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Longworth Powers

Born:
Cincinnati, Ohio 1835

Died:
Florence, Italy 1904

Luce Artist Biography

The eldest son of the sculptor Hiram Powers (1805-1873), Nicholas Longworth Powers struggled to establish a career and failed to persevere at any task for long, a fact that continually frustrated his successful father. Longworth enrolled at the United States Military Academy at West Point, where his family hoped that the education and discipline would keep him in line, but he was asked to leave after only one semester. He then attended Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in New York, but failed to stay long enough to earn a degree. His father thought Longworth might do better in Florence, Italy, where the Powers family had moved in 1837, and put him to work as a bookkeeper in his studio while teaching him the basics of sculpture. Longworth created a few portrait busts and ideal pieces, but his interest soon waned, and Hiram sent him back to America. By 1860, Longworth was back in Florence working as a photographer, creating portraits of prominent men and women in the city. (Wunder, Hiram Powers, vol. 1, 1991)