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Henry Clay / Thomas Ball

Gallery Label

Henry Clay was a famed orator, U.S. Senator from Kentucky and ally of Daniel Webster. Thomas Ball made this work as a companion to his Daniel Webster (0826.93) and sold the patent to the art dealer George Nichols for $500 who turned to the Ames Manufacturing Company for production. Note the subtle texturing of his coat made with files after casting at the foundry to suggest cloth. The medium brown patina made by chemical treatment of the metal surface is in contrast to the applied tinted lacquer patinas on the Webster cast that were more typical of the mid-nineteenth century. Other casts of Clay do not have textured cloth patterns. Perhaps this was done as a special request and not directed by the artist. By 1858 the Ames Manufacturing Company seems to have stopped numbering casts as there are no known numbered casts of Henry Clay.

From the exhibition:Frontier to Foundry: the Making of Small Bronze Sculpture in the Gilcrease Collection, December 2014 - March 2015.
Ann Boulto

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Title(s): 
Henry Clay
Creator(s): 
Thomas Ball;
Ames Manufacturing Company
Culture: 
American
Date: 
modeled 1858; sand cast mid-19th century - late 19th century
Materials/Techniques: 
sand cast in bronze
Classification: 
Object Type: 
Accession No: 
0826.94
Previous Number(s): 
30290
Department: 
Signed, "T. Ball Sculpt. Boston 1858" on lower back of drapery on sculpture; Inscribed, "PATENT assigned to G.W. Nichols" on back of base.
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