GETTYSBURG, Penn.—Gettysburg College, home of the History Meets the Arts program, is one of the most beautiful campuses in the nation. A stroll along stately gingerbread brick buildings with mystical towers among plantings and sculptures is a reward its self. The setting is idyllic, and the arts represented in the program are world class.
“We started the show 20 years ago,” said Philippe du Bois, the director of this annual event. The event was created when his gallery, Lord Nelson’s Gallery in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, became too small to house the many artists brought into town to celebrate art in all its forms.
“We outgrew the gallery, so moved to the Gettysburg Hotel. We outgrew the hotel, so moved here to Gettysburg College campus. There are many artists here that our gallery has represented for over 25 years. We’ve invited other artists, sculptors, makers of Colonial accouterments like powder horns and flintlock rifles, ceramic makers, and authors,” Philippe said.
The college gymnasium floor was replete with craftspeople. Many not only displayed their work, but also painted, sculpted, or demonstrated their craft on their looms.
“My husband Erich is the potter; I’m the decorator,” Janice Steinhagen said. Erich turned his wheel and crafted pots while visitors browsed through the couple’s creations on display.
Uncanny likenesses of Benjamin Franklin and George Washington seemed alive at the table of painter and sculptor Daniel Horne. So animated and realistic are his images that visitors marvel at the skill of these portrayals.
Work in Bronze
Wayne Hyde, who is from a little town called Mann Hole in Bedford County, Pennsylvania, is as much a historian as a gifted sculptor. His work in bronze decorates many memorial sites around the United States.
“I’ve been at this show since the beginning,” Wayne said. “There is great camaraderie. We have so much fun. I do hot cast bronze in the old tradition. Mostly historic. I like 18th century, but do a lot of military memorial work.”
He was working on a clay model of a Vietnam War hero.
“This is Robert Hartstock. He was a dog handler in Vietnam. He was killed in battle. The Vietcong overran their fire base. He and his commanding officer took shelter in a fox hole. They tried to give covering fire to their troops. Vietcong got close enough to throw a bomb satchel into the fox hole. Robert threw himself on the bomb. It exploded. While he was dying, he went back to give covering fire. He received the Congressional Medal of Honor posthumously,” Wayne said.
“I live close to the town where he was from. He was a farm boy in Everett, Pennsylvania. Once the committee approves this model, I’ll work on a one-and-a-quarter life-size that will be cast in bronze to be placed with the town’s veteran’s memorials,” Wayne said.
His sculptures included a young Sam Houston from the War of 1812 and a special commission he received from the Royal Canadian Mounted Police of a Mountie on horseback, lance in hand, making a charge.
“The Queen of England’s got one. She keeps it in her greeting room,” Wayne said proudly.
His display had pictures of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police delegation presenting the sculpture to Queen Elizabeth.
American craftspeople offered powder horns, knives, and flintlock rifles worked by hand over months of painstaking labor.
Two brothers skillfully work on animal horns.
“These are dropped horns, not shot,” William Fluke said. He picked up an amazing antler worked from a shed elk horn. “It depicts Sky Woman landing on top of a turtle in the sea,” he said.
“We used to work scrimshaw. There were so many people doing that, we decided to go back and do historic sculpting that was popular in the 16th century, on moose and elk horns,” he said.
Lucy Rosen from Oxford, Pennsylvania, worked at her loom making decorative scarves near the tables where author Jeff Shaara was signing his books about the Civil War. Carol Lee Thompson displayed her lifelike horse paintings.
The winery Pearmund Cellars from Broad Run, Virginia, was on hand to offer samples of their vintages. Caterers prepared wonderfully tasty and nutritious treats.
To learn more about this show and year-round events at Lord Nelson’s Gallery, visit HistoryMeetsTheArts.com and LordNelsons.com or call 717-334-7950.
John Christopher Fine is a marine biologist with two doctoral degrees, has authored 25 books, including award-winning books dealing with ocean pollution. He is a liaison officer of the United Nations Environment Program and the Confederation Mondiale for ocean matters. He is a member of the Academy of Underwater Arts and Sciences in honor of his books in the field of education.