Appletons' Cyclopædia of American Biography/Crawford, Thomas
CRAWFORD, Thomas, sculptor, b. in New York city, 22 March, 1814; d. in London, 16 Oct., 1857. He was of Irish parentage. Of his early years we only know that he was at school with Page, the artist, and that his proficiency in his studies was hindered by the exuberance of his fancy, which took form in drawings and carvings. His love of art led him, at the age of nineteen, to enter the studios of Frazer and Launitz, artists and artificers in marble, well known to the New York of that day. In 1834 he went abroad for the promotion of artistic studies, and took up his residence in Rome for life, as it proved. The celebrated sculptor, Thorwaldsen, became his master and friend. Under this fortunate guidance he devoted himself to the study both of the antique and of living models. His first ideal work was a group of “Orpheus and Cerberus,” executed in 1839, and purchased, some years later, for the Boston athenæum. This was followed by a succession of groups, single figures, and bas-reliefs, whose rapid production bore witness to the fertility as well as the versatility of his genius. Among these are “Adam and Eve” and a bust of Josiah Quincy, now in the Boston athenæum; “Hebe and Ganymede,” presented to the Boston art museum by Mr. C. C. Perkins, and a bronze statue of Beethoven, presented by the same gentleman to the Boston music hall; “Babes in the Wood,” in the Lenox library; “Mercury and Psyche”; “Flora,” now in the gallery of the late Mrs. A. T. Stewart; an Indian girl; “Dancing Jenny,” modelled from his own daughter; and a statue of James Otis, which adorns the chapel at Mount Auburn, Cambridge. In 1849, while on a visit to this country, he received from the state of Virginia an order for a monument to be erected in Richmond. He immediately returned to Rome and began the work, of which the design was a star of five rays, each one of these bearing a statue of some historic Virginian, Patrick Henry and Thomas Jefferson among the number. The work is surmounted by a plinth, on which stands an equestrian statue of Washington. These statues, modelled in Rome, were cast at the celebrated Munich foundry, where, as elsewhere, their merit was much appreciated. Mr. Crawford's most important works after these were ordered by the national government for the capitol at Washington. First among these was a marble pediment, bearing life-size figures symbolical of the progress of American civilization; next in order came a bronze figure of Liberty, which surmounts the dome; and last of these, and of his life-work, was a bronze door on which are modelled various scenes in the public life of Washington. Prominent among Mr. Crawford's works was also his statue of an Indian chief, much admired by the English sculptor Gibson, who proposed that a bronze copy of it should be retained in Rome as a lasting monument. Mr. Crawford's health failed under the pressure of the great public works here enumerated. In politics he was a liberal, in religion a Protestant, in character generous and kindly, and adverse to discords, professional or social. — His son, Francis Marion, author, b. in Bagni di Lucca, Italy, 2 Aug., 1854, passed his boyhood in Italy, but at twelve years of age was sent to St. Paul's school, Concord, Mass., and afterward studied at Carlsruhe, Heidelberg, and the university of Rome, where he spent two years. He then went to India, where he edited “The Indian Herald” at Allahabad, but in 1880 he returned to Italy, where he has since chiefly resided. Since 1885 his home has been in Sorrento. He has delivered several courses of lectures throughout the United States. He has published about thirty novels in the course of fifteen years, including “Mr. Isaacs” (New York, 1882); “Doctor Claudius” (1883); “A Roman Singer” (1884); “To Leeward” (1884); “An American Politician” (1885); “Zoroaster” (1885); “Tale of a Lonely Parish” (1886); “Saracinesca” (1886); “Marzio's Crucifix” (1887); “Paul Patoff” (1887); “With the Immortals” (1888); “ Santilario” (1889); “A Cigarette-maker's Romance” (1890); “The Witch of Prague” (1891); “Khalid” (1891); “Greifenstein” (1892); “Three Fates” (1892); “Don Orsino” (1892); “Marion Darche” (1893); “Children of the King” (1893); “Pietro Ghisleri” (1893); “Katherine Lauderdale” (1894); “Love in Idleness” (1894); “Casa Braccio” (1895); “Taquisara” (1896); and “Corleone” (1897).