed his frequent travels abroad. Robert and friend, Frederic Clay Bartlett, sailed round trip in 1925 on the Barengaria, porting in Cherburg, France. The two men spent two February and March abroad on an art collecting trip for the Art Institute of Chicago, purchasing pieces that would become the Helen Birch Bartlett Memorial Collection. Robert would return to Europe in July, 1925 aboard the Mauretania.

Ship manifests also confirm that Robert and John Gregg sailed together to England or Germany in 1927, 1930 and twice in 1932. Ship manifest of the German liner, the Bremen puts Robert and John Gregg aboard in January, 1932, returning home in March on sister-ship Europa. The Bremen had captured the Blue Riband from Mauretania in 1929. Evidently a second trip was taken to Germany, because the couple sailed home from Southampton to New York on the Europa in early November, 1932.P1040153

The two Bronze (Sea) Maidens that flank the entry into the Brick Garden have roots with ocean liner travel. Most likely during the Allerton’s 1932 travels, the couple commissioned a reversed pair of the statue that stood atop the ticket kiosk for the German Hamburg-Amerika line. The original statue held a Viking ship. For the Monticello Farms, the maidens hold bowls of grain in harmony with their agricultural placement. The original kiosk statue, according to a German blogger, remains in storage in the Hapag-Lloyd warehouse in Hamburg, Germany.

Will there be an on-line archive for our distant relatives or curious to search our travels on passenger lists? The digitalized passenger lists of ship manifests of the early 1900’s have a ‘tangible’ feel. The subscriber views digitalized photos of the original fountain pen scrawled or typed passenger manifests of ocean liner archives.The passenger lists include details like nationality, birth place, home address, occupation, purpose of travel. As a digitalized archive, the document is searchable by word. What a research innovation! The searchable database constantly expands as documents are entered. Early hand-written census records, ship passenger lists, immigration entry records, and signed passport applications with photographs offer post-modern tangibility to research.

In 1933 and thereafter, the Robert and John’s chose destinations with tropical climates like Tahiti, New Zealand, Australia, Cambodia, Thailand and China. It was at the end of one such cruise during a stopover in Honolulu en route home that Robert and John visited the island of Kauai to see some real estate for sale.

And Allerton Park and Retreat is the rest of the story.

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It’s all in the details…

Can you find the small change in the pair of Bronze Maidens? Compare the shots from 2016 and 2017.

2016 October

2016 October

October 2017 - Kuohl Bronze Maidens

October 2017 – Kuohl Bronze Maidens

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2016 October

2016 October

The cable series Project Runway, Fixer Upper and Million Dollar Listing and others sell their fans on the details. It’s all in the details.

IMG_7235This is also a reminder to the upcoming Kirby Hospital Winter Wellness Walk that begins December 8, 2017 and continues many evenings per week until January 6, 2018. The gardens will be open for evening walks in a lighted magical environment. Opening Friday night begins December 8, 2017 at 5:00. After strolling through the lighted gardens, the visitor can enter the House with paid entry to the Holiday Showcase. Live music will be performed, libations can be purchased and visitors can stroll through the House and shop local vendors for holiday gifts and wares. The Showcase continues daily through December 10, 2017.

Tickets are available now through Event Brite app. If purchased before December 1, showcase entry for Friday night is discounted from $10 to $8. Ticket entry on Saturday and Sunday is $10. Docent tours of the House are not scheduled during the Showcase.

The object of the Holiday Showcase 2017 seems to be about shopping for gifts in a magical setting with music and merriment. Vendors will offer products or take orders and arrange delivery.

Allerton Park is offering many holiday activities during November and December. Many of the activities are limited in number, require reservation or ticket (Event Brite) and some are already SOLD OUT.

For all these activities, your paid ticket gives entry into a splendidly decorated 1900 Georgian style home.IMG_7376 Robert Allerton did not live the Gilded Age life compared to the Vanderbilt’s, Astor’s, Carnegie’s or Rockefeller’s, but in the eye of the mid-western, non-urbans, Robert lived ‘higher on the hog’ than anyone else in Piatt County.

The magic of Robert’s House continues today. The magic leaves much to our own imaginations, since the House operates as a hotel and not a museum. Robert actually lived much better than what the visitor to his House today sees. IMG_7389Little of what the visitors see during the tour are original to Robert Allerton. Robert’s Bedroom upstairs is the same room, same bed and same sheets where a weekend wedding guest might sleep next week. The House is a swell hotel, but it is not a museum of keepsakes. What we see and take away mentally from today’s tour of Robert’s House is what we want choose. The Park is our magical escape. It’s comforting to know we still have one.

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An Opportunity Awaits – Sunday, October 8 & Monday, October 9, 2017

Next Sunday, October 8, 2017, at the Allerton Public Library in Monticello, IL a great opportunity awaits. Mr. David Finnigan, author of the book Inside Allerton offers a talk and slide presentation about Robert Allerton Park and book signing. Due to available stock, a limited number of copies of his book, released in late May of this year, will also be available for purchase. Whether you purchase his book on site or if you’ve already purchased this excellent sourcebook, Mr. Finnigan will gladly sign for you.

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Another book signing event takes place the following day, October 9, at the Lincoln Library in Springfield, IL at 8:00 PM.

David Finnigan’s book is available on line from Amazon and eBay, as well as at selected locations locally in Monticello including, but not limited to, Allerton Library, Walgreen’s, The Steeple Coffeehouse, and at Allerton Conference Center (The House) within Allerton Park.

