17 1/2 x 12 5/16 x 8 9/16 in. (44.4 x 31.3 x 21.8 cm)
In 1832 the Boston merchant Samuel Cabot and his wife Eliza Perkins took the Grand Tour of Europe; their purpose was to see the great treasures of the Continent, but they were also mourning the recent death of their daughter Susan Copley Cabot. That loss almost certainly lent some urgency to a natural desire to have images of their remaining children. To that end, they commissioned Horatio Greenough, the best-known expatriate American sculptor in Italy at the time, to model the children’s portraits, including this one of their ten-year-old daughter Eliza. The bust shows Greenough’s grasp of the neoclassical ideal: it is both an earnest attempt at recognizable likeness and a study in cool restraint.
Photograph by Jerry L. Thompson for the Boston Athenæum.