Henry Dexter (American, 1806-1876)Marble Bust of Theodore Lyman II
Signed and dated "HENRY DEXTER/FECIT./1871." l.r. side.
Marble, height 23 in. (58.4 cm).
Condition: Subtle natural striation to the marble, minor chip at the l.r. back corner of the base.
Provenance: Lyman School for Boys, Westborough, Massachusetts, until 1971; Collection of Alfred J. Walker, Seathrift, South Dartmouth, Massachusetts, until 2012; to the current owner.
Public Collections: Museum of Fine Arts, Boston; Massachusetts Horticultural Society, Wellesley, Massachusetts (plaster).
Literature: John Albee, Henry Dexter, Sculptor: A Memorial
(Boston: privately printed by University Press, 1898), p. 117, no. 194; Wayne Craven, Sculpture in America
, (Newark: University of Delaware Press, 1968), (Revised Edition, London: Associated University Press, 1984) pp. 92-96; Kathryn Greenthal, Paula M. Kozol, and Jan Seidler Ramirez, American Figurative Sculpture in the Museum of Fine Arts Boston
(Boston: Museum of Fine Arts, 1986), pp. 41-43, illus.; Jonathan P. Harding, The Boston Athenaeum Collection: Pre-Twentieth Century American and European Painting and Sculpture
(Boston Athenaeum, 1984), pp. 25-26, 149, 152.
N.B. This bust depicts the Honorable Theodore Lyman II (1792-1849), Boston's first Democratic mayor from 1834-35. Prior to this post, he was Brigadier General in the Massachusetts militia and a representative in the state legislature. A Boston native and Harvard graduate, he sat for this portrait by Henry Dexter in 1842, an example of which, dated 1850, is in the collection of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston.
This later example, carved in 1871, is from the ex-collection of the Lyman School for Boys in Westborough, a reform school Lyman founded and supported liberally. He established himself further as a philanthropist by donating generously to the Massachusetts Horticultural Society. Both of these institutions ordered plaster busts of this portrait to commemorate their benefactor. Lyman was also an established political author.
Condition: Overall size is 23 x 16 x 10 inches.
Under UV examination, there is some fluorescence in areas where dirt has been absorbed into the marble over the years. No repairs were seen. Overall condition is good.
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