Volume 20, Issue 1 | Spring 2021

Mobility, Meaning, and the Monumental Body: The Italian Origin of Two North American Cemetery Motifs

by Elisabeth L. Roark

In a large, nearly empty family lot in Magnolia Cemetery in Charleston, South Carolina, a weather-worn marble sculpture of a seated young girl marks the grave of Eliza Barnwell Heyward, who died in 1871 at age twenty-one of cerebritis, an infection of the brain (fig. 1). That the marker is a sculpture of a young girl is not noteworthy; this was a recurring motif in nineteenth-century North America’s grand “rural” cemeteries like Magnolia. What distinguishes Eliza Heyward’s marker is that the girl is older than is typical for cemetery sculptures of children, appearing around age ten to twelve, and, more importantly, that she is entirely nude (fig. 2). Nudity is rare in nineteenth-century cemetery sculpture for all except the very young, such as the numberless images of sleeping babies on the graves of those who died in infancy.

figure 1
Fig. 1, A. F. Chevreux (base) and studio of Luigi Pampaloni (figure), Eliza Barnwell Heyward Monument, ca. 1871. Marble and granite. Magnolia Cemetery, Charleston. Image courtesy of the author.
figure 2
Fig. 2, Studio of Luigi Pampaloni, Eliza Barnwell Heyward Monument (detail), ca. 1871. Marble. Magnolia Cemetery, Charleston. Image courtesy of the author.

Another unusual feature of the Heyward monument is the prominent signature “A. F. Chevreux” in the center of its base. Signed cemetery monuments are also rare and, when they occur, makers’ signatures routinely appear unobtrusively at the ground line. Chevreux’s conspicuous signature would seem to suggest that he carved the sculpture and took pride in this work. Nearly half a dozen monuments in South Carolina with Chevreux signatures indicate that he was an accomplished stonecutter. But none suggest that he had the skill necessary to carve a life-size figure. All feature decorative motifs, with the exception of one small thick-limbed angel carved in relief.‍[1] In contrast, the sculpture of the nude girl is comparable in quality and subject to midcentury French and Italian academic sculpture. Even in its current condition, the accurate musculature and proportions, firm skin, emotion-laden facial expression, and relaxed pose identify it as the work of an artist with full command of the representation of human form.

figure 3
Fig. 3, Luigi Pampaloni, L’Orfanella (The Orphan Girl), ca. 1838–40. Plaster. Galleria dell’Accademia, Florence. Artwork in the public domain; image courtesy of Gallerie degli Uffizi.

Further research reveals that the prototype for the seated girl was a work by Luigi Pampaloni (1791–1847), an acclaimed Florentine sculptor of the first half of the nineteenth century who has received little attention in English-language scholarship.‍[2] Florence’s Galleria dell’Accademia, best known as the home of Michelangelo’s David, features a room with dozens of plaster casts by Pampaloni and his master, Lorenzo Bartolini (1777–1850), the city’s most revered sculptor at the time. Among them is a cast titled L’Orfanella (The Orphan Girl) that closely resembles Heyward’s monument (fig. 3).‍[3] An online search for Pampaloni’s work reveals additional copies of L’Orfanella in marble, plaster, and ceramic, including a plaster cast with point marks, suggesting that Pampaloni’s studio produced multiple versions, not unusual in the case of popular academic sculpture in this period.‍[4]

All this raises an intriguing question: did Chevreux really carve this figure and, if not, how and why did a copy of a sculpture created in Italy end up in such a distinct and distant context, a rural cemetery in Charleston? The questions do not end there. L’Orfanella is the companion piece of L’Orfano (The Orphan Boy), by the same Pampaloni, with a plaster cast next to L’Orfanella at the Accademia (fig. 4).‍[5] It depicts a younger male child, also nude, whose left knee rests on a pillow and whose right knee is bent, supporting his praying hands. Like L’Orfanella, his head and eyes are turned upward. Unlike L’Orfanella, L’Orfano is instantly recognizable to anyone familiar with popular nineteenth-century sculpture or who frequents cemeteries. Multiple versions are in museums and mark graves with death dates that span the 1850s through the 1930s (fig. 5). Why, if they emerged from the same milieu, is the sculpture on Eliza Heyward’s grave the only known copy of L’Orfanella in a US cemetery while the artist’s L’Orfano was the model for one of the American rural cemeteries’ best-known figural motifs?‍[6]

