The memorial statue of Bishop Thomas Church Brownell resides today on the main Trinity College quadrangle. The bishop is shown larger than life size standing with his right hand stretched out while holding a bible with his left. The statue first stood in November 11, 1869 at the college’s original location, Bushnell Park.[1] It was first unveiled on November 11, 1869 at two o’clock in the afternoon. At the ceremony, Bishop Williams, Bishop Potter, the president of the College, and C. F. Cleveland, former governor of Connecticut, gave the appropriate formal addresses.[2] The statue was later moved the quadrangle of Trinity College’s current campus in 1878.[3] The cast bronze statue sits on top of a sixteen-foot tall pedestal that made of Quincy granite. The College paid $5,000 for the pedestal, which at the time was an expensive luxury.[4] Brownell’s pose resembles that of traditional orators that were meant to look as though they were authority figures speaking to their people. The statue was originally intended to mark Brownell’s grave in Cedar Hill Cemetery in Hartford. However, when finished Burnham realized it would be more appropriate, and appreciated, on the Trinity College campus.

The statue of Bishop Brownell was a gift to Trinity College from Brownell’s son-in-law, Gordon W. Burnham of New York. The price paid by Burnham is thought to be $3,500 or $10,000 in gold. He originally commissioned the artist Chauncey B Ives to design the statue of the bishop when he intended for it to be placed at Brownell’s grave. Ives was born in America and worked in New York from 1840 to 1844. He then established himself as a sculptor in Rome, Italy where he was when commissioned to design the sculpture of Brownell. The statue was then cast in 1869 in Munich by the foundry of Ferdinand von Müller.

Thomas Church Brownell attended Union College in Schenectady, New York. He graduated in 1804 as valedictorian. He went on to teach at Union College from 1805 to 1811where he taught various subjects. He later studied Natural Sciences in England. Bishop Hobart admitted Brownell to the Holy Order of Deacons in 1816. Later that year he entered Priesthood and in 1818 he would become assistant at Trinity Church in New York. He became the Reverend Thomas Brownell, Bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Connecticut. Brownell was a strong supporter of education and founded the original Washington College by donations from Churchmen. Founded in the spring of 1823 as Washington College the name was later changed to Trinity College in 1845. Brownell declared himself the President, but was formally sworn in after a vote by the Board of Trustees. It was the second college in Connecticut.

 

[1] Weaver, 175.

[2] Weaver, 175.

[3] Weaver, 175.

[4] Weaver, 175.

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