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Daniel Webster

1847 Clark Mills Born: Syracuse, New York 1810 Died: Washington, District of Columbia 1883 plaster 29 1/4 x 20 1/2 x 12 1/8 in. (74.3 x 52.1 x 30.7 cm) Smithsonian American Art Museum Transfer from the National Institute XX16 Smithsonian American Art Museum
Luce Foundation Center, 3rd Floor, 20B


Luce Center Quote

“This, I took from Webster’s head. Note the immense bumps of language and self-esteem; see what monstrous developments of the philoprogenitive and amative qualities, which sent the great statesman on his occasional toots.” The artist quoted in The Washington Post, August 1879

Luce Center Label

The strange language that you see in the quote above refers to the fashion during the nineteenth century for phrenology, in which the shape of a person’s skull was thought to reveal his or her character. Daniel Webster won fame as a lawyer during the 1820s and was venerated as one of the greatest public speakers of his time. He was a Massachusetts senator and a fierce supporter of the Union during the states’ rights controversy. Clark Mills created this life mask in 1847, when the politician was fifty-five years old. The stately pose and thoughtful expression of the figure reflect how he might have looked during an intense debate or public address.

Keywords

Dress - historic - classical dress

Miscellaneous - life mask

Occupation - political - statesman

Portrait male - Webster, Daniel - bust

sculpture

plaster

About Clark Mills

Born: Syracuse, New York 1810 Died: Washington, District of Columbia 1883

More works in the collection by
Clark Mills