Mourning Victory from the Melvin Memorial

Artist: Daniel Chester French (American, Exeter, New Hampshire 1850–1931 Stockbridge, Massachusetts)

Date: 1906–8, carved 1912–15

Medium: Marble

Dimensions: 120 1/2 x 57 1/4 x 28 3/4 in. (306.1 x 145.4 x 73 cm)

Classification: Sculpture

Credit Line: Gift of James C. Melvin, 1912

Accession Number: 15.75


By 1897, the Boston businessman James C. Melvin had commissioned a funerary monument from French to honor his three brothers who had died in the Civil War. The original marble memorial was erected in 1908 at Sleepy Hollow Cemetery in Concord, Massachusetts. Four years later, Melvin presented the Metropolitan with the funds to have this replica carved. The massive figure of Mourning Victory emerges from the block of stone projecting two moods: melancholy, in her downcast eyes and somber expression, and triumph, in the American flag and laurel she holds high. French captured the sense of calm after the storm of battle, which must have referred to the pride, after the sorrow of grieving, felt by the surviving brother.