Craftsperson · Sculptor
Born May 31, 1858, Doylestown, Pennsylvania
Died February 26, 1939, Washington, DC
Sculptor and craftsman William Mercer was heavily involved in the Arts and Crafts Movement. Inspired by ancient Roman, Byzantine and Greek motifs, Mercer sculpted and cast concrete garden pieces such as fountains, benches, pedestals and arches. He exhibited his work in Paris, Munich, and Berlin, as well as at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts. In 1902, the prestigious Society of Arts and Crafts, Boston, honored his sensitive use of historical motifs in a new medium by electing him a craftsman member, and in 1913 made him a Master. He also sculpted the poignant WW1 memorial by the Courthouse in Doylestown. Similar to his more famous brother, Henry Chapman Mercer, William's artistic creativity was apparent in his surroundings. He created ceramic mosaics and stained glass panels for the family mansion, Aldie Mansion, and built a studio on the grounds in the arts and craft style. Even the shrubbery and plants were part of his design, the exact position of every one of them noted on the blueprints for the property. The two formal gardens he created provided the inspiration for his garden sculptures. Most of his remaining work is still housed at Aldie.
Image: The Journal of the Bucks County Historical Society, Mercer Mosaic, Spring/Summer 1989, courtesy the Spruance Collection of the Bucks County Historical Society