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Henry Clay / Thomas Ball

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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 Boulton Young, Associate Conservator for the Gilcrease Museum, 2014.

Henry Clay (1777-1852) was a significant American politician in the early 19th century. Known informally as “Harry of the West,” Clay was one of the most prominent Whig politicians, and, as such, one of the democrat Andrew Jackson’s chief opponents. In his role as a United States senator, he technically disagreed with Indian removal, but his private attitudes toward Native Americans were largely negative.

From the exhibition: After Removal: Rebuilding the Cherokee Nation, August 25, 2017 - January 21, 2018.
Curated by Dr. Duane King & Dr. Natalie Panther, 2017.

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Henry Clay
Thomas Ball (Artist)
Ames Manufacturing Company (Foundry)
modeled 1858; sand cast mid-19th century - late 19th century
sand cast in bronze
Object Type: 
Accession No: 
Previous Number(s): 
0826.94; 30290
Not On View

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