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 Solomon Willard  (1783 - 1861)

About: Solomon Willard


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Lived/Active: Massachusetts      Known for: sculptor-monument and figurehead

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This biography from the Archives of AskART:
Famous as the architect of the Bunker Hill Monument, Solomon Willard was born in Petersham, Massachusetts and settled in Boston where he became a noted carver of figureheads and sculptor of monuments. He is also significant for his discovery of the Quincy granite quarries and the inventing of the machinery to cut and handle the slabs of stone.

As a young man, Willard moved to Boston where he trained with his father as a carpenter and carved architectural capitals for meetinghouses near the Boston Common. In 1810, he carved a wooden eagle five feet wide and over sixty feet high for the old Custom House, and by 1813, he was carving ship figureheads including for the Salem brig "Caravan." He also did a bust of George Washington.

In 1817, he went to Richmond, Virginia with the idea of studying Houdon's bust of Washington and designed his own clay model. But the model was destroyed accidentally, which ended his plans to do the work in marble.

Willard and a colleague Alpheus Cary (1810-1868) collaborated on the stonework of Saint Paul's Church in Boston, with Willard doing the capitals. However, money ran out, so the project had to be abandoned. He worked on the Bunker Hill Monument project from 1825-1842.

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