Father Figure

A Catholic home would have its crucifix. A Buddhist home, a Buddha. But for Methodist families in the 18th and 19th centuries, it would have been a bust of the Rev. John Wesley. “One could say the Victorian British Methodist home was not complete without a Wesley on the mantelpiece,” says Dale Patterson, archivist for the United Methodist Archives and History Center on Drew’s campus. Highly sought after, the Staffordshire busts proclaimed a reverence for both the religious movement and the man who founded it. One of the largest in the world, the center’s collection includes some 90 pieces purchased by Drew President Ezra Squier Tipple, including an original Enoch Wood bust from 1781. That first bust delighted and amazed those in Wesley’s circle because it so closely resembled him—Wood even included a scar on Wesley’s forehead, a souvenir from an angry Anglican mob.—Cara Swan C’11

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