Great Hopes

In the mid 1980’s an Episcopal parish called the George Washington Memorial Chapel within the confines of Valley Forge National Park requested designs from Bolton for a great rood and rood beam. It was an exciting prospect as his talents were not to be confined to the “modern” artwork called for by so many post-Vatican II clergy who most often called up him. Bolton understood deeply many, many genres of sacred art – not even confined to Christian art.

This splendid, tiny neo-Gothic structure was designed by Zantzinger Borie and Medary, a superb Philadelphia firm that distinguished itself with remarkable church buildings, among others. The original design called for, but did not provide designs for, a rood beam to stand on large corbels projecting from the chancel arch high above the magnificent choir.

Here is his drawing for the Beloved Disciple. His drawing for the full project is too large for me to scan, but I will attempt to photograph it at some point. Even here, the poor setup I have and the reflection from the glass prevent a better view of the image. Nonetheless, it shows his comfort with drawing in a late-medieval style.

He joked about being a jack of all trades, but he was a master of many.

I call this Great Hopes as like so many projects artists begin, it never came to fruition. The main donor died before it could be completed beyond the design stage.

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