Posts Tagged ‘Dean Stanley’

Bust of Dean Stanley at Trinity Church

I took the picture, I did the research and this is what I learned:  On Easter Monday in 1877, Rev. Phillips Brooks was given leave by his parish, Trinity Church in the City of Boston, to take a sojourn to Europe.  While in England, he spent time with Arthur Stanley, Dean of Westminster Abbey. Brooks was invited to preach at Westminster in July, and it is written that Dean Stanley listened with delight to a doctrine after his own heart.  Brooks would later share in a letter, “Last Sunday I preached for Mr. Stanley at his church in London, and William and I were much in the little man’s company while we were in his town.  He is very pleasant and entertaining, but much changed since his wife’s [Lady Augusta Stanley] death. He has grown old and fights hard to keep up an interest in things.”(1)

In the autumn of 1878, Dean Stanley traveled to America. In Boston he preached for the Rev. Phillips Brooks at Trinity Church.  Brooks would later write that no one who heard the benediction at the close of the service would ever forget it. “He had been but a few days in America. It was the first time he had looked an American congregation in the face. The church was crowded with men and women of whom he knew that to him they represented the New World. He was for a moment a representative of English Christianity. And as he spoke the solemn words, it was not a clergyman dismissing a congregation, it was the Old World blessing the New; it was England blessing America.  The voice trembled while it grew rich and deep, and took every man’s heart into the great conception of the act that filled itself.”

In 1881, following Dean Stanley’s death, Phillips Brooks would write a 12-page retrospective for The Atlantic Monthly.  In conclusion Brooks would highlight lessons of faith and good will he thought taught by Stanley’s life, and then end with these words:

“These lessons will be taught by many lives in many languages before the end shall come; but for many years years yet to come there will be men who will find not the least persuasive and impressive teachings of them in Dean Stanley’s life. The heavens will still be bright with stars, and younger men will never miss the radiance which they never saw. But for those who once watched for his light there will always be a special darkness in the heavens, where a star of special beauty went out when he died.” (3)

Miss Mary Grant, an eminent British sculptor and Stanley’s niece by marriage, would execute a memorial bust.  That bust would be given to Trinity Church to commemorate his visit.  It is located in an area that I believe is known as the baptistry.  His visage “stands upon a bracket of Sienna marble … beneath which is a tablet of Mexican onyx, on which is engraved a tribute by Robert C. Winthrop.” (4) And sitting across from him?  A bust of Phillips Brooks.

Bust of Phillips Brooks by Daniel Chester French

Bust of Phillips Brooks by Daniel Chester French

Learn more about Trinity stories in stone and glass with a tour: http://trinitychurchboston.org/art-history/tours

Sources for this post …

(1) Phillips Brooks, 1835-1893: Memories of his life … by Alexander Viets Griswold Allen (1907)

(2) Life and Correspondence of Arthur Penrhyn Stanley, Volume 2 by Rowland Edmund Prothero (1893)

(3) The Atlantic Monthly, Volume 48, October 1881

(4) Trinity Church in the City of Boston, 1888, pp. 31-32

(5) Mary Grant

(6) Phillips Brooks Bust image is from Wiki Commons


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