figure 4
Fig. 4, Luigi Pampaloni, L’Orfano (The Orphan Boy), 1826. Plaster. Galleria dell’Accademia, Florence. Artwork in the public domain; image courtesy of Gallerie degli Uffizi.
figure 5
Fig. 5, Unknown artist, Leopold Morse Jr. Monument, ca. 1869. Marble and granite. Mount Auburn Cemetery, Cambridge. Photograph by Jennifer J. Johnson; image courtesy of Mount Auburn Cemetery.

This study argues that the mobility of nineteenth-century academic sculpture could produce radical shifts in meaning. An in-depth study of L’Orfanella and L’Orfano, two sculptures that were conceived and so titled in Florence, as well as copies of these sculptures that ended up in North America’s rural cemeteries, reveals how the meaning of these sculptures at the time of their creation was lost when they came to the US, where they were given new meanings by those who selected them to mark the graves of loved ones. What these new meanings were will be established by considering the grave sculptures in several underexamined contexts, including the role of figural sculpture in memorialization in North American rural cemeteries; the interrelations of the artists, the stonecutters, and the marble-carving businesses responsible for the monuments; and the grave markers’ role in the living community as embodiments of the deceased, eliding the boundaries between life and death.

This study begins with a brief introduction to the context of the North American memorial sculptures: the “rural” or garden cemetery, first established at Mount Auburn Cemetery, Cambridge, Massachusetts, in 1831. It will then zoom in on Magnolia Cemetery, the exceptional Heyward monument, the study’s focal point, and its carver, A. F. Chevreux. The monument is unusual not only for the reasons noted above but also because we know more about its creators, commission, and whom it memorializes than is typical for nineteenth-century grave markers, particularly those for women. The background and meaning of the Heyward monument’s prototype, Pampaloni’s L’Orfanella, are then examined, along with its relationship to the sculptor’s better-known L’Orfano, to detail the origins of L’Orfano in Italy and popularity throughout Europe and the US and to correct misconceptions that have negatively shaped perceptions of it. The final sections focus on how attitudes toward nudity, age, and gender can help explain why Magnolia’s sculpture is unique and suggest why Eliza’s family selected it as her memorial.

The Rural Cemetery Movement

The rural cemetery movement transformed North American burial practice. With the growth of American cities, urban burial grounds became notorious for overcrowding and desecration, and feared for their presumed role in the transmission of disease. Founders of the movement advocated burial grounds be placed at the edges of cities, hence their description as “rural.” Graves were to be set in English-style picturesque gardens that formed a deliberate contrast with the grid of city streets and the often-haphazard arrangement of urban burial grounds. The first rural cemeteries, including Mount Auburn (1831), Laurel Hill in Philadelphia (1836), and Green-Wood in Brooklyn (1838), feature winding pathways, bodies of water, varied terrain and plantings, and a comparatively vast scale, allowing space for large and striking monuments. The cemeteries’ names indicate the Romantic emphasis on nature that was at their foundation. As North America’s first large-scale green spaces designed for the public, the new cemeteries were visited by residents and tourists who flocked there to commune with nature and interact with the monuments. For many, rural cemetery monuments were the first marble sculpture they had ever encountered.‍[7] Before 1850, reformers had founded rural cemeteries in most northeastern and some midwestern cities, but by the middle of the century the movement had spread to the South and West.

