There’s an old movie called “Charade” in which a child at a stamp market in Paris mistakenly trades three extremely valuable stamps for some ordinary, but colorful ones. His horrified mother & her friend track down the stamps dealer to try to get them back. They had little hope that the new owner would grant their request. But, they were astonished when the dealer said that he would return them. After explaining that the stamps were among the most valuable in the world and the dream of every stamp collector to own, the philosophical dealer said, “For a few minutes, they were mine, that is enough.”
We had a similar experience last winter with a beautiful Wedgwood Liberty Bowl. This 10″ wide display bowl depicts images associated with the Declaration of Independence in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Highlights include John L Trumbull’s painting of the signing of the Declaration as well as famous paintings of historic colonial Philadelphia landmarks including the Betsy Ross House, the Liberty Bell, First US Bank, Christ Church, Congress Hall, the University of Pennsylvania, Carpenters Hall and Merchants Exchange. The Rim of the bowl contains this quote from the Declaration, “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness” It was manufactured by Wedgwood in England in 1973 exclusively for J.E. Caldwell Company. It comes with a wooden display base.
This bowl is really a work of art. It was a pleasure to have it in our house, even if only for a short time. We had to find just the right buyer for it. Someone who would appreciate it not only for its beauty, but also for the significance in American history of the images depicted.
We didn’t have to wait long. The bowl was purchased by the Department of Ophthalmology of the University of Pennsylvania. Their Scheie Eye Institute honors alumni who have significantly contributed to the advancement of that field of medicine at an annual dinner and awards ceremony. The Liberty Bowl was a natural tie in with the institute, located in Philadelphia, the City of Brotherly Love, where Declaration of Independence was signed.
Among the award winners this year was Dr. Dan Gombos, who completed his residency at Scheie. Dr. Gombos is now an associate professor in the Department of Head and Neck Surgery at the University of Texas Cancer Center in Houston.
It was an honor to participate, however peripherally, in the appreciation of brilliant scientists who have done so much to help sick people. As to the Liberty Bowl itself, it was a joy to own, “…even for a few minutes. That is enough.”