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Bookmarks, Church Representations

Over the years the Abbey school library has received many book donations. To recognize the donors, bookplates have been designed for placement inside the cover. One of the early ones, done in woodcut style, shows the Holy Spirit (or the dove of peace) descending from above in red, and containing within its rays a chapel on an island. The sea and chapel are black, thus using the school colors. Printed in block text is written "Ex libris scholae S. Gregorii Magi, Portsumuthensis". John Howard Benson (1901-1956) of Newport designed the bookplate in the 1930's when we were identified as Portsmouth Priory. It is named "Church on the Island". His granddaughter, Abby S. Benson, was a member of the first class at the school to graduate females in 1992. The present donor bookplate, designed by faculty member, Donald McGuire, Sr. (1919-1986), shows the church of St. Gregory the Great at the Abbey, with the classroom building off to the left, done in maroon, on cream. It is presented as a sketch. It was done in the early 1980¹s when Donald was the chairman of the art department. When Donald died his family set up a library book fund with monetary donations and proceeds from the sale of prints. For the special art books purchased with these funds, a bookplate designed in 1986 by Eileen, his wife and daughter Ellen, is used. The dove of peace, holding an olive branch is inscribed in a circle. Dr. and Mrs. Peter Mogayzel, parents of Dr. Peter Mogayzel, class of 1979, and cousin of William '02, also have an endowed book fund in memory of Elias D. Mogayzel. A bookplate designed by Kathryn, William's mother, is placed within those book Most recently a bookplate was used for inclusion in a gift book given to the graduates  by alumnus Tom Healey'60. For this special bookplate their very talented classmate, Ginny Yang, '02 incorporated the raven and "Veritas" school symbols in her work. Representations of the church have figured in bookplates and publications of the school for many years. The present Church of St. Gregory the Great was designed by architect Pietro Belluschi in 1960. Modern Church Architecture, by Albert Christ-Janer et.al.., a book from 1962, includes a black and white sketch of the architect¹s design of the church. It is shown here. Church-Drawing James Burke of the class of 1980 did a very colorful representation, in oil. This forms that class's artistic section of their signature panel hanging in the foyer of the Cortazzo Administration Building. In the late 1980's a local artist, Eileen Shanley, did a series of pen and ink sketches of all the churches of Portsmouth. Later she produced a watercolor tinted print of the Abbey church, which was on display for a show held at the school in 1990. That print, shown here, viewed facing north shows the church from the cobblestone walk with the wellhead on the left. This print is now hanging in the Library Director¹s office. In 1993 Eileen McGuire painted a watercolor of the church. The view facing south shows the church as seen through the distinctive tall English oak trees. It was done in green washes on a cream background. Donald McGuire used a sketch of the church in a bookplate, but he also did a beautiful oil painting entitled "View from the Farm". This now forms a poster size print and postcard, sold in the bookstore, proceeds from the sale of which are used to purchase art books. The signature panel for the class of 1996 includes a unique representation of the church done by student Sae-Jung Lim. View from the bottom stair the church is made in mosaic form from tiny chips of color cut from magazine covers. Pastel in color palette, and pointillistic in style, the Church of Saint Gregory the Great looks almost as if done by an Impressionist. Shown below. An alumnus, James A. Zilian, class of 1995, son of faculty members Dr. and Mrs. Fred Zilian, did a woodblock representation of the church. It was once reproduced a Christmas card and is shown below Most recently the church has been represented in a sparse graphics art style as a logo for the school¹s 75th anniversary. Seen here, the two-toned olive green background contrasts with the maroon, and the cupola, cross and Veritas logo are visible. While there are many designs, the centrality of the church in the landscape of the campus, and, as seen, in the choice by these artists as their representation of its importance both as bookplate and visual depiction captures one essence of Portsmouth Abbey School.      (R.S)