Priscilla

  • Longworth Powers, Priscilla, after 1860, plaster, Smithsonian American Art Museum, Museum purchase in memory of Ralph Cross Johnson, 1968.155.100

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This sculpture shows the character Priscilla from Henry Wadsworth Longfellow’s long narrative poem The Courtship of Miles Standish. Longworth Powers may have been inspired to create this sculpture by his father, Hiram, who carved two portraits of Longfellow in the late 1860s. The poem, first published in 1858, tells a story of love and foolishness among three characters: Priscilla Mullins, Miles Standish, and John Alden. John marries Priscilla, after first trying to court her on behalf of Standish. The poet describes Priscilla as a “puritan maiden” who speaks her mind to Alden, and in this piece Powers captured her confident expression as she listens to the young man’s declarations.

Title
Priscilla
Artist
Date
after 1860
On View
Dimensions
18 7/8 x 12 1/4 x 6 7/8 in. (48.0 x 31.1 x 17.4 cm)
Credit Line

Smithsonian American Art Museum

Museum purchase in memory of Ralph Cross Johnson

Mediums
Mediums Description
plaster
Classifications
Keywords
  • Figure female – bust
  • Literature – Longfellow – Priscilla
  • Portrait female – unidentified – Priscilla
Object Number
1968.155.100
Palette
Linked Open Data
Linked Open Data URI

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