Boston Angel

Several of you wondered about the lovely angel statue from last week’s post Angel Spotted, so I though I would track down some additional information. She is quite magical, isn’t she?

The statue, made of bronze and granite, is known by several names, including The Spirit of Giving, The Angel of the Waters, and the George Robert White Memorial. In its full display, the sculpture “depicts an angel with wings spread, a bowl in its right arm, and its left hand as if holding contents of the bowl to be spread and shared with those around it. On each side of the pool in front of the statues are two cornucopias which have long symbolized abundance and giving.” It is meant to be an allegorical reference to the Biblical verse, “Cast thy bread upon the waters.”

The Angel of the Waters was created in 1924 by well-known sculptor Daniel Chester French, whose most famous work is the sculpture of Abraham Lincoln at the Lincoln Memorial in Washington D.C. His other works include the Minute Man statue in Concord, Massachusetts and the design for the Pulitzer Prize Medal.

George Robert White was himself a well-known person of the late eighteenth and early nineteenth century. Earning a fortune in the pharmaceuticals business, his philanthropy included donations to many institutions in his hometown of Boston. A result of those contributions are three public memorials to White, including The Angel of the Waters, a second sculpture called Angel of Peace (1905) at the Forest Hills Cemetery, and more recently, the George Robert White Environmental Conservation Center at Boston’s Nature Center.

You can find The Angel of the Waters at the northwest corner of the Boston Public Gardens, at the intersection of Arlington Street and Beacon Street.

• • •

Photo ©2012, Jen Payne

Related Links:
• Angel of Peace, Forest Hills Cemetery
George Robert White Environmental Conservation Center
• Wikipedia on George Robert White
• Wikipedia on Daniel Chester French

• I Walked Boston, Audio Tours
Boston Art Commission

4 thoughts on “Boston Angel

Add yours

  1. Of course — Daniel Chester French! If the sculpture is that beautiful, it’s either him or Augustus St. Gaudens. Glorious photos on both posts!

    Did you ever visit French’s home, Chesterwood, in the Berkshires? A lovely place, his studio is fascinating, the gardens lovely as is the home itself, modest (as such places go) and very livable. One gets the impression he was also a very nice person.

    1. I have not been to Chesterwood, but it sounds interesting. I’m putting it on the list.

      I had to look up Augustus St. Gaudens, but some fabulous work done by him as well…thanks for sharing!

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