15 Jul Joan of Arc statue in Gloucester ‘desecrated’
Here at Big Statues, we believe strongly in showing the utmost respect to military statues. It therefore saddened us a great deal to hear of the “desecration” of an iconic war memorial of Joan of Arc in front of the American Legion post in Gloucester.
The statue has been in its present spot for decades, but has now had its sword – previously pointed towards the sky from the horse on which the Maid of Orleans is depicted in a victorious pose – bent back about 90 degrees. It isn’t clear exactly when the sculpture was vandalized.
The bronze statue weighs 3,500 pounds and was completed in 1921, the work of summer Annisquam resident and sculptor Anna Vaughn Hyatt Huntington. Sitting upon historic stones, the memorial commemorates the Gloucester men who fought and died alongside French allies in the First World War.
In an article by the Gloucester Times, the grandson of one of the local American Legion post’s founders, A. Piatt Andrew, Andrew Grey, observes that the statue’s base is made up of eight stones from around France. Reims Cathedral provided four of them, while another originated from the dungeon of a castle that held Joan for her trial.
Mark Nestor, veteran and commander of Lester Wass Post 3 of the American Legion, described the statue of St. Joan as “hallowed ground” and “a symbol of those who sacrifice for freedom.” He described the vandalism as “a senseless act against a monument that veterans fought and died for. It’s a desecration as far as I’m concerned.”
Police have confirmed that people are being interviewed in connection to the damage, and that they are working to determine a more accurate time for when it occurred. The article also suggested that the city’s insurance company is expected to pay for the damage.
However, the latest incident isn’t even the first to befall the statue, according to Cape Ann Museum curator Martha Oakes, who said that in 1972, a replacement for the sword was made by the renowned Lanesville sculptor Walker Hancock.
Needless to say that here at Big Statues, we hope for the successful repair of the latest damage to the statue of the Maid of Orleans, so that it can take complete pride of place once more among the country’s most iconic and admired war and military statues.