Be Prepared

Spelter Boy Scout Sculpture Trophy (LEO Design)

A Boy Scout is always prepared—but does he have a vintage trophy?  Celebrate the scout (or former scout) with this 1920’s cast spelter statuette modeled by Canadian Renaissance Man Robert Tait McKenzie in 1915.  Around its base are inscribed the characteristics which form the ideal Scout: Trustworthy, Loyal, Helpful, Friendly, Courteous, Kind, Obedient, Cheerful, Thrifty, Brave, Clean and Reverent.  The original statue is to be found in the Philadelphia Museum of Art.  In the Thirties, a life-sized version was cast and installed outside the Boy Scout office in that same city.

McKenzie was born in Ontario in 1867.  While an undergraduate (and later medical student) at McGill University in Montreal, he became enamored of all things athletic, becoming a physical fitness pioneer.  He taught anatomy and medicine at McGill and later (in 1904) at the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia.  McKenzie developed methods of rehabilitating wounded WWI soldiers which became the foundation of modern physiotherapy.  He also advocated for the benefits of preventive medicine.

McKenzie melded his love for athletics, medicine and anatomy with his love for art and sculpture.  Besides the sculpture shown above (The Ideal Scout), he modeled and cast athletic sculptures and a medallion for the 1912 Stockholm Olympics. He also designed busts, monuments and bas relief sculptures of famous personages of the past and present. He was so proud of his Scots-American WWI Memorial (in Edinburgh) that he requested that, upon his death, his heart be entombed within it.  Apparently, Edinburgh city leaders disagreed—and denied the request—though his heart is buried in the nearby Saint Cuthbert’s churchyard.


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