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 Paul Winters Morris  (1865 - 1916)

About: Paul Winters Morris
 

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Lived/Active: Connecticut/Illinois      Known for: portrait bust sculpture

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This biography from the Archives of AskART:
Little is known of the career of sculptor Paul Winters Morris (1865-1916), other than that he studied under the nationally known sculptor Augustus Saint-Gaudens in New York City and was also under the tutelage of Daniel Chester French. He was born and educated in Bridgeport, Connecticut the son of Mr. and Mrs. William Morris who lived at the corner of Noble and East Washington Avenues; his sister was Mrs. William T. Hincks of Bridgeport. Morris was named by the will of Harriet Adelaide Perry, widow of William Hunt Perry, who had been a neighbor, to design the triumphal arch which she presented to the city in memory of her husband. (See Historic Resources Inventory form for Perry Memorial Arch in Seaside Park, Connecticut Historic Municipal Parks Survey, 1995.) He declined the commission on grounds that he was a sculptor, not an architect; it would have been the largest work of his lifetime.

Morris is known for his busts of Abraham Lincoln.  He also produced a bronze plaque, cast by Henry Bonnard Bronze Company of New York, showing a profile of Lincoln, the log cabin he was born in, as well as the White House capitol dome.  These bronzes are inscribed on the rim with the words “Lincoln Dinner” and are dated on the verso with the year 1900 and signed as “Paul W. Morris Sc.”  One might surmise that these plaques were produced in large numbers and subsequently presented to guests attending the Lincoln Dinner.

The sculptor also produced the Pro-Patria bronze monument at Mountain Grove Cemetery in his home town of Bridgeport, Connecticut.  The Pro-Patria monument is significant historically because it memorializes Bridgeport's contribution to the Civil War in a monument raised by the city's Grand Army of the Republic post with State of Connecticut financial support. The G.A.R. post was named for Elias Howe, Jr., inventor of the sewing machine and prominent Bridgeport industrialist. Howe served in the army from August 14, 1862, to July 19, 1865, the entire time as a private. The State of Connecticut provided financial support for erection of Civil War monuments in the first decade of the 20th century.

Morris is also responsible for a large bronze tablet that was once on exhibition at Tiffany’s, New York, the gift of the people of Olympia and the State of Washington to Admiral Dewey’s flagship.  It was modeled by Morris and the work was done in Mr. French’s studio at Glendale, Massachusetts.  The panel commemorates the battle of Manilla.  It is some seven feet high and portrays in bold relief a fine female figure typifying Victory. In her outstretched hands she holds a wide scroll which reads:  “Gridley, You May Fire When Ready,” Admiral Dewey’s historic words to the captain of the Olympia just before the battle opened. 

The work is commended for its simplicity and dignity.  On either side of the figure is this inscription:  “From the citizens of Olympia and State of Washington greeting of Olympia to her namesake.”  It is signed by both Paul W. Morris and Daniel C. French as a compromise with the Olympia committee who persistently desired that Mr. French should do the work, but whose commissions compelled him to decline.

 
Written and submitted by Mike Parker, a collector of antique bronze sculptures. His source was the website of the Connecticut Historical Society, www.chs.org

 


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