- Homeback to main page
- Thomas O’Donovan
- Artistsour gallery artists
- Artists Of Oaxaca
- Fine Furniture
- The Gallerya tour
- Happeningsour events
- Tom’s Blogideas and rambles
- Contact Usdrop us a note
Cabot Lyford, 81, lives in New Harbor and works in stone, bronze, and wood, with much of his inspiration coming from nature and the female human form. His sculptures can be found in many museums throughout the U.S., and his large, public pieces-such as the graceful dolphins in front of Portland’s Regency Hotel and the black granite sculpture of a mother and child on the Portsmouth, New Hampshire, waterfront-are well known in New England. While he is no longer creating such massive sculptures, he is still working in wood, slate, and bronze. He is particularly proud of two recent pieces, a large carved wooden whale on display at Harbor Square, and a goose in laminated mahogany that he describes as “one of the best things I’ve ever done.” Among the sculptures featured in Harbor Square’s February exhibit include “Prima Vera: The Angel of Spring” in mahogany and bronze, and “Artemisia,” a graceful yet strong female torso in pink granite. Sometimes, Lyford’s work starts with the most ordinary of materials. “One of my favorite horses started life as a piece of firewood,” he notes.
O’Donovan first became aware of Lyford’s work in the 1980s, when he happened upon a sculpture of a ram displayed at a gallery in Portland. “What struck me about his work then-and what continues to strike me-is the elemental power expressed through form and dimension and texture,” he says. “Cabot’s work is strong. It is substantial. It doesn’t ask permission, it just stands there and emits the incredible power that Cabot has put into it. Whether it is a bull, or a ram, or a whale, or an angel, the spirit shines through every form he creates.”
In addition to his career as a sculptor, Lyford has been equally distinguished in other arenas. He spent more than 20 years as an educator, teaching sculpture, painting, and art history at Phillips Exeter Academy in New Hampshire, where he saw some of his students go on to their own careers as highly regarded sculptors. In addition, Lyford helped start public television stations in both New Hampshire and Maine, and is the author of the popular children’s book, Arthur the Moose. He studied engineering, architecture, and art at Cornell University, where he graduated with a degree in Fine Art. Some of his early artistic inspiration came from Charles Cutler, with whom he studied at the Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture. “My time there was very inspiring,” Lyford notes.
Once asked why he prefers to work in granite as a medium for his sculpture, Cabot Lyford replied that granite is like watercolor. It allows for no mistakes.
“Cabot Lyford has been called by his artist peers ‘the finest stone carver in New England.’”–John Whitney Payson
Cabot works directly with the stone, letting its shape and grain lead him to the final piece. He begins with a jackhammer, forcing the stone to his will, then moves onto hand-tools. He leaves some parts raw as nature and other parts polished as glass.
Cabot was born in Sayre, PA in 1925. He began his career as a painter in the mid-40s, got his BFA in sculpture from Cornell University in 1950, then went on for further study at New York City’s Sculpture Center. He taught art at Phillips Exeter Academy for 23 years and retired as the Chairman of the Art Department in 1986. He now lives year round with his wife, Joan, in Pemaquid, Maine.