William T. Trego: Catalogue Raisonne

Funeral Monument for Anthony Shimer, 1897

Morris Cemetery, Phoenixville, Pennsylvania

Vital Statistics

Bronze statue, life size, on granite pedestal,
Signed on base beneath figure’s left foot: “W. T. Trego”
Morris Cemetery, Phoenixville, Pennsylvania

Commentary

Anthony J. Shimer, a florist by trade, left a sum of money in his will for the creation of a monument. His executors, H. H. Gilkyson and L. B. Kaler, chose Trego after being urged to do so by Harrison S. Morris and Edward Coates of the Pennsylvania Academy. Trego’s neighbor, Alexander Pickering, holding a flower pot, posed for the deceased Anthony Shimer. A surviving photograph shows Trego posing with the clay matrix for this work in his studio. It is unknown where the statue was cast. The statue is the only full size and finished work of sculpture by Trego known to exist.

Reference

“Mr. Kaler, who has no knowledge of art imagines that because I have no reputation as a professional sculptor, not withstanding he likes the model I have sent them, I am incapable of executing so simple a thing. You know that during my student life at the Academy under Eakins, a large amount of time was devoted to modeling in clay and the study of external anatomy. I was a conscientious worker in both departments and at one time thought seriously of becoming a sculptor.” (Letter of Wm. T. Trego to Harrison S. Morris, 1 May 1897, PAFA). “The statue done by Will Trego is of an old Phoenixville citizen whose estate was settled by my father, H. H. Gilkyson, Sr. The statue was done . . . at the suggestion of my mother, Nellie Trego Gilkyson, who was a first cousin of Will Trego and knew that he would create something desirable to mark the grave of my father’s client, Anthony Shimer, who had just died.” (Letter of Hamilton H. Gilkyson Jr. to Mrs. Jean B. Durell, 28 September 1971, BCHS)

Condition

The statue and base both seem to be in sound condition, but the bronze figure is suffering from more than twelve decades of exposure to weather and pollution. The surface is quite stained and corroded in some areas.



Bust of a Distant Relative, n. d. >

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James A. Michener Art Museum William T. Trego Catalogue Raisonne