Mother Goose genius design | 1938 rotating sculpture by artist Richard H. Recchia and Sam Hershey WPA mural Rockport Public Library #RockportMA

The Rockport Public Library maintains a wonderful art collection. When visiting the temporary Once Upon a Contest: Selections from Cape Ann Reads in the children’s room and the special Betty Allenbrook Wiberg installation, don’t miss the genius Mother Goose 1938 bronze by Richard H. Recchia, and the Sam Hershey WPA-era mural, Rockport Goes to War, 1939.

The new Josh Falk mural (2019) is behind the Rockport Public Library.

Genius design bronze by Richard H. Recchia, Mother Goose, 1938

at the Rockport Public Library

This impression is annotated by the artist as a “sketch model sculpture by R. H. Recchia” (1888-1983). The sculpture rotates to illustrate the rhymes and beautifully expresses how children are captivated by stories. The sculpture is a tribute to his wife, Kitty Parsons (1889-1976), artist & writer, and one of the original founders of Rockport Art Assoc. It was originally situated within the library’s former smaller digs: the Rockport’s Carnegie Library established in 1906, a Beaux-Arts beauty around the corner, now a private home. It was one of 43 Carnegie libraries built in Massachusetts.  In 1993 the library moved to its current site in an 1880s mill building, the Tarr School, thanks to the Denghausen bequest.

Parsons & Recchia resided and worked at their home “Hardscrabble” at 6 Summer Street in Rockport. (Rockport was their permanent address from 1928 till his death.) Recchia was born in Quincy. His dad was a stone carver from Verona who worked for Bela Pratt and Daniel Chester French. Later, Recchia was Pratt’s assistant.

For more bas relief examples by Recchia, see his Bela Pratt in the Yale collection, digitized entry here ) Recchia public sculptures are on permanent display at the Rockport Art Association & Museum. More photos below.

snippet video of Recchia Mother Goose sculpture rotating


click/double click on photos to enlarge photos to actual size (or pinch and zoom) | hover to read caption

Sam Hershey WPA mural, 1939

Sam Hershey Rockport Goes to War featured Rockport Public Library; W. Lester Stevens WPA mural Preparing Rockport for Granite dating from the same year is across the street in the Post Office

Samuel F. Hershey WPA era mural 1939 at Rockport Public Library Rockport Mass. ©c ryan

Samuel F. Hershey Rockport Art Assoc catalogue members from 1940

Stevens 1939 mural Rockport Mass post office
W. Lester Stevens 1939 mural in Rockport Post Office

Josh Falk street mural outside

Josh Falk 

Once Upon a Contest

is displayed on the same floor as Recchia and Hershey works February 3 –  February 29, 2020.

clone tag: -6903914027485544744
Once Upon a Contest exhibit of children’s picture books is presented by the four libraries of Cape Ann with support from Bruce J Anderson Foundation | The Boston Fund . In this photograph, carved box by Lars and Betty Wiberg. Illustration by John Plunkett for Prince of Winter on left and illustration of dog by Mary Rhinelander on right.


5 thoughts on “Mother Goose genius design | 1938 rotating sculpture by artist Richard H. Recchia and Sam Hershey WPA mural Rockport Public Library #RockportMA

  1. What a wonderful post Catherine. I used to visit Recchia in the late 1970’s, stopping by during a run if he happened to be out in his garden. Of course you know that the model for the young flute player was Recchia’s protegé Donald De Lue. Recchia used to say that he “made” De Lue. The model for the Girl on the Frog was the daughter of Recchia and Parsons, who died tragically at a young age. There is a bronze relief that he created in his daughter’s honor in the Meditation Garden at St. Mary’s Rockport. Recchia’s grave in Beechgrove Cemetery Pleasant St. Rockport has an unusual marker of his own creation.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you, Morgan, for the compliment and adding some local tips; I’ll add your quote up into the post, too.

      “He made De Lue.” Oh, boy. That’s a dishy comment. Artists and egos and value and credit–it’s tough out there. (I wonder if people teased him back, “That’s what Platt said?”) It’s remarkable how you overlapped with so many sculptors. And vice versa, poignant that they were able to meet you. The generational conversations and exchanges are invaluable. I can’t wait to hear more!

      For readers who may not know, Morgan is acclaimed sculptor Morgan Faulds Pike. You can see her public art like the iconic Gloucester Fishermen’s Wives memorial, and commission work like the stunning Reredos in St. Mary’s Episcopal Church, Rockport.


  2. Great pictures …as a child I use to visit their home often. I have very fond memories of them. My father was also an artist
    and Illustrated many childrens books over his art career.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks for reading GMG anonymous and adding in. If you are inclined to share some of your Recchia memories that would be most welcome. And I have to ask if ditto if you’d like to mention your dad’s name.


Leaving a comment rewards the author of this post- add to the discussion here-

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s