The Reading Room of the John Hay Library at Providence, Rhode Island’s Brown University is an Ivy League architectural classic. Above the vast bookshelves enveloping the room are high, wide windows bathing the room in daylight. Above the books, beneath and profiled by the windows’ light, sit classic busts, many carved from Carrara marble and weighing between 90 and 300 pounds, of Brown University’s Nineteenth and Twentieth Century presidents and other notable members of the historical Brown community.
As part of Brown’s extensive restoration of the Hay Library in 2014, the University contacted us to clean the marbles’ surfaces, replace broken fragments lost to time, and seal the busts’ surfaces to protect them. In the ongoing process of delving ever deeper into its vast archives and the greater awareness of the importance of historic preservation which began in the latter half of the Twentieth Century, the university uncovered several busts put in storage decades ago. These busts, now restored by Newmans, Ltd, have joined the Library’s displayed collection.
Above are images of the restored marbles, each being a link to a page containing images of the restoration in process and information about these individuals’ impact on the Brown University community.
The historical information about Alexis Caswell, Ben West, Ezekiel Gilman Robinson, Francis Wayland, is abridged from From Martha Mitchell’s Encylopedia Brunoniana.
The historical information about Nicholas Brown III is abridged from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nicholas_Brown_III.
You can see more about the restoration of the John Hay Library at this link.