The Reredos

from “The American Architect” December 28, 1910

October 21, 1910

Dear Mr. Eaton,

Some of the architects in Boston, and.several of the public spirited citizens as well, have been making pilgrimages to Mr. Ross’ shop in East Cambridge for the purpose of seeing the reredos for St. Paul’s Cathedral, which is now set up, with all its statues in place.  The general consensus of opinion seems to be that, quoting one of the pilgrims, this particular piece of work is the mot beautiful thing of the kind ever made in modern times.  Naturally, we demur a little at this excessive praise, nevertheless the fact remains that the reredos has created, and is creating, a profound sensation.  Now we were today approached by one of the trustees of the Boston Museum of Fine Arts with the request that this same reredos should be set up in the new Art Museum and placed on public view for a week or two, in order that the   people of Boston might see what could really be done in the line of good architecture, good cabinet work and good sculpture in this country, day and generation.

Of course this is all immensely flattering.  We are under the impression that it is the first time that the Art Museum has  suggested the possibility of any such a proceeding, and we should like, above all things, to have the work on public exhibition here in Boston before it goes to Detroit.  The question is, however, first, would you permit such a public exhibition and under such auspices; second is there going to be time?

We do not know what you think now will be the date for the dedication of the cathedral, but it would only take three weeks to ship the reredos to Detroit and have it put in place and finished, while we should suppose that two or three weeks would be sufficient for the Art Museum.  If you do not expect to dedicate the cathedral before December 20, then if you are willing  that the reredos should be exhibited, there will probably be no difficulty in the matter.

from the “Michigan Churchman” Cathedral Number 1911

We very much trust that this may be the case; that you will make no effort to dedicate the cathedral before December 20, and that you yourself will have no objection to the reredos being placed on public exhibition in the Boston Art Museum.

Very truly yours,
Cram Goodhue Ferguson