La Petite Pensee

Thomas Ball’s eight-year-old niece, Annie Chickering, posed for this sculpture in the late 1860s. The figure appears deep in thought, gazing down at the pansies and lilies on her bodice. The title of the piece is likely a pun combining the words pansy” and pensée, which means thought.” The sculpture also illustrates a line from act 4 of Shakespeare’s Hamlet, in which Ophelia says to Laertes: “… and there is pansies, that’s for thoughts.”

“… the little head La Petite Pensée’ … has had such a wonderful success.” Thomas Ball, My Fourscore Years

Title
La Petite Pensee
Artist
Date
modeled ca. 1867
Location
Dimensions
15 5812 788 34 in. (39.732.722.2 cm)
Credit Line

Smithsonian American Art Museum

Museum purchase

Mediums
Mediums Description
marble
Classifications
Keywords
  • State of being – mood – meditation
  • Figure female – child – bust
Object Number
1973.56
Palette
Linked Open Data
Linked Open Data URI

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