Sarah Wyman Whitman - Crest of the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum, about 1900

Designed by Sarah Wyman Whitman (Lowell, Massachusetts, 1842 - 1904, Boston)

Crest of the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum: C'est Mon Plaisir, about 1900

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Object details

Accession number

SOn2

Creators

  • Sarah Wyman Whitman (Lowell, Massachusetts, 1842 - 1904, Boston) - primary
  • John Evans And Company (active Boston, 19th century) - stone carver
  • Isabella Stewart Gardner (New York, 1840 - 1924, Boston) - designer

Provenance

Commissioned by Isabella Stewart Gardner from Sarah Wyman Whitman, Boston to design her seal with her motto "C'est Mon Plaisir" in about 1900.

Marks

Inscribed (banner): CEST MON PLAISIR (it's my pleasure)

Bibliography

Morris Carter. Isabella Stewart Gardner and Fenway Court (Boston, 1925; Reprint, Boston, 1972), p. 188. (as designed by Isabella Stewart Gardner)
George L. Stout. Treasures from the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum (Boston, 1969), p. 41, ill.
Francis G. Hutchins. "Stained Glass Pragmatism: Sarah Wyman Whitman's Lowell Window at First Parish, Brookline, Massachusetts." First Parish Church in Brookline, website (2009), p. 2, n3. (as designed by Sarah Wyman Whitman, commissioned by Isabella Gardner)
Pieranna Cavalchini and Amanda Esteves-Kraus (eds.). Portrait (Boston, 2012), p. 25. (quoting the Diary of Willard T. Sears, 23 Nov. 1900; as "from a drawing made by Mrs. Whitman")


Rights and reproductions

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Commentary

Isabella asked her friend, artist and writer Sarah Wyman Whitman to design this distinctive crest bearing a phoenix rising from the ashes, an emblem of immortality, and the phrase C’est Mon Plaisir (It’s My Pleasure), one of Isabella's mottoes and in the words of her biographer, "the reason and, in her opinion, the justification for her every action." It is installed above the museum’s former entryway on the north side of the building.