Wareham Art Gallery Retail Sign

“THE TREES ARE IN their autumn beauty, The woodland paths are dry, Under the October twilight the water mirrors a still sky; Upon the brimming water among the stones are nine-and-fifty swans. The nineteenth autumn has come upon me since I first made my count; I saw, before I had well finished, all suddenly mount and scatter wheeling in great broken rings upon their clamorous wings…” from ‘The Wild Swans at Coole’ by William Butler Yeats

Mute swans were first brought to North America from Europe in the last 1800’s – specifically in New York’s lower Hudson Valley and Long Island. Here they were kept by breeders on the ponds of private estates for their aesthetic value. When some were released (the largest recorded release was about 500 birds between 1910 and 1912) they thrived and populated those areas. By 1993, swans were said to number about 2,000, with the largest number still in New York, but with a growing population in the Lake Ontario area. They have also been introduced to New Zealand, Australia, and South Africa.

The largest bird in New York and one of the heaviest flying birds in the world, these regal birds have become the source of controversy between those who see them as an invasive and aggressive species that should be culled and those who see them as harmless symbols of romance and fidelity and who argue that conservationists are too preoccupied with the geographical origins of species. Many New Yorkers share Yeats’s sentiments of these creatures that ‘delight men’s eyes’ and are happy to share their ponds and lakes with swans.

The swans shown here were relief carved and hand painted, while the main text was incise carved using hand chisels and gilded with 23kt gold leaf.

Carved & Gilded
Relief Sculpted
Sign Size
33 " x 36 "