Bust of John Locke
- Made in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, United States
- 10 1/2 x 6 1/4 x 3 1/4 in. (26.7 x 15.9 x 8.3 cm)
- Credit Line:
- Gift of Bernard and S. Dean Levy, Inc., New York City, in honor of Bernard Levy, 1992
- Accession Number:
The placement of busts of learned men in libraries is a tradition that dates from antiquity and proliferated in eighteenth-century Philadelphia. The likeness of the English philosopher John Locke (1632–1704) was a preferred subject that often ornamented the pediment tops of desks and bookcases. This example has a distinct naturalism in the sculpting of the philosopher’s features that may have been inspired by well-known prints. Americans esteemed Locke for his philosophies that endorsed individual conscience, religious tolerance, and the defense of democracy. Locke’s theories were fundamental to the thinking of American Revolutionaries, especially the authors of the Declaration of Independence.