"Harriet Hosmer – Charlotte Cushman," Coleman's Rural World, Aug 15, 1868

Dublin Core


"Harriet Hosmer – Charlotte Cushman," Coleman's Rural World, Aug 15, 1868


Hosmer, Harriet Goodhue, 1830-1908
Cushman, Charlotte Saunders, 1816-1876
Artists--Sculptors--US American
Intimacy--With Subjects
Social Events--Studio Visits


An admirer describes Hosmer's studio and her works as well as Charlotte Cushman's home as a location of frequent gatherings.
The article is followed by a poem from Eliza Cook about how to "make your home beautiful."


Norman J. Colman





Article Item Type Metadata


Harriet Hosmer – Charlotte Cushman.
A correspondent of the Chicagoan writes from Rome: Miss Hosmer's studio is the prettiest in Rome. The little entrance court, with its beautiful flowers and singing canaries, is a delightful change from the hot, dusty streets. When we went in it was her reception day, and she was showing to some strangers the fountain in the centre of the first room. Below, in the basin, three charming little fellows are bestriding dolphins, lying on the broad leaves of aquatic plants. They are fascinated by the music, and one has his dimpled hand at his ear, listening intently, when the waterspouts from the shells above. Miss Hosmer has a peculiar mode of tinting the marble. I think she must have caught the better part of Gibson's idea, for she does not give it a flesh color, but a bright creamy tint, which adds greatly to the expression of the statue, and seems like the true color of old marble. She spoke of this, and said, pointing to the fountain, "all these babes have got to be washed before they go away." Miss Hosmer has a very vivacious manner, a little abrupt and very decided, and when she speaks, in clear, ringing tones, in moments when you or she have just said something that pleases her, her expression and manner are exceedingly charming, and her laugh, which came often while we were there, is one of the most musical I have heard. She wore a little velvet cap, which reminded me of Raphael's. In the same room with the fountain is a fine copy of her " Puck." She has a mate for him in her later " Will-o'-the-Wisp," or at least a comrade, but the latter is not quite so bewitching. But the glory of her room is a head of Medusa." I have always thought that to fulfil the true idea of the old myth, "Medusa" should be wonderfully beautiful,'' but I never saw one so before. This is the head of a lovely girl, her rich hair kept back by a fillet from the noble forehead seems at first to recede in waves ; when you see that these waves terminate in serpents, it strikes you with no feeling of repul - sion. The face, whose eyes look upward, is full of glorious sadness to which the serpents add an idea of mystery and gloom, which makes the beauty more fascinating and thrilling; and the folded wings which come down over the hair on each side of the face give an air of ma - jesty to the head which enhances the effect. It was hard for me to look away from the statue; if long gazing would have turned one to stone, the old tradition would have been fulfilled. In the neighboring room was a full length, and several busts, of the stately " Zenobia," whom you doubtless saw in Chicago a few years ago. Miss Hosmer asked us into her inner room where she herself works. Just beyond the entrance stands the work on which she is now engaged " The Waking Faun." It is the sequel to the lovely "Sleeping Faun," which was ex - hibited at Paris. "The Waking Faun" is yet only clay, and is duly undergoing the molding of the sculptor's hand. I was to see it in this form, as it shows one how entirely the whole expression of the statue is due to the sculptor himself, and how mechanical is the work which the chisel afterwards performs. Miss Hosmer played upon it with a hose, as we went in, saying: " I think sprinkling improves his expression." Here the – "Waking Faun" has caught the offender in the act, with one hand grasping the little mischief by the hair, is bending back his head and looking in his face, with a countenance into whose sweetness and good humor he tries in vain to introduce a look of sternness. "You see he takes it cooly," said Miss Hosmer. "Fauns, don't get angry, you know. I should be ashamed to tell you how long I have been on that statue but no, I shouldn't. Mr. Gibson used to say, when I was in his studio, and work - ing so long on that ' Medusa' – 'Nobody asks you how long you have been on a thing but fools, and you don't care what they think." Miss Cushman, whose beautiful house opens wide its hospitable doors to her countrymen here, is very much like her friend, Miss Hosmer, in manner. Miss Cushman's Saturday reception seems to assemble the pleasantest elements of artistic and social life in Rome. She herself is a host in entertaining her guests; her singing is something peculiar and characteristic; it is intensely dramatic, and impresses one powerfully. Her singing of Kingsley's, "Mary, go on and call cattle home," is something I shall never forget. One holds his breath and shivers as she brings out "the cruel foam the hungry, crawling foam."


"Harriet Hosmer—Charlotte Cushman.", Colman's Rural World. August 15, 1868. 108-1080.


St. Louis, MO, US

Geocode (Latitude)


Geocode (Longitude)


Social Bookmarking




“"Harriet Hosmer – Charlotte Cushman," Coleman's Rural World, Aug 15, 1868,” Archival Gossip Collection, accessed July 15, 2024, https://archivalgossip.com/collection/items/show/405.

Output Formats