Messenger - Vol. 4, No. 4, Page 2
Allmond's Joy

     I might have been unhappy if I had realized that I was a sculptor
at an earlier age," says Charles Allmond, Delaware '53, '57, who first
put chisel to stone when he was over 50 years old.
     "I probably would have starved to death if I had to depend on art
for a livelihood," says Allmond, a lawyer and former agronomist.
"Perhaps it's for the best that this came late in life for me."
     For the Wilmington, Del., sculptor, his artistic career is
certainly a case of better late than never.
     The recipient of numerous awards for his sculpture, Allmond
earlier this year left his law practice to concentrate full-time on
his art. He also was recently elected president of the Society of
Animal Artists, a prestigious, international organization of some 300
painters and sculptors.
     "It's not that unusual to turn to sculpture later in life," notes
Allmond, whose works range from figurative alabaster animals to large,
abstract pieces such as Ode to Joy, which graces the entrance to the
University's Morris Library-a gift of the class of 1953. "It takes
awhile for that part of your psyche to develop. Maybe it's there but
not ready to come out. All those life experiences help."
     Allmond has enjoyed a lifetime of experiences. As a child, he
loved to draw but decided to pursue science as a career. At Delaware,
Allmond earned degrees in agriculture and agronomy and later worked as
a seed analyst and as manager of a crop dusting company. He also
served in the U.S. Coast Guard for five years.
     After receiving a law degree from Temple University, he went into
private practice in Wilmington. He served as president of Allmond,
Eastburn & Benge from 1980 until 1993, when he decided to scale back
his practice to three days a week and focus on sculpting. In February,
partly at the urging of his wife, Frances, Delaware '53, he left his
law practice entirely.
     "There are no drawbacks-except you don't make any money," he says
of his decision. "It's a very satisfying life, but not highly
     Along the way from attorney to sculptor, Allmond tried various
crafts. He made furniture, restored antiques and helped Frank
Schoonover, a local illustrator, frame some of his works. Allmond
considered taking painting classes, but he was always too busy,
especially with the demands and responsibilities of his practice and
raising a family. He and Frances have two children, Bayard W. III,
Delaware '79, and Susan Allmond Long, Delaware '80.
     Then, in 1982, Allmond's father died. "It was a sudden jolt to
me," he says. "I realized that none of us is immortal and that if I
were going to do something in the artistic vein, I might as well get
     His first foray into the three-dimensional was a success. He
produced wooden carvings that resembled folk art. Allmond moved on to
soapstone, and then he was hooked.
     "It was like a door opened," he said. "Creating sculpture came
naturally. I never treated it as a hobby. The more I got into it, the
more fascinated I became."
     And so began Allmond's double life: He would practice law all day
and then sculpt each weeknight until 10 p.m. and all day on weekends
in his home studio. His goal was to make sculpture his business.
     Toward that end, Allmond began to sell his works through
galleries and to enter juried competitions.
     His works have been exhibited at such venues as the Woodmere Art
Museum in Philadelphia, the Agora Gallery and the Central Park Zoo
Gallery in New York City, Pennsylvania State University and the
Rehoboth (Del.) Art League. They have garnered awards including
Woodmere's Ellen Lee Walker Amelia Prize, winner of the Soho
International Art Competition and the Award of Excellence from the
Society of Animal Artists.
     Allmond also has participated in many national traveling
exhibitions, sponsored by the Society of Animal Artists. Currently, he
is represented locally by Hardcastle's Gallery in Wilmington and
Newark and the Delaware Art Museum Sales and Rental Gallery in
Wilmington, as well as by galleries in New Mexico and Florida.
     In 1987, his budding artistic career took a giant step forward
when Allmond applied and gained admission to the Society of Animal
Artists-the only artist accepted out of 40 applicants that year.
     "It's a good way to meet other artists and get constructive
criticism of your work," Allmond says of the society, which, among
other activities, holds an annual juried show of its members' works.
"The whole idea is to promote animal art as a legitimate fine art
     Allmond's studio has grown along with his career. His first
workspace was little more than a glorified backyard shed. In 1990, he
built his current studio-about the size of a two-car garage and
featuring a 12-foot ceiling, large windows on four sides and a loading
dock. Plus, there is room to store the alabaster, which Allmond orders
in one-ton quantities from mines in Utah and Colorado. (The rocks
weigh anywhere from 25 to 125 pounds each and come in more than two
dozen shades of green, brown, white and pink. A ton will last Allmond
two to three years.)
     From the beginning, Allmond has alternated between abstract
pieces and recognizable figures of animals. The ideas for his large,
abstract works, such as Ode to Joy, come from his imagination, while
his animal pieces are rooted in reality. When fashioning an elephant,
owl or starfish, Allmond consults his personal library to check out
the animal's features and characteristics. He is careful to use books
as a reference only; the actual look of an animal is his own.
     "I don't like the idea of copying a photograph or someone else's
work," says Allmond, who draws directly on the stone with a piece of
charcoal. "I usually end up with something pretty close to what I had
in mind when I started."
                                       -Robert DiGiacomo, Delaware '88