This is the first in a series by Jon Harbuck. – Editor
I never expected to be lucky enough to read my name next to Gold at World Expo. I wonder at it. Still, it isn’t really my medal because the piece in question isn’t mine alone. Rather, it is the fruit of a joint effort with a heavily-engaged collaborator who deserves the award probably more than I do. It was the back and forth of our creative process that made for a far better piece than I ever would have produced under my own steam.
To students of American history (especially members and supporters of the APG) the Robert Gould Shaw Memorial needs little introduction. Sculpted by Augustus Saint-Gaudens and erected at the edge of Boston Common, the monument memorializes the scion of a prominent Boston family, commander of the 54th Massachusetts Volunteer Infantry, who was killed in the 1863 assault on Battery Wagner off Charleston SC. The Shaw Memorial has become an iconic bit of Americana.
Years ago, my friend Dutch Allen proposed a miniature based on the Shaw Memorial. We kicked around ideas for some time after that, going back and forth, never really sure what we wanted. Copy the original? Isolate a few characters? Transform the whole into a battle scene? Eventually Dutch came up with an idea that stuck. Rather than another memorial to Colonel Shaw we decided to memorialize his command. Nearly half of the 54th Massachusetts were either killed or wounded
alongside Shaw during the action at Battery Wagner — they deserve their own monument. What follows is a summary of the collaboration that produced this one.