Historic sculpture arrives at Linden Place

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A historic sculpture that's been hidden from public view for decades is again on display at its new home in Linden Place on Hope Street.

A life-size statue of Bacchus, the Roman God of Wine, was among dozens of statues that adorned Colt Farm, home of Samuel P. Colt, around the turn of the century. The bronze bulls at the entrance to the now Colt State Park were among the collection Mr. Colt amassed.

"Throughout the drive to the main house and its complex of barns, a party casino, and stables, Colt dotted the landscape with examples of European sculpture and statuary of mythical Greek gods and goddesses," reads the state's description of the park. "This display of the human form prompted one of Colt’s relatives to call the drive to the casino/party pavilion 'Wall Street,' an avenue of the 'bulls and the bares!'”

When Gov. John Chafee commissioned the park in 1968, the sculptures were removed. Most ended up at Linden Place, including many of the "bares" and the spear-carrying colts dotted around the mansion that once adorned the original bridge at Colt Farm. Bacchus, sculpted by Rhode Island native Oscar Lenz, ended up in a private collector's hands and has decorated a Bristol homeowner's back yard ever since.

Recently, the statue became available for sale and the Friends of Linden Place jumped at the chance to reunite the six-foot-tall statue with some of its neighbors form Colt Farm. The problem, according to Linden Place Executive Director James Connell, was finding someone to move the statue two miles up the road from deWolf Avenue.

"There are very few companies that do this," Mr. Connell said of moving a century-old 1,500 pound marble sculpture. "I must have called curators at 50 museums looking for someone."

The Rhode Island School of Design curator recommended U.S. Art out of Randolph, Mass. On Tuesday, four men from the company slowly and carefully maneuvered the statue into the mansion's back door, through the center hallway and dining room, finally bringing it to rest in the glass conservatory on the south side of the building, where brides and grooms are sure to toast beneath Bacchus' outstretched wine cup for years to come.

The Bacchus statue will be on display when Linden Place opens for guided and self-guided tours beginning in May. The tours are available through Columbus Day, Tuesday-Saturday, 10 a.m. - 4 p.m., or by appointment in the off-season. The mansion is also available to rent for weddings and other functions. Call 401-253-0390 or visit lindenplace.org for more information.

Linden Place

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