Powers, Hiram

Powers, Hiram an American sculptor, son of a farmer, and the eighth of nine children, was born at Woodstock, Vt., July 29, 1805, and acquired the rudiments of education at a free district school. While still a boy, he went to Cincinnati, Ohio, where he became an apprentice to a clock-maker, and about the same time formed the acquaintance of a German sculptor, who taught him to model in plaster. Subsequently he was employed for several years making wax-figures, and fitting them with machinery, for the Cincinnati Museum, where his Infernal Regions horrified thousands of visitors. It is a hideous scene representing hell filled with terrific figures, moved by machinery, and acting the supposed agonies of the damned. In 1835 he went to Washington, where he executed the busts of several distinguished persons. By the aid of Mr. Nicholas Longworth, he went to Florence, Italy, in 1837, to continue his art-studies. He resided in that country until his death, which took place at Rome, June 27,1873. In 1838 Powers produced his statue of Eve, which excited the admiration of Thorwaldsen. His other works were of a secular character, but they gave him great renown. See H. F. Lee, Familiar Sketches of Sculpture and Sculptors (Boston, 1854, 2 vols. 12mo), vol. 2, ch. 27; Tuckerman, Book of the Artists, s.v.; Living Age, Oct. 1847.

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