March 13, 2000
HONORING PRUDENCE CRANDALL
By: Lawrence Furbish, Acting Director
Sandra Bragg, Legislative Fellow
You asked how to go about honoring Prudence Crandall, the State Heroine, by having her portrait hung in the State Capitol, where a statue of Nathan Hale, the State Hero, already stands.
Jurisdiction over the State Capitol building is split between the General Assembly's Legislative Management Committee and the State Capitol Preservation and Restoration Commission. A proposal to hang a portrait of the State Heroine should first be submitted to the Physical Facilities Subcommittee of the Legislative Management Committee. Regulations govern what types of displays can be hung and how they must fit with the building's architecture and design.
An original portrait of Prudence Crandall and a copy of it exist, but both artists are dead. Several photographs of her exist but they are of her in later life, not when she ran her school. A new portrait could be commissioned, or a photograph enlargement could be treated to look like a painting. Costs might range between $1,200 and $13,000 depending on the approach selected. No funds are currently earmarked in Legislative Management's budget to pay for a portrait, and those supporting this idea would have to decide whether to request that funds be added to next year's budget (if the General Assembly decides to entertain changes to it) or to have the funding be part of the biennial budget that will be enacted next year.
JURISDICTION OVER THE CAPITOL BUILDING
The Joint Committee on Legislative Management and the State Capitol Preservation and Restoration Commission share authority over the State Capitol. The Legislative Management Committee controls what is hung or displayed in the State Capitol and Legislative Office Building (CGS § 2-71h). Under the committee's guidelines, any plaque or display must commemorate significant events or people from Connecticut history, and, in the Capitol, the location of the display must be consistent with artistic standards and guidelines developed by the Preservation and Restoration Commission (2000 Connecticut Legislative Guide, p. 199). Plaques authorized for display must be of appropriate size for the place of installation and made of bronze or other suitable material. They must be installed at the expense of the sponsoring organization and installed under the committee's specifications. Applications for installing a plaque or permanent display must include a detailed design sketch and specifications.
Monsignor Joseph A. Devine of Waterbury, who also serves as the Senate Chaplain, chairs the Preservation and Restoration Commission, created by CGS § 4b-60. It has adopted Guidelines Concerning Basic Artistic Standards for the Capitol (Leg. Guide, p. 201). These guidelines state that the integrity of the location, design, setting, materials, decoration, feeling, and appearance of all interior surfaces must be maintained, whenever possible, as originally designed and constructed. It states that there can be no changes to the interior structure or finishes without the commission's approval.
A proposal to hang a portrait of Prudence Crandall in the Capitol would start out in the Physical Facilities Subcommittee of The Legislative Management Committee. This subcommittee is chaired by Senator Alvin Penn and Representative Reginald Beamon, but Eric Connery, support services administrator in the Office of Legislative Management, is the appropriate contact person concerning building issues. He would place the proposal on the subcommittee's agenda. The subcommittee could decide to forward the proposal to the full Legislative Management Committee for a final decision.
According to Ms. Kazimiera Lozlowski, director of the Prudence Crandall Museum in Canterbury, an original oil painting of Prudence Crandall was commissioned by her supporters in 1834 and completed by the artist Francis Alexander. (The painting was done at about the same time that she was operating her school.) It is owned by Cornell University and displayed there. A duplicate painting was done in the 1970's by artist Carl Henry for Connecticut's bicentennial, and it hangs in the Prudence Crandall Museum. Both of the artists are dead. Apparently the museum has a few pictures of Crandall taken in her later years after she had moved to the Midwest.
It would certainly be possible to commission another portrait of Prudence Crandall to hang in the Capitol. Another artist could be hired to paint an original or copy based on the existing portraits or a photograph. The final bill for the recent original oil portrait of Chief Justice Peters was $12,865. Another possibility would be having an artist touch up a studio quality photograph to make it appear to be a painting. This alternative depends on the quality of existing photographs and whether they are judged acceptable to those wishing to honor Crandall, or if a photograph of the existing portrait could be used. This technique is much cheaper than commissioning an original oil portrait. The State Library has used this process for its pictures of retired State Librarians. The last one, of Richard Akeroyd, cost about $1,100.
Whether the General Assembly would pay for some or all of the cost of the portrait is a decision that presumably would be made by the Appropriations Committee, the legislative leaders, and the full General Assembly. No funds are included in the FY 1999-2000 budget for such expenditure, but they could be added to the FY 2000-01 budget, if the General Assembly decides to open it to changes this session. A request could also be made to the Legislative Management Committee that funds for a portrait be included in the biennial budget beginning in July 2001, which will be under preparation during the summer and fall of this year.