Moon shaped face stone carving attributed to artist Noble Stuart (photo courtesy of Garth’s Auctioneers & Appraisers)
Ohio Life

Ohio Finds: Moon-Shaped Face Stone Carving

This unsigned piece is attributed to artist Noble Stuart, who is known for his carvings on the natural sandstone formations at Worden’s Ledges near Hinckley.

It took some time, but Noble Stuart finally got the credit he was due. In the 1940s, Stuart created carvings on natural sandstone formations at Worden’s Ledges near Hinckley in Medina County. Those creations, which range from depictions of baseball player Ty Cobb to a sphinx, were once thought to have been chiseled decades earlier by an anonymous artist.

The connection to Stuart made more sense, considering his link to the land where the carvings exist. Late in life, he married Nettie Worden, whose father, Hiram Worden, was a tombstone and statuary carver. Hiram had acquired the land surrounding what is now Worden’s Ledges in the mid-19th century, built a house and raised a family.

After his death, the property passed to Nettie, who died in 1945, leaving Stuart alone there. He exorcised his grief by making carvings on the rocks a mile behind the Worden family house. He also made freestanding works in stone and wood near the homestead.

For anyone wanting a glimpse of Stuart’s best-known work, Worden’s Ledges is part of the Cleveland Metroparks Hinckley Reservation. Although they are exceptionally scarce, smaller sculptures have turned up at auction, including this unsigned, 16-by-13-inch stone carving of a moon-shaped face.

Sold at Auction: $3,375

Richard Jeffers is the owner of Garth’s Auctioneers & Appraisers in Columbus.