Friends Seeks Support to Conserve Three Monuments

March 24, 2016

After the successful conservation of the Binney Monument in 2014 and the Magoun Monument in 2015, the Friends of Mount Auburn is seeking funds to conserve the next three monuments in Mount Auburn’s Significant Monument Collection:

In 1868, German immigrant and successful businessman Arnold M. Coppenhagen and his wife, Mehitable Coppenhagen, tragically lost their thirty-year-old daughter Maria, for whom they had great affection. Mrs. Coppenhagen commissioned the up-and-coming Boston artist Martin Milmore, who was at the time working in Rome, to sculpt the moving monument to Maria. Milmore, who also carved the Mount Auburn Sphinx, was Boston’s leading sculptor in the mid-1800s and is known for his Soldiers and Sailors Monument in the Boston Common. The Maria Frances Coppenhagen Monument (Lot #3733 Sycamore Path)  features a full-sized, sculpted Angel of Resurrection holding a trumpet. It was lauded in the nineteenth century and is recognized today as one of Milmore’s finest works. However, the elegant statue is now dirty and covered with biological growth. The marble surface has cracked, and the long, elegant wings of the angel are in danger of breaking.

The monument to Reverend William Ellery Channing (Lot 678 Greenbrier Path), a social reformer, author, and one of New England’s leading clergymen, was designed by painter and poet Washington Allston, Channing’s brother-in-law. Allston created a simplified Neoclassical design for the memorial, which was carved by local stone carver Alpheus Cary. Today, the monument to the beloved Unitarian minister is stained from pollutants and biological growth. Lichen and green algae obscure the inscription and detract from the once-polished white marble, and the surfaces are covered with a thin network of cracks.

Conservation treatment for the Coppenhagen and Channing monuments will include gentle washing with soft brushes to reduce the soiling, filling all cracks and joints, and applying a chemical consolidant to strengthen the surface of the stone.

The Harnden Monument (Lot #886 Central Avenue) was erected by the Express Companies of the United States to commemorate William Frederic Harnden, who pioneered express services between Boston and New York in 1839. Complex and laden with symbolism, this grand monument sits on a raised granite plaza and features a large granite canopy, marble urn, statue of a dog, and bas-reliefs in bronze frames that illustrate the sending and receiving of packages. The initial conservation treatment will be similar to that of the Coppenhagen and Channing Monuments. Additional treatment will include using a portable laser gun to remove dirt from the most fragile areas, repairing a large crack in the marble urn, and cleaning and re-patinating bronze elements. After treatment, the monuments will be monitored by Mount Auburn’s preservation staff on an as-needed basis.

These three significant monuments are in urgent need of professional care. Collectively, they will cost $100,000 to conserve, and we need your help! We are seeking donations from individuals, private groups, foundations, and corporations to support preservation of the Coppenhagen, Channing, and Harnden Monuments.

Donate today to support these conservation efforts.

Photographs ©Greg Heins, 2014.

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