Mr. Finnigan’s book includes wonderful historic and contemporary photographs of the interior of the House and the gardens. His book has been carefully and thoroughly researched and documented. Mr. Finnigan’s book is required reading for everyone interested in the history of Robert Allerton’s Mansion and Formal Gardens.

In order to anticipate and accommodate the crowd expected, Allerton Library asks those planning to attend to call the library or email in advance. Pre-registration is not required; no one will be turned away. The telephone number is 217.762.4676 Email: info@monticellolibrary.org

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A New View of The Park

Take a look at this drone video of the Formal Gardens of Allerton Park! A bird’s eye perspective. Enjoy!

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Passing the Park to the Next Generation

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Puvis de Chavannes on exhibit at Allerton Park

The Sacred Grove at the Art Institute of Chicago

The Sacred Grove at the Art Institute of Chicago

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Last year, this vintage postcard gave unexpected proof that this painting actually exhibited in the Allerton House. A copy of a 1955 letter in the University Archives about Robert Allerton’s request for the loan of the painting gave rise to the research question in the first place. This postcard found on Ebay provided evidence. A catalogue raisonnee of de Chavannes’ works cited by Ryerson Library at the Art Institute of Chicago supplied the missing dates. The Sacred Grove by French painter, Puvis de Chavannes was on loan from the AIC to Allerton House at Robert Allerton Park from May 11, 1955 to October 26, 1962. The Sacred Grove, painted circa 1884, was gifted to the Art Institute in 1922.

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Charioteers and Racing Minds

IMG_3979Two gloved and goggled Park volunteers on scaffolding armed with buckets and hand brushes recently scrubbed the pedestal of a Charioteer. The mild weather and shady location undoubtedly made this task a pleasant one.

A dedicated force of volunteers serve The Park in many capacities and by many talents. Volunteers help to maintain the gardens and trails, to lead or assist in group tours, and to help with special public events, like the recent Prairie Sky music festival and the evening lighted Wellness Walk img_7312that begins in November.

In walking by the couple toiling in their volunteer labors, the history of the Charioteer and these commissioned copies, along with trailing questions, came to mind. Are the two Charioteers at The Park entrance reversed copies? Which arm was originally extended? IMG_3977Informative signage with vintage photograph at the Fu Dog Gazebo provided the answers. The pair of Charioteer appear to have been reversed. Identical to the original Charioteer of Delphi, each Charioteer copy originally had one arm extended as if holding reins. The bronze charioteer (singular) from antiquity is missing his left arm distal from mid-bicep but both arms originally were probably holding reins. When Robert Allerton commissioned the copies, he had the image reversed in the second. In this way, when the pair was installed side to side, each had the outer arm extended. Robert took a certain liberty in interpreting a reversed copy. When Robert disliked the extended outer arms, he asked the artist, Charles Laing, to break off the extended arms to make the figure symmetrical and armless.

Charles Laing, a Scottish stone-cutter who had immigrated to Chicago in the early 1900’s, carved the two charioteers from Indiana limestone. Robert Allerton commissioned a great many sculptural and decorative pieces from Charles Laing. While the Charioteer of Delphi and the Three Graces are copies of famous masterpieces, Laing also chiseled the two Reclining Sphinx. 2013 7 14 SphinxThis female headed lion pair preside over the entrance to the lake and meadow beyond and were executed according to John Borie’s measured hand drawings. Similarly, Laing carved the pair of Primitive Men in monumental size from the small 28 inch plaster model made by British artist, Glyn Primitive Man FeetPhilpot during his 1913 stay at The Farms. Because these two pair are based upon original art work in Robert’s ownership, could these enlarged sculptural pieces be considered original works? They are, at the least, one of a kind hand-made pieces of decorative art.

But, Why the Charioteer? Why did Robert Allerton commission a pair of Charioteer, instead of something else? None of John Gregg Allerton’s interviews or accounts provide details on Robert’s motivation. Robert, himself, left no written or oral history.

In speculation only, the date of the archeological excavation of the Charioteer in Delphi, Greece, coincided with Robert’s European studies. In 1896, when an fortuitous tremor unearthed the bronze statue during an archeological dig, Robert was ending his studies in Munich, Germany, before heading to the mecca of art study abroad, Paris, France. The uncovering of this Greek artifact sparked the Romantic imagination of many impressionable young men pursuing the requisite European tour or study abroad. The Columbia Exposition in Chicago in 1893 set Robert and his friend, Frederic Bartlett, upon this rite of passage together. Robert would abandon his art aspirations in 1898, but Bartlett made art a successful career.

Perhaps Robert was one of the Romantic young men who sped off to witness the unearthing of this Greek treasure uncovered after over 1000 years buried in Delphi. Charioteer 2Was this Charioteer the Bruce (aka Caitlyn) Jenner of his time? What star-power and prestige did the Charioteer command that his athletic victory was commemorated for perpetuity by a large bronze sculptural group of four horses, chariot and rider?

Why did the Charioteer of Delphi resonate with Robert to the point that when he had enough disposable income he indulged not only one hand carved replica of the Greek treasure, but a pair!

John Gregg Allerton pointed out in at least one interview that his father, Robert, liked symmetry and things in pairs.

The visitor to The Park can only speculate on such questions and thoughts that come to mind on a morning’s walk.

Perhaps Robert told himself “I’m going to put a Charioteer on each gate post at the entrance to my estate and every day I’m going to look at them and ….”

Pure speculation only…

Maybe it’s better to just walk at The Park without excessively over-thinking the why’s and what’s……and maybe’s….

The Park is.

We are in The Park.

The Park is within us.

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