Magnolia Cemetery was founded in 1849 and dedicated in 1850. The impetus behind its founding was the same as in other urban areas: the desire to reform burial practices, in part for the sake of public health (Charleston regularly had devastating yellow fever epidemics blamed on “miasma” from overcrowded burial grounds), and changing attitudes toward nature and death, a result of Romanticism. Distinguishing Charleston’s rural cemetery initiative from other cities’ was the power of its urban churches, which maintained churchyards filled with elite burials. They rejected the notion that crowded burial grounds spread disease, challenging city officials’ attempts to prohibit inner-city internments. The endurance of urban cemeteries slowed Magnolia’s progress and in the beginning it failed to become the repository of community memory as the founders had intended. Indeed, it did not become the preeminent Charleston burial ground until after the Civil War, when the internment and commemoration of Confederate soldiers attracted attention and many of Charleston’s elite, like the Heywards, selected Magnolia for their final resting place.‍[8]

figure 6
Fig. 6, Fencing, n.d. Cast iron. Magnolia Cemetery, Charleston. Image courtesy of the author.

Magnolia shares with its northeastern counterparts its spectacular views—of the Cooper River, its adjacent salt marshes, and diverse monuments. It also shares elaborate landscaping, with serpentine walkways, bodies of water, and rich plantings. In 1857, the author of an article on Charleston in Harper’s New Monthly Magazine wrote, “The natural beauties of the site which the Magnolia Cemetery occupies have been very happily brought out, and Art and Nature seem to have united their forces to make appropriate to the purpose, and grateful to the sentiment, this last lodging place of humanity.”‍[9] Magnolia differs from rural cemeteries in the northeast in the nature of its plantings (live oak with Spanish moss, palmetto, and, of course, magnolia trees), and its flat profile because only low-lying land surrounds the port city. Like all rural cemeteries, Magnolia prioritized large family lots, with less space dedicated to single graves. Some lots are still surrounded by the cast-iron fencing or stone curbing once found in all rural cemeteries but that was later removed by most for ease of care (fig. 6). Magnolia’s monuments also share the odd status of all cemetery markers as both private and public works of art, selected by the deceased or their family and often highly emotional and personal, yet accessible to the most casual cemetery visitor.

The Eliza Barnwell Heyward Monument and A. F. Chevreux

figure 7
Fig. 7, Heyward lot, ca. 1871. Marble and Granite. Magnolia Cemetery, Charleston. Image courtesy of Patrick Harwood.

At Magnolia, the Eliza Barnwell Heyward monument is the centerpiece of a large lot surrounded by stone curbing with “D. Heyward,” for Eliza’s father Daniel Heyward, carved at the lot’s entrance (fig. 7). The name and the lot’s size suggest that it was intended as a family lot. Large family lots were promoted by rural cemetery administrators primarily for economic reasons but also because they allowed sizable monuments, unlike urban churchyards. This appealed to the wealthy and status conscious. Heyward purchased the lot only two days after Eliza’s death, on July 14, 1871, and two months after the deaths of two of Eliza’s eight siblings. It implies, by its scale, a desire to unite the family in death through dis-internments and reburials (another four of Eliza’s siblings and her mother also pre-deceased her)—a common practice at the time—and future burials. This project, if it existed, was never realized, however; today the lot contains only four later burials, three are located behind Eliza’s monument and the fourth, to its right front, is the only member of Eliza’s immediate family, her sister Mary, who died of dementia in 1898. A niece and namesake, Eliza Barnwell Hanckel, who died of diphtheria at age thirteen in 1879, was the first burial after Eliza Heyward; her small marker is directly behind the monument. Her burial was the only other to take place during Daniel Heyward’s lifetime. The rest of the immediate family, including her father, are buried elsewhere.‍[10]

