Американская «мадам Тюссо»
Sculpture has always been a purely masculine matter. However, history has known a number of women’s names in this art. One of them is Patience Lowell Wright (1725–1786). She molded her figures out of wax since childhood. After the death of her husband,to earn a living for herself and her children, she turned a hobby into a job. In the 17th century, the activities of professional sculptors in America were limited to the production of tombstones and nose pieces for ships. Patience’s sister showed how to model life-size figures. Patience decided to specialize in creating images of outstanding contemporaries. In short, a traveling exhibition (the first in the US) of figures of famous public figures was created. Two years later, the number of figures was enough to organize two permanent exhibitions in Philadelphia and New York. But on June 3, 1771, a fire destroyed many of her works and she decided to move to London. Owing to the patronage of Benjamin Franklin, she was quickly accepted into London society. She made many famous British figures including Th. Penn, Ch. Fox, W. Pitt, C. Macaulay. She had a friendly relationship even with the royal couple, but only before the start of the Independence War. The sculptor openly sided with the colonists. It is believed that she even sent spy information,hidden in her figures, to the members of the Continental Congress. Another sphere of Wright’s activities was the liberation of American prisoners that started with the “Platt Case”. After the struggle for independence resulted in an open conflict, Wright’s business declined sharply. Left without a job in 1780, she went to Paris, hoping to open a new wax studio. By making a bust of Franklin, she tried to find a way to Parisian society, but failed. In 1782, she returned to London and began writing to American leaders, including G. Washington and Th. Jefferson, for permission to make their models. By 1785, she decided to return to New Jersey. However, when preparing for the departure, she fell and broke her leg. A week later, on March 23, 1786, she died. Her sister Rachel was trying to get financial assistance from prominent Americans and the Continental Congress to pay for her burial, but to no avail. Ultimately, P. Wright was buried in London, and her place of burial is unknown now.