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Water Nymph and Bittern (Model for "William Rush Carving the Allegorical Figure of the Schuylkill River")

Thomas Eakins, American, 1844 - 1916

Made in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, United States, North and Central America


Pigmented wax, wood, muslin, wire, and nails

9 3/4 x 6 3/4 x 3 7/8 inches (24.8 x 17.1 x 9.8 cm)

Curatorial Department:
American Art

* Gallery 218, American Art, second floor (Provident National Bank Gallery)

Accession Number:

Credit Line:
Gift of Mrs. Thomas Eakins and Miss Mary Adeline Williams, 1929

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In one preparatory stage for the William Rush painting, Eakins made a series of wax figurines that could be studied from various points of view and in different lights. In addition to the wax models of the principal sculptures to be featured in the canvas—George Washington, The Schuylkill Freed, and Water Nymph and Bittern—he made a model of the nymph's head and, largest and most detailed of all, a portrait of Rush taken largely from the sculptor's 1822 self-portrait (now in the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts).

* Works in the collection are moved off view for many different reasons. Although gallery locations on the website are updated regularly, there is no guarantee that this object will be on display on the day of your visit.