Powers, Hiram

BORN 29 Jun 1805, Woodstock, Vermont - DIED 27 Jun 1873, Firenze, Toscana
GRAVE LOCATION Firenze, Toscana: Cimitero Degli Inglesi, Piazzale Donatello, 38 (E15D (tomb 1220))

Hiram Powers was the son of a farmer. In 1818 his father moved to Ohio and he went to school in Cincinnati. At 17 he became assistant to clockmaker Luman Watson. From 1826 onwards he visited the studio of Frederick Eckstein and developed a passion for sculpture. He was employed by the Western Museum that was kept by the naturalist Joseph Dorfeuille. Fanny Trollope gave him the idea to model scenes from Dante's Commedia in waxworks for the museum and this was a great success.

In 1834 he went to Washington DC and in 1837 he settled in Florence in Italy, where he stayed for his health. He was economically successfull with his portrait busts, but he also made life-size full figure sculptures. "The Greek Slave" (1843) made him famous. It toured the US (1847) was exhibited at the Crystal Palace in London (1851) and became a symbol for the anti-slavery movement.

In 1851 he became an Associate Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 1851. He became a teacher at the Florence Accademia and he died in Florence in 1873.

Related persons
• made a sculpture of Franklin, Benjamin
• was discovered by Trollope, Frances


The grave of Hiram Powers at the Cimitero Degli Inglesi, Firenze.
Picture by Androom (03 Feb 2011)


Hiram Powers - Wikipedia

Pozzi, Catherine

Published: 05 May 2018
Last update: 08 Mar 2022