Eliza Heyward’s family was among Charleston’s so-called “influentials”—the wealthy class of planters and politicians whose roots went back to Charleston’s earliest decades in the late seventeenth century. Best known of the Heyward line is Thomas Heyward Jr. (1746–1809), a signer of the Declaration of Independence and George Washington’s host during his visit to Charleston in 1791 (his home, known as the Heyward-Washington House, is a historic house museum today). The intermarriage of Charleston’s prominent families, such as the Heywards, Barnwells, Middletons, Mileses, and Manigaults, and the reuse of first names and last names as middle names make it difficult for a non-genealogist to tease out Eliza’s relationship to the signer, but it appears she may have been a great- or great-great-niece. Daniel Heyward (1810–88), son of William Miles Heyward (1763–1809) and Charlotte Manby Villeponteux (1773–1844), was one of the area’s leading rice planters, owning the plantation-home Heyward Hall, 1,700 acres on the Pocotaligo River, and 129 enslaved people in 1850, the year after Eliza’s birth. Daniel married Anne Matilda Bull Maxcy in 1833. Eliza was the eighth of their nine children. Anne died in 1851 at age thirty-eight, when Eliza was three years old. Probably because of Eliza’s early death, few existing documents about her have surfaced, although her name appears several times in letters from an aunt written in the 1850s and ’60s, chiefly about her visits with the aunt’s family.‍[11] Cerebritis, listed by Magnolia Cemetery as Eliza’s cause of death, is an inflammation of the brain caused by an infection or disease and is often a symptom of lupus. If this was Eliza’s case, she may have been ill for some time before her death.

figure 8
Fig. 8, Unknown artist, Seated girl, n.d. Marble. Green Mount Cemetery, Baltimore. Image courtesy of the author.

The Heyward lot’s emptiness and the placement of the monument directly across from its entrance lends it an air of prominence, which is heightened by the size of the monument and its unusual sculpture of a nude girl. Images of nude babies, typically represented lying on their sides as if asleep, are common on graves of the very young.‍[12] Sculptures of older children, beyond infancy but well before puberty, are also not unusual. One midcentury sculpture found in multiple versions in the rural cemeteries makes for an effective comparison with Eliza Heyward’s sculpture. It depicts a young girl appearing about age six, seated and cradling a cross surmounted by an Easter lily (fig. 8). Her legs crossed at the ankles and her head inclined forward, she is dressed in a loose shift with one shoulder exposed. In contrast, Eliza’s monument features a girl who is fully nude and appears to be on the cusp of puberty. Her limbs are longer, her head is smaller in proportion to her body, and her breasts are budding. Her weight is born on her right hip so that her legs, folded beneath her, extend to her left—a relaxed, asymmetrical pose. The hips’ angle creates an opposing shift in her shoulders and a crease in her left side above a slightly rounded belly. Her hands are clasped and rest on her right thigh, her left arm covers her genitals, and in the left hand she holds a plant identified as either a cypress or olive branch (today it is too worn to tell).‍[13] Her head is upturned, as are her eyes, and her mouth is slightly open.

The sculpture sits on an oval cylindrical base with an inscription in raised letters on the front that reads “IN MEMORY OF / MISS ELIZA BARNWELL HEYWARD / DAUGHTER OF DANIEL HEYWARD / AND MRS. ANNE B. HEYWARD / BORN 29TH SEPTEMBER 1849 / DIED 12TH JULY 1871.” On the base’s back, her nickname, Lila, and last name appears at the top, followed by a few lines from the beginning of Psalm 23, “The Lord is my shepherd. . . .”

figure 9
Fig. 9, A. F. Chevreux, Signature on right front corner post of curbing, ca. 1871. Marble. Heyward lot, Magnolia Cemetery, Charleston. Image courtesy of Patrick Harwood.

The signature “A. F. Chevreux” appears not only on Eliza’s monument but also on the right front corner post of the lot’s curbing, indicating that Daniel Heyward commissioned Chevreux to create both, most likely shortly after Eliza’s death and the lot’s purchase (fig. 9). As noted, the prominent signatures may imply pride, but more practically they acted as advertisements. Charleston had a thriving and competitive stone-carving trade, discussed in more detail below. Magnolia was the city’s first large green space designed for the public, visited by residents as well as tourists. It was a logical place for Chevreux to promote his work.

August F. Chevreux was born in France in 1828 or 1829. He may have apprenticed with his father, also a sculptor, after whom he was named.‍[14] Chevreux probably immigrated to Charleston in the 1850s (shortly after Magnolia Cemetery opened), perhaps attracted by its flourishing stoneworking trade and the significant number of city residents who were of French ancestry. His name first appears in a local newspaper in 1860, as the proponent of a design for the John C. Calhoun monument, but not again or frequently until 1865 and after. By April 1865, the Civil War had ended and Charleston was anticipating a building boom to replace the many structures lost in the war. Advertisements describe Chevreux as a sculptor and architect.

