Allen and Sanborn knew each other from the School of the Museum of FIne Arts where Sanborn, two years younger than Allen, was studying painting with the great Boston School painters Benson, Tarbell and Paxton. He used that skill as he trained in the art of Gothic stained glass work with the illustrious Charles Connick. It was toward the end of Allen’s student years when Allen sculpted the bust of Sanborn.
Sanborn became known for his beautiful painted luminous glass work at the Boston College Library, the towering Te Deum windows at Washington’s National Cathedral, Trinity College Chapel in CT and St.Margaret’s Convent in Boston. He was active as a painter in Rockport, MA and exhibited at the Museum of Fine Arts and the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Art.
Allen’s first diary entry lists “Bust of Earl Sanborn” on February 23, 1911. It was marked with a ** double star, so it must have been important to him. By Feb 7, 1912 the portrait had been finished and cast and was ready for mounting. He wrote, “Had the marble base put on Sanborn’s bust and exhibited at Museum.” , He returned the bust to Sanborn in May at the close of the exhibit when he “Met Sanborn at studio and told him Mr. Pratt wanted his painting of Aphrodite’s head.”
Months later (Jan, 1913) he mentioned that “Sanborn and Farlow called” but didn’t give any details. However, he paid Sanborn a visit one evening and in February and as a result “Exhibited Sanborn bust at museum students summer work.” It was on exhibit again at the St. Botolph Club from April 10-20, 1916.
No images have yet been found, but the Boston Public Library has possession of the St.Botolph Club history with an archival booklet available online for an Exhibition of Frieseke paintings and Allen sculpture in which #21 lists “Earl Edward Sanborn (Loaned)”
Newspaper: Boston Evening Transcript, 3 Mar 1915
Boston Evening Transcript, 7 Apr 1916, review by Marian P. Waitt