Francis Davis Millet

Copied Augustus Saint-Gaudens, Francis Davis Millet, modeled 1879, relief/metal: bronze/electrotype, 10 126 34 in. (26.617.3 cm.), Smithsonian American Art Museum, Gift of Ernst G. Fisher, 1935.7.1
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Artwork Details

Francis Davis Millet
modeled 1879
10 126 34 in. (26.617.3 cm.)
signed upper left to right: august--saint--gaudens fecit.:
Credit Line
Gift of Ernst G. Fisher
Mediums Description
relief/metal: bronze/electrotype
  • Portrait
  • Occupation — art — painter
  • Portrait male — Millet, Francis Davis — head
Object Number

Artwork Description

Francis Davis Millet (1846-1912) was a painter, mural decorator, and illustrator from Massachusetts. After study in London and Antwerp, he assisted John La Farge with the decoration of Trinity Church in Boston, where he probably met Augustus Saint-Gaudens. In 1879, Saint-Gaudens, along with Mark Twain, witnessed the marriage of Millet to Elizabeth Greely Merrill, and the bronze relief after which this electrotype was made was most likely a wedding present. Electrotype reproductions of European works of art were exhibited in American museums in the 1880s and 1890s, along with plaster casts and copies of old-master paintings. Saint-Gaudens became interested in electrotype copies when he saw an exhibition in New York of electroplated cast-iron objects made to resemble bronze. Thirty-three years after Saint-Gaudens made Millet’s original portrait, his friend died in the sinking of the SS Titanic.