Larkin Goldsmith Mead American
Idealized representations of geographic locales—cities, countries, and continents—were particularly appealing to nineteenth-century Americans. This allegorical bust may be a wedding portrait: Mead not only honors his new wife, whom he met in Venice, but also offers a tribute to the city traditionally known as the Bride of the Sea. The figure wears a tiara of beads and a central scallop shell that features a small gondola. She emerges from a textured sea-foam bodice referencing Venice’s water setting. Mead worked in Florence for more than half a century, relying on Italian materials and labor to create sculptures for the American market.