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around Wrentham suggests he may have been living there, which re-enforces the theory that it was he who married Molly Man of Wrentham. A further complexity was added to this problem of distribution and attribution when Laurel Gabel drew my attention to a large group of roundeyed skull stones around the periphery of Worcester, Massachusetts, in the towns of Shrewsbury, Boylston, Sterling, Holden and Rutland.22 These are what we call the “yellow lichen stones” because they feature bright yellow lichen on an indeterminate stone material with an odd appearance, a possible result of weathering, that does not photograph well. It has a putty-colored texture of amorphous, metamorphic material. This material was not employed by known resident carvers of the area, nor anywhere else for that matter. All the stones of this material have dates between 1746 and 1774, although the earlier date must be considered a backdating, and many, but not all, have what appear to be elements of George Allen Jr.’s work in varying degrees (or copies thereof), attesting to his influence on some local carver (s). Clearly, a variety of hands was involved, and none has ever been attributed. They make a challenging study in and of themselves. Figure 12 is one of these: the Elisha Maynard (1760) stone in Boylston. In any event, by 1760 there may have been many carvers creating round-eyed skulls in the interior area towns. Attribution is difficult since little distinguishes one skull series from that of another carver or identifies variations within the body of work of a single carver. The fact that the stone carvers New, Fisher, Farrington and possibly Allen were all related by marriage explains at least part of this interaction found on the skull stones (see Appendix A). The work of James Wilder of Lancaster, Massachusetts, in the Worcester arc is sufficiently similar to the Fisher-Farrington style to confuse matters even further.23 These issues illustrate quite deftly the complexities of carver attribution. More importantly, they suggest the degree to which eighteenth-century artisans borrowed, collaborated, and imitated each other. The emphasis on originality in artistic endeavors that modern people have come to expect was not yet a factor in artistic production. It would be fueled by the Romantic Movement that was not full-blown in the United States until the middle of the nineteenth century. Evaluating the work of George, Allen Jr. must take into account the artistic expectations of his time, the working culture for artisans of the time, and his status as a novice, if talented, carver. With these caveats in mind, here is a comprehensive list of George Allen Jr.’s work with educated guesses about possible collaboration: The Winged-Effigy Series George Allen Jr. carved few effigy stones in their entirety. They all share the quite characteristic face of the Augustus Dexter stone. These heads have an impish charm missing from the heads of George Allen Sr. His son’s faces have distinctively high-placed, goofy mouths; puffy eyes; and,

Profile for Chris Davis

Markers XXVII  

Annual Journal of the Association for Gravestone Studies

Markers XXVII  

Annual Journal of the Association for Gravestone Studies

Profile for cvdavis
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