signed and dated: W.M.H. RINEHART SCULPT. 1868 white marble, on a white marble socle
measurements note overall: 74.5cm., 29¼in.
William Rinehart was Maryland's favourite sculptor, noted for classicising, but highly personalised portrait busts, and several major national commissions. In the final decade of his career Rinehart's busts were so popular among the American mercantile elite that sitters often had to wait three years to be immortalised in marble.
The young Rinehart was first apprenticed at a quarry on the family farm before he moved on to Baltimore's largest marble yard. There his talent was noticed by local businessmen like William T. Walters, who went on to promote Rinehart's career at home. A first trip to Italy in 1855 ended early when the young sculptor felt his talents overshadowed by established competitors such as Hiram Powers and Thomas Ball. However, in a second attempt, Rinehart set up a Roman studio in 1859: it became one of the major Grand Tour attractions.