Northampton Approves Art for Courthouse Green

David H. Turner stands next to “Dove Spirit,” a bronze sculpture he designed, at Turner Sculpture, near Onley. Photo courtesy of David H. Turner.

By Stefanie Jackson – The Northampton board of supervisors voted unanimously Tuesday night to approve a beautification project for Eastville’s courthouse green, part of which was left empty when a historic Confederate monument was removed from the grounds last month.

Supervisor Betsy Mapp had suggested replacing the granite statue of a Confederate soldier and its tall pedestal with a bronze sculpture of a dove, which represents “peace, tranquility, all good things” and is as “non-controversial as is humanly possible to be.”

The image of a dove does not hearken “back to an ugly time” but is “looking to the future,” she said.

The bronze sculpture, a stylized rendition of a dove in flight, is called “Dove Spirit,” by local artist David H. Turner, of Turner Sculpture, near Onley.

“Dove Spirit” won the National Sculpture Society’s Downing Excellence in Design Award in 2012, and it is the centerpiece of the memorial grove at the College of William and Mary, in Williamsburg.

David H. Turner and his father, William H. Turner, both were raised and live on the Eastern Shore, and they have been designing and casting bronze sculptures of wildlife since 1983.

They have created more than 300 limited edition designs and more than 50 public commissions. Their work is on display in 15 galleries nationwide.

Mapp is seeking to acquire the large version of “Dove Spirit,” which is nearly 4.5 feet high, not including its base. The sculpture is one of an edition of 25 and costs $38,400, according to the Turner Sculpture website.

She will lead the effort to raise money to purchase the sculpture; Northampton County will hold the funds.

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