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Lives of Girls Who Became Famous Sarah Knowles Bolton

Harriet G. Hosmer

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She was now in the midst of busy and successful work. Orders crowded upon her. Her "Sleeping Faun," which was exhibited at the Dublin Exhibition in 1865, was sold on the day of opening for five thousand dollars, to Sir Benjamin Guinness. Some discussion having arisen about the sale, he offered ten thousand, saying, that if money could buy it, he would possess it. Miss Hosmer, however, would receive only the five thousand. The faun is represented reclining against the trunk of a tree, partly draped in the spoils of a tiger. A little faun, with mischievous look, is binding the faun to the tree with the tiger-skin. The newspapers were enthusiastic about the work.

The London Times said: "In the groups of statues are many works of exquisite beauty, but there is one which at once arrests attention and extorts admiration. It is a curious fact that amid all the statues in this court, contributed by the natives of lands in which the fine arts were naturalized thousands of years ago, one of the finest should be the production of an American artist." The French Galignani said, "The gem of the classical school, in its nobler style of composition, is due to an American lady, Miss Hosmer." The London Art Journal said, "The works of Miss Hosmer, Hiram Powers, and others we might name, have placed American on a level with the best modern sculptors of Europe." This work was repeated for the Prince of Wales and for Lady Ashburton, of England.

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Not long ago I visited the studio of Miss Hosmer in the Via Margutta, at Rome, and saw her numerous works, many of them still unfinished. Here an arm seemed just reaching out from the rough block of marble; here a sweet face seemed like Pygmalion's statue, coming into life. In the centre of the studio was the "Siren Fountain," executed for Lady Marion Alford. A siren sits in the upper basin and sings to the music of her lute. Three little cupids sit on dolphins, and listen to her music.

For some years Miss Hosmer has been preparing a golden gateway for an art gallery at Ashridge Hall, England, ordered by Earl Brownlow. These gates, seventeen feet high, are covered with bas-reliefs representing the Air, Earth, and Sea. The twelve hours of the night show "Aeolus subduing the Winds," the "Descent of the Zephyrs," "Iris descending with the Dew," "Night rising with the Stars," "The Rising Moon," "The Hour's Sleep," "The Dreams Descend," "The Falling Star," "Phosphor and Hesper," "The Hours Wake," "Aurora Veils the Stars," and "Morning." More than eighty figures are in the nineteen bas-reliefs. Miss Hosmer has done other important works, among them a statue of the beautiful Queen of Naples, who was a frequent visitor to the artist's studio, and several well-known monuments. With her girlish fondness for machinery, she has given much thought to mechanics in these later years, striving to find, like many another, the secret of producing perpetual motion. She spends much of her time now in England. She is still passionately fond of riding, the Empress of Austria, who owns more horses than any woman in the world, declaring "that there was nothing she looked forward to with more interest in Rome, than to see Miss Hosmer ride."

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Lives of Girls Who Became Famous
Sarah Knowles Bolton

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