12.13.2011

Sad Cowboy Story

Today I was armed with the glamorous task of sorting, pricing and packaging a box of photos that I accumulated over the summer.  A picture of a geographically malapropos statue for a tiny Texas oil boom town in the 1920s incited a little history lesson....Apparently in 1917, 21 year old Charles H. Noyes fell from his horse trying to rope a calf and died.  His parents, completely grief stricken, commissioned the famous Pompeo Coppini to sculpt a statue in memory of their only child. When Coppini traveled to the modest Noyes ranch in 1919 to discuss the statue, he had his doubts about Noyes' ability to pay what amounts to a quarter of a million dollars today, but Noyes assured Coppini that he was prepared to pay twice that.  His bridle, boots, and saddle were sent to Chicago to help the sculptor, but since the boy had had only three pictures taken in his life, his parents had to travel to Coppini's Chicago studio when it was time to sculpt the face.  After a few adjustments to the sculpture, Mr. Noyes told Coppini "Please do not touch his face again, for that is our dear Charlie."   Mr. and Mrs Noyes sold the ranch and did not return for the unveiling, stating that they could not bear to see their son again.

Coppini's statue of Chas H. Noyes watchin over Ballinger Texas. Coppini's work can be found in Italy, Mexico but closer to home, he is known for the Cenotaph honoring the Alamo defenders, sculptures around the Texas state capitol and the Littlefield Fountain in front of the University of Texas tower.
 



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