Little Ida

Artist: Charles Calverley (American, Albany, New York 1833–1914 Essex Fells, New Jersey)

Date: 1869; carved 1881

Medium: Marble

Dimensions: 17 x 13 in. (43.2 x 33 cm)

Classification: Sculpture

Credit Line: Gift of the sculptor through F. Byrne Ivy, 1904

Accession Number: 04.38.2


In a 1908 interview Calverley recalled the subject of this sensitive relief and the circumstances of its production. He met Ida at a summer hotel while she tended a boy whose portrait he was modeling, and noticed the "string of alabaster beads around her long neck, and large red ear-drops." The naturalistic influence of Erastus Dow Palmer, in whose Albany studio Calverley worked before relocating to New York in 1868, is suggested by the individualized treatment of the sitter’s African American features. The curls of hair escaping from her knotted turban, the unbuttoned collar, and the slight twist of the necklace add anecdotal touches.