Artist: Henry Kirke Brown (American, Leyden, Massachusetts 1814–1886 Newburgh, New York)

Date: 1850

Medium: Bronze

Dimensions: 20 x 12 x 8 in. (50.8 x 30.5 x 20.3 cm)

Classification: Sculpture

Credit Line: Purchase, Gifts in memory of James R. Graham, and Morris K. Jesup Fund, 1993

Accession Number: 1993.13


In the late 1840s Americans began to perfect the process of casting sculpture in bronze. As a result, small statuettes, modeled and, finally, cast in this country, were heralded as an affordable and democratic art form that symbolized independence from European materials and foundries. In 1849 the American Art-Union began distributing bronze sculptures to its subscribers in an annual lottery. Twenty examples of Filatrice (Italian for “spinner”), cast in Brown’s own Brooklyn foundry, were commissioned for that purpose.