• Created Date
  • 1850-1859
  • Description
  • Charcoal or pencil drawing, gift to the Watertown Free Public Library by Harriet Hosmer Carr., 1923. Harriet Hosmer was born at Watertown, Massachusetts, and completed a course of study in Lenox, Massachusetts. She was a delicate child, and was encouraged by her father, a physician, to pursue a course of physical training by which she became expert in rowing, skating, and riding. Mount Hosmer, near Lansing, Iowa is named after Hosmer, the resu... more
    Charcoal or pencil drawing, gift to the Watertown Free Public Library by Harriet Hosmer Carr., 1923. Harriet Hosmer was born at Watertown, Massachusetts, and completed a course of study in Lenox, Massachusetts. She was a delicate child, and was encouraged by her father, a physician, to pursue a course of physical training by which she became expert in rowing, skating, and riding. Mount Hosmer, near Lansing, Iowa is named after Hosmer, the result a race to the top that she won as a youth. She showed an early aptitude for modeling, and studied anatomy with her father, and afterwards at the St. Louis Medical College. She then studied in Boston and practiced modeling at home until November 1852, when, at age 22, with her father and her friend Charlotte Cushman, she went to Rome, where from 1853 to 1860 she was the pupil of the English sculptor John Gibson. Hosmer shared a house with actress Charlotte Cushman and soon formed close friendships with such prominent expatriates as Robert and Elizabeth Barrett Browning and fellow sculptors John Gibson, Emma Stebbins, and William Wetmore Story. References to Hosmer or characters inspired by her appear in the work of Nathaniel Hawthorne, Louisa May Alcott, and Kate Field among others. This unlikely coalition, along with her talent, ambition, and careful maintenance of her public profile, ultimately brought her great acclaim. Hosmer's critique of women's position in nineteenth-century culture through her sculpture, women's rights advocates' use of high art to promote their cause, the role Hosmer's relationships with women played in her life and success, and the complex position a female artist occupied within a country increasingly interested in proving its gentility made her unique for her time period. She was devoted for 25 years to Lady Ashburton, widow of Bingham Baring, 2nd Baron Ashburton. She also designed and constructed machinery, and devised new processes, especially in connection with sculpture, such as a method of converting the ordinary limestone of Italy into marble, and a process of modeling in which the rough shape of a statue is first made in plaster, on which a coating of wax is laid for working out the finer forms. Harriet Hosmer was celebrated as one of the country's most respected artists, credited with opening the field of sculpture to women and cited as a model of female ability and American refinement. less
  • Format
  • Photographs