Friday, October 21, 2011

"Sweet Hour of Prayer"






Early 20th century folk art carving of a woman in deep prayer, with the inscription "Sweet Hour of Prayer" on the pulpit.

Recently found in an old trunk on an Alabama plantation. Measures 9" tall.

"Sweet Hour of Prayer" was written in 1845 by a blind preacher named William Walford. The lyrics appeared in The New York Observer, September 13, 1845, with the following observation from a Thomas Salmon:

"During my re­si­dence at Coles­hill, War­wick­shire, Eng­land, I be­came ac­quaint­ed with W. W. Wal­ford, the blind preach­er, a man of ob­scure birth and con­nect­ions and no ed­u­ca­tion, but of strong mind and most re­ten­tive mem­o­ry. In the pul­pit he ne­ver failed to se­lect a less­on well adapt­ed to his sub­ject, giv­ing chap­ter and verse with un­err­ing pre­ci­sion and scarce­ly ev­er mis­plac­ing a word in his re­pe­ti­tion of the Psalms, ev­ery part of the New Tes­ta­ment, the pro­phe­cies, and some of the his­to­ries, so as to have the rep­u­ta­tion of “know­ing the whole Bi­ble by heart.” He ac­tu­al­ly sat in the chim­ney cor­ner, em­ploy­ing his mind in com­pos­ing a ser­mon or two for Sab­bath de­liv­ery, and his hands in cut­ting, shap­ing and po­lish­ing bones for shoe horns and other lit­tle use­ful im­ple­ments. At in­ter­vals he at­tempt­ed po­e­try. On one oc­ca­sion, pay­ing him a vi­sit, he re­peat­ed two or three piec­es which he had co­mposed, and hav­ing no friend at home to commit them to paper, he had laid them up in the store­house within. “How will this do?” asked he, as he re­peat­ed the fol­low­ing lines, with a com­pla­cent smile touched with some light lines of fear lest he sub­ject him­self to cri­ti­cism. I ra­pid­ly co­pied the lines with my pen­cil, as he ut­tered them, and sent them for in­ser­tion in the Ob­serv­er, if you should think them worthy of pre­ser­va­tion."

4 comments:

Dixie Sargent Redmond said...

I love this lamp/creation on so many levels. It would be interesting to try and create a lampshade that goes with the base but doesn't take away from it.

Dixie

Dixie Sargent Redmond said...

Plus, I grew up singing that song as a child in Georgia.

Joey said...

I know! I thought about what the lampshade must have been like as well. Something tells me it would have been pretty interesting. I love the fact that back then you saw a lot more homemade creations like lamps, sometimes with unique individual expressions. Something you'd never see today...

Dixie Sargent Redmond said...

I wonder if it had some kind of mica shade like some arts and craft lamps do? Interesting to think about.