Edward Thaxter was only twenty-four years old when he died, but in his brief career as a sculptor he garnered praise for his work and was deemed an artist with a promising future. Born in Yarmouth, Maine, he is believed to have chosen to study sculpture after seeing the work of John Rogers. At the age of sixteen, Thaxter moved to Boston and studied with the portrait sculptor John D. Perry.
In 1878 Thaxter left for Florence, Italy, where he took a studio and began to create the neoclassical works that won him critical attention. In 1881 he contracted typhoid fever, which left him in a weakened condition, and within the year the young sculptor died in Naples. Thaxter's untimely death was noted with genuine regret in the American press. The critic James Jackson Jarves, writing in the New York Times in August 1881, called it "a severe loss to the young school of American sculpture."
National Museum of American Art (CD-ROM) (New York and Washington D.C.: MacMillan Digital in cooperation with the National Museum of American Art, 1996)