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 Lucy Currier (Wilson) Richards  (early 20th century)

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Lived/Active: Massachusetts/Connecticut      Known for: figure sculpture, nudes

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Ad Code: 3
Lucy Currier Richards
from Auction House Records.
A Decroative Sundial
Artwork images are copyright of the artist or assignee
This biography from the Archives of AskART:
A Bit O’ Pinehurst History
By Paul R. Dunn, Pinehurst Country Club Historian

Little children are lifted to touch it, members rub it for good luck, and visiting tourists take photos of it as a keepsake of their time in Pinehurst.  It is the Putter Boy sundial statue, located by the practice green at the club.  Originally it was known as the Sundial Boy or the Sun Dial Golf Lad.  In Gorham Company catalogs the piece was sometimes referred to as a Bronze Caddy Sundial.

The sculptress, Mrs. Lucy P. Currier Richards, created the statue on commission from Leonard Tufts, whose wife was a friend of the artist.  The arrangements for the creation of the statue may have been completed when Lucy Richards visited the Tufts here in their “quaint log cabin” in 1911 as reported by The Outlook newspaper.

The National Sculpture Society advises that Lucy P. Currier was born on April 21, 1870 to John Merrill and Sarah E.W. Cole Currier.  (She may have been named after her grandmother, Lucy M. Cole.)  The US Census of 1880 shows her living with her family in Lawrence, Massachusetts.  John Currier was a trader, born in Methuen to Stephen and Hannah Merrill.  She enrolled at the Boston Museum School in September of 1892.  She was married June 7, 1895 to Herbert W. Richards in North Andover, MA.  She received the prestigious Kimball prize for modeling class in May of 1905 and graduated with a diploma the same year.  She also studied with Kops in Dresden, Enstritz in Berlin and the Académie Julian of Paris in the era when Thomas Hart Benton, Henri Matisse, Diego Rivera and Edward Steichen also attended.  She was a member of the Copley Society of Boston, The Guild of Boston Artists, National Association of Women Painters and Sculptors, and the MacDowell Club of New York City.  Four of her works were shown at the 1912 Chicago Art Institute Exhibition, and she also appears in other Chicago Annual Exhibition catalogs. She also exhibited at the 1915 Panama – Pacific Exhibition in San Francisco.

She died August 31, 1919. (Her daughter Amelia died in 1917.)  Lucy was buried at Mount Auburn Cemetery, Cambridge, Massachusetts, a national landmark.  On July 30, 1947 her remains were moved to the Main Street Cemetery in Belfast, Maine where she is buried next to her husband, Frank Wilson (who was born October 3, 1878, and died in 1950).

In the1920s the Tufts of Pinehurst were often contacted by people interested in having copies made of the piece for their private collections or for their golf clubs.  All were referred to the Gorham Company of Fifth Avenue, New York City.  In these letters the statue was called The Golf Boy.  A 1925 letter from Leonard Tufts to A.C. Scott of Omaha, Nebraska reads: “Lucy Richards died a few years ago.  Mr. Frank P. Wilson married Mrs. Richards not long before she died and in a letter from the Gorham Company fairly recently in connection with a bird bath of Mrs. Richards designing which I was endeavoring to get, they tell me that Mr. Wilson says he would only be interested in having further reproductions of the Golf Boy and a couple of other pieces.”

The Gorham Company no longer exists and its artistic properties are owned by the Lenox Company.  Its catalog of 1928 described the statue as “Pinehurst Sundial by Lucy Richards, PC.  This piece takes its name from the original placed at Pinehurst in 1912.  Gnomons have been made in many motives, but the golf club in the hands of the caddy seems a new and ingenious way to assist the sun in telling time.  Athletically speaking, the youngster’s stance is all it should be, and Mrs. Richard’s sundial forms a notable addition to the growing collection of pieces intended especially for garden adornment.  The statue is 17 ½ high and is finished in brown patina.”

The genesis for the design came directly from the famed “Pinehurst’s Golf Calendar Lad,” who appeared on calendars sent annually to hotel guests.  It was also used in newspaper and magazine advertisements, and on hotel menus. Tufts’ advertising man, Frank Presbrey of Garden City, NY, commissioned an artist to illustrate the boy who soon became the well-known symbol for the Pinehurst resort.  Presbrey was America’s foremost promoter of the travel industry.  He developed Boy’s Life magazine and was awarded the Boy Scout’s highest award, the Silver Buffalo.

According to Pilot writer, the late Evelyn de Nissoff, “Donald Ross was asked to show Lucy Richards how to grip a club and the proper stance to be taken when addressing the ball.  The sun on the shaft created the shadow to indicate the time of day.  To obtain the correct vertical angle Mrs. Richards was compelled to make the shaft improperly long – a matter of considerable concern to golf purist Donald Ross.”  De Nissoff asked, “How can golfers use the Putter Boy title when it is plain to see that the Pinehurst Golf Lad is holding a driver?”

The Club sells pewter and porcelain Putter Boy replicas, and awards a silver version to winners of various club events.  Winners and runner-ups in the North South are awarded a copper version.

This biography from the Archives of AskART:
Early twentieth-century sculptor Lucy Currier Richards was born in Lawrence, Massachusetts.  In 1912, she exhibited at the Art Institute of Chicago in their annual exhibition of painting and sculpture.  She was a member of the National Association of Women Painters and Sculptors in New York City; and in two Massachusetts organizations: Copley Society of Boston, and Guild of Boston Artists. Richards studied in Massachusetts at the School of the Boston Museum of Fine Arts; the Academie Julian in Paris, France; and in Germany with Eustritz in Berlin, and Kops in Dresden.

Information about Richards appears in an article by James W. Pattison in the December 1912 issue of Fine Arts Journal discussing the Art Institute of Chicago exhibition; the American Art Annual, volume 28, published in 1932 by the American Federation of Arts; and the Dictionary of American Painters, Sculptors and Engravers by Mantle Fielding, published in 1974 by Modern Books and Crafts.

Source:
Jules and Nancy Heller, North American Women Artists of the 20th Century

** If you discover credit omissions or have additional information to add, please let us know at registrar@AskART.com.


Lucy Richards is also mentioned in these AskART essays:
San Francisco Panama-Pacific Exhibition 1915

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