Humpty Dumpty Sat on a Wall, William E. Greene

William Greene received a BFA in 1972 and an MFA in 1978, both from Miami. Greene worked at Shillito’s in Cincinnati for several years and for an animations company in Connecticut for a year. Greene started his own company building large animated displays and props for department stores and shopping malls. Since most animation work was seasonal, Greene worked as a freelance sculptor and as an adjunct art instructor. Then he worked at GE Aviation for 10 years before retiring to do freelance projects and his own artwork.

Most Nursery Rhymes are based on an event, person, or time in history. Humpty Dumpty has a number of interpretations including a village drunk or King Richard III falling off his horse and being cut to pieces by his enemies. However, this painting is based on a canon that was nicknamed Humpty Dumpty because of its shape. The English Civil War took place between 1642 and 1651. In 1648, during the Siege of Colchester, the Humpty Dumpty canon was mounted on the tower of St. Mary-at-the-Wall church, and it defended the town for 11 weeks. Finally the wall was destroyed and the canon toppled to the ground and could not be resurrected. An egg was never mentioned in the verse and was probably added in the late 1800’s to make the rhyme easier for children to understand.