"A portrait is a picture in which there is just a tiny little something not quite right about the mouth." -- John Singer Sargent

Sunday, July 1, 2018

Patience Wright

 This c. 1782 portrait of Patience Wright attributed to Robert Edge Pine hangs in the National Portrait Gallery in Washington, DC.
“America's first native-born sculptor, Patience Wright modeled portraits of celebrities in tinted wax, exhibiting them with success in Philadelphia and New York. Her sculpting career began as a domestic activity with her five children. After her husband's death in 1769, though, this pastime became a profession. Not long afterward, a fire destroyed much of her collection, an event that led her to relocate to England. There Wright pursued portrait commissions and established a museum to display new examples of her work. This venture proved an instant sensation and won her an enthusiastic following that included King George III. When war broke out in 1776, she fell from favor in royal circles because of her open support for the colonial cause. Later proclaiming that ‘women are always useful in grand events,’ Wright became an American spy and sent intelligence to Benjamin Franklin in Paris.” – National Portrait Gallery
A caricature of Mrs Wright, uncannily preparing a wax figure, appeared in London Magazine on December 1, 1775:

This wax image of William Pitt may be the only remaining work by Patience Wright:

Patience Wright. William Pitt, the Earl of Chatham. 1779

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