Frederick Warren Allen

AMERICAN SCULPTOR, BOSTON SCHOOL

St. Francis Birdbath Garden Statue, Marlborough, NH, abt 1930

St. Francis in the Garden at Merrywood, Marlborough, NH, Frederick W. Allen, Sculptor, abt 1930

Behind and beside the tiny St. Francis Chapel on the Kershaw Estate called Merrywood in Marlborough, NH there is a grove of mountain laurel under a canopy of trees. The lovely waterfront scene is the setting for a natural memorial garden with St. Francis guarding three gravestones, two of which are for Francis Stewart Kershaw and his wife Justine Frances.

In the beginning, when the chapel was built in 1926, there was a small statue of St. Francis appropriately standing watch over a scallop-shell birdbath. It sat on an old millstone which was brought to the property from Lyndeborough, NH. The millstone and birdbath are still in place, but the statue was stolen one year in the off-season. Other vandalism has taken place on the property, so more care is now taken to protect it. The original statue has been replaced with a less peaceful and benevolent saint, but a photograph and an ink drawing show the original work by Frederick Warren Allen. Clothed in a monk’s cowl and robe, the bearded saint looks kindly down at the bird in his left hand that is looking trustingly back up at him. The right hand is giving the creature a blessing.

The statue may still be somewhere locally. We hope that anyone seeing this who knows where it is will let us know so that it can be returned to it’s natural garden setting on Stone Pond. These drawings were done by Polly B. Johnson for the Revised Centennial Edition of Stone Pond by Wm.D.Eddy et al.

Outdoor sculpture is always at risk for theft or vandalism. Save Outdoor Sculpture is actively involved in cataloging and repairing these public works for future generations to enjoy.

St. Francis Chapel, Kershaw Estate, Marlborough, NH, Sculptures by F.W.Allen, 1926-1930

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alice duddy January 30, 2012 at 1:08 am

Who maintains the chapel and property?

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cabbott June 23, 2012 at 1:07 pm

The chapel upkeep, from what I know about it, is by the Episcopal Diocese of New Hampshire. The chapel employs a priest (actually a couple, both priests) to conduct services which are well-attended in the summer. It’s a beautiful place in the woods right next to the water. The priests oversee the activities of the chapel and live nearby. The Kershaws were the original owners, but now the main house is owned by the Ferranti’s of Boston.
There is a charming book about the property and the chapel called Stone Pond by W.D. Eddy.

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