Recording Angel, The

Forest Mound Cemetery, N. Madison St., Waupun, Wisconsin

Lorado Taft sculpture commissioned by Clarence Shaler in memorial of his wife, Blanche



The figure is of an angel, depicted as a woman, seated, and holding the Book of Life on her lap.

The sculpture is mounted against a ten foot tall block of polished marble.

Photo taken by J.R. Manning in June 2013




Clarence Shaler was a successful manufacturer, entrepreneuer, inventor, philanthropist and friend of the arts. When he visited Chicago, he met a young sculptor named Lorado Taft and the two immediately became life-long friends. Taft would go on to be a famous sculptor in his own right, known for his work at the Columbian Exposition in 1893 along with numerous other sculptures across the country. Taft was also a strong influence on Shaler, who himself took up sculpture at the age of 70.

When Blanche Bancroft Shaler passed in 1921, Shaler commissioned Taft to create a fitting memorial for the grave of his beloved wife. The Recording Angel is the result. The statue was donated to the City of Waupun in 1923.

It is the only Taft sculpture in Wisconsin, however, Taft was also a noted art instructor and had many of his students help him with his work at the Columbian Exposition. One of those students was Jean Pond Miner, who sculpted one of Wisconsin's most famous works of art, Forward, for the 1893 Exposition. Her work remains on display in Madison.

The Recording Angel is noted for its exquisite detail, from the angel's hair, filaments on her wings, fingers and toes. It is an awe-inspiring piece and well worth a visit.

National Register information 

Posted to the National Register of Historic Places on July 15, 1974
Reference number
Area of significance
Level of significance
Evaluation criteria
C - Design/Construction
Property type
Historic functions
Work of art (sculpture, carving, rock art); Monument/marker
Current functions
Work of art (sculpture, carving, rock art); Monument/marker
Period of significance
Significant year

Update Log 

  • June 14, 2013: Updated by J.R. Manning: Updated Status, Added Description and Added Photos