Artist: William H. Rumney (American, Boston, Massachusetts 1837–1927 Boston, Massachusetts)
Date: ca. 1860
Medium: Pine, paint [?]
Dimensions: 78 x 29 x 19 in. (198.1 x 73.7 x 48.3 cm)
Credit Line: Purchase, Rogers Fund, The J. M. Kaplan Fund, Inc. and Mrs. Frederick A. Stoughton Gifts, Harris Brisbane Dick and Louis V. Bell Funds, 1978
Accession Number: 1978.57
The shipbuilder Daniel Dennis Kelly commissioned this sculpture of the late Andrew Jackson (1767–1845) from Rumney, his most talented figurehead carver, for his home in East Boston. Kelly was probably familiar with the two Jackson figureheads that adorned the United States frigate Constitution during and after Jackson’s presidency (1829–37); the ship’s name appears on the base of Rumney’s sculpture. Rumney carved the surface in broad planes, downplaying anatomical structure in favor of textural detail in areas such as the wavy hair and the ruffled shirt. The figure was painted white to simulate marble, aligning it with the classicizing garden sculptures popular at the time.