Back Bay, November 2014

bella lyon pratt

art and science sculpture in copley square (lauren walleser)

art and science sculpture in copley square (lauren walleser)

Today's photo comes from Lauren Walleser from Somerville. Lauren is a writer, comedian, and gender and sexuality scholar. She has this to say about Boston:
"One of the things I love most about Boston is that whether people have lived here for six months or 60 years, you see them stopping to take photos of the tulips in the Common, or the leaves as they turn fire red, or really any number of things that make the city so photogenic. No matter how long you've been a part of it, Boston always has something new to show you.

Also, I adore the Muse of Art. I think we're kindred spirits. I've taken photos of her from almost every angle, and I feel like she always smiles back."

Bela Lyon Pratt (1867-1917), was an American sculptor born into an artistic family in Connecticut. His grandfather, Oramel Whittlesey, founded the first conservatory of music in New England. In 1893, Pratt became an instructor in the Sculpture Department at the School of Museum of Fine Arts Boston, and continued working there for 25 years. Having lived abroad in Paris, as well as in Chicago and New York, Pratt settled in Boston, and had an active life in Boston's intellectual community. He is known for having produced more than 180 pieces of work and has made sculptures of notable Bostonians including: Boston Symphony Orchestra founder Henry Lee Higginson, Episcopal priest Phillips Brooks, and Colonel Henry Lee.

One of his biggest achievements was creating the sculpture "Art and Science" outside the Boston Public Library. The Boston Arts Commission describes the sculpture: "These two seated allegorical female figures—one representing Art, holding a palette and a paintbrush, and the other representing Science, holding a sphere."

Pratt's former student-turned wife, Helen Pray, was the daughter of Dudley Pray; owner of a steam tug boat named, "Dudley Pray", that traveled between Boston and Cuba.

Bela Lyon Pratt's grandchildren helped create a website in his memory. The website includes his biography, works of art, exhibitions, awards, articles, photo gallery, family tree, and personal letters. Apparently he wasn't a great speller and there is even a list of his most commonly misspelled words.