Daniel Webster

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

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.

Luce Object 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

Daniel Webster
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 Description
  • Occupation – political – statesman
  • Portrait male – Webster, Daniel – bust
  • Dress – historic – classical dress
Object Number
Linked Open Data
Linked Open Data URI

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