Daniel Webster

  • Clark Mills, Daniel Webster, 1847, plaster, Smithsonian American Art Museum, Transfer from the National Institute, XX16

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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.

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“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

Title
Daniel Webster
Artists
Date
1847
On View
Dimensions
29 1/4 x 20 1/2 x 12 1/8 in. (74.3 x 52.1 x 30.7 cm)
Credit Line

Smithsonian American Art Museum

Transfer from the National Institute

Mediums
Classifications
Keywords
  • Occupation – political – statesman
  • Dress – historic – classical dress
  • Portrait male – Webster, Daniel – bust
Object Number
XX16
Palette
Linked Open Data
Linked Open Data URI