Newspaper notices documenting his career trajectory indicate that he initially joined Charleston’s leading stone-carving firms operated by the White and the Walker families, respectively. An 1860 article in The Charleston Mercury describes him as “a leading workman at the marble yard of Mr. William T. White. . . . a lapidary of high merit . . . in charge of the erection of various tasteful and handsome monuments.”‍[15] In 1865, an advertisement from White announced that he had returned to the city and was “CONTRACTING for all kinds of BUILDING WORK,” noting,

Mr. A. F. CHEVREUX . . . who is with me and just arrived from Paris, will give his special attention to all kinds of ORNAMENTAL WORK in Plaster, Papier Mache, &c., and Designing, Modeling for Machinists, and Carving in Wood or Stone, and would call the attention of Architects, Machinists, Builders, &c. Also, have on hand a large number of NEW MONUMENTAL DESIGNS.‍[16]

This suggests that Chevreux returned to France during the war. Although it is unclear whether he was responsible for the “new monumental designs,” it indicates that Chevreux was experienced in many mediums, specialized in decorative work, and was primed to participate in the city’s rebuilding and the accelerating demand for monuments after the war.

Two years later, Chevreux changed jobs. In a notice in the Charleston Daily News on February 1, 1867, under the heading “Copartnerships,” one reads: “I HAVE THIS DAY ASSOCIATED WITH ME IN THE MARBLE BUSINESS A. F. CHEVREUX. The business will hereafter be conducted in the name of D. A. WALKER & CO.” On March 11, 1867, D. A. Walker & Co. advertised, “MONUMENTS, TOMBS, HEAD STONES, ETC., ALWAYS on hand and made to order” at Meeting Street and the corner of Horlbeck’s Alley, signed by Walker and Chevreux.‍[17] David Walker was the son of Thomas Walker, a Scottish immigrant who began advertising as a stonecutter in Charleston in 1793. David Walker was also related to William T. White by marriage.‍[18]

Chevreux established his own firm by 1869 according to Charleston city directories and newspapers, in which he advertised as a sculptor and architect, located until at least 1872 at the same Meeting Street location as Walker & Co. Chevreux advertised outside Charleston as well; an 1870 ad from the Greenville Enterprise reads: “A. F. CHEVREUX, SCULPTOR AND ARCHITECT, MARBLE WORKS, Corner Meeting-St. and Horlbeck’s Alley, CHARLESTON, S. C. PLANS MADE TO ORDER, AND FREE OF CHARGE, WHEN WORK DONE BY ME,” suggesting he also created designs executed by other stonecutters.‍[19] In 1869, an article on Charleston’s new music academy notes Chevreux’s responsibility for its carvings.‍[20] The last newspaper account that documents his work in South Carolina is an article in the Intelligencer, of Anderson, on August 20, 1874, that describes “a beautiful monument, executed by Mr. A. F. Chevreux . . . [that] reflects great credit on the Sculptor. . . . above the inscription, the cross and crown are exquisitely carved. . . . the monument, in design and workmanship, reflects high credit upon Mr. Chevreux’s taste and skill.”‍[21]

With respect to the Heyward monument, the most relevant newspaper notice concerning Chevreux appeared in the Charleston Daily News on November 3, 1869, the year Chevreux established his own business and less than two years before Eliza’s death: “ITALIAN MONUMENTS.—Mr. A. F. Chevreux, stonecutter and architect, has imported direct from Italy some monuments made in that sunny clime, but from plans furnished by himself. The monuments arrived in the steamer Darien, and may be seen at the marble-yard in Meeting street.”‍[22] This shipment, or another of similar content, could have included Pampaloni’s sculpture, although this would put the lie to the statement that the monuments were “from plans furnished by himself” (not unlike the Heyward monument’s misleading signature). Although the origins of most cemetery sculpture are difficult to document, it was not uncommon for North American monument dealers to order marbles from Italy, particularly figural sculpture, due to the limited skills of most US carvers prior to the mass immigration of Italian stonecutters after 1880. My observations and what little research exists suggest a burgeoning trade in Italian memorial sculpture throughout the nineteenth century, not only with North America but with South America, other European entities (especially England), and Australia.‍[23] Chevreux probably ordered L’Orfanella on speculation, hoping that it would speak to grieving families who wished to memorialize their dead with distinctive and skillfully carved sculpture.

figure 10
Fig. 10, A. F. Chevreux, Workbook, 1881. Ink and pencil on lined paper. Mitchell Library, Sydney. Image courtesy of Anne-Maree Whitaker.

Chevreux left Charleston between 1876 and 1877. His fourteen-year-old son died in 1872 and he appears to have stopped advertising around that time.‍[24] Chevreux was in Sydney, Australia, by 1877. There, he worked as a subcontractor hired by monument firms. A workbook at the Mitchell Library in Sydney includes—in addition to Chevreux’s name, an address near Waverley Cemetery, and the date 1881—jottings in French and English, a draft of an order for sculptor’s tools, and, most importantly, a dozen drawings for monuments with notations of the firms he carved them for and fees charged (fig. 10). The workbook confirms that he was highly proficient at decorative work. However, none of the drawings are figural. Chevreux lived in Australia for about twenty-nine years and died there in 1906.‍[25] Although we do not know what exactly compelled him to leave Charleston, his moves to Charleston and Sydney suggest that he followed the market (two large cemeteries, Rookwood and Waverley, opened near Sydney in 1868 and 1877). In Australia, he seems to have been uninterested in maintaining his own shop, instead content to work for others. Discovering Chevreux’s signature on Eliza Heyward’s marker, although it may lead to confusion, illuminates the career of one of the many unknown sculptors whose work in US cemeteries is often overlooked due to its liminal status as art and offbeat location.

Pampaloni’s L’Orfanella and L’Orfano

It is likely that Chevreux knew nothing about the background of L’Orfanella when he ordered a version from Italy prior to July 1871. At this time, Pampaloni had been dead for more than twenty years, but well-known sculptors’ studios often continued to produce copies of works for sale even decades after their deaths.‍[26] Purchasing L’Orfanella was a brave choice for Chevreux, given the reception of the nude as a subject in North America. If it was among the sculptures that arrived in November 1869, it sat in his marble yard for more than a year and a half before the Heywards acquired it.

Pampaloni’s L’Orfanella began as a rather modest work in keeping with nineteenth-century academic sculpture’s focus on the female nude, even nude young girls. It typifies a shift, however, in Italian sculpture away from neoclassicism’s idealism, which dominated the early nineteenth century, toward the genre-oriented themes and greater realism that characterized Purismo, a style pioneered in Florence by Pampaloni’s teacher, Lorenzo Bartolini. Purismo prioritized naturalism and sentimentality and rejected severe neoclassicism.‍[27]

figure 11
Fig. 11, Luigi Pampaloni, Gli Orfani sulla rupe (Orphans on a Cliff), 1838–42; photograph by Giacomo Brogi, Stablimento fotografico, ca. 1890. Marble and pietra serena. Istituti Raggruppati, Pistoia. Image courtesy of Alinari Archives–Brogi Archive, Florence.

In 1838, Pistoian scholar, aristocrat, and art collector Niccolò Puccini (1799–1852) commissioned Pampaloni to create a “little girl of about age ten representing an orphan, sculpted in the most perfect, high quality marble.”‍[28] An early sketch demonstrates that Pampaloni originally conceived L’Orfanella seated, but in a begging pose, left arm extended and hand open. Subsequent sketches show the girl with hands clasped, as in the final sculpture, probably because Puccini elaborated the commission, instructing Pampaloni to add a version of the “little boy praying, also made from marble,” first carved in 1826, to “accentuate the representation of the sentimental,” which Puccini viewed as a force for change.‍[29] Puccini likely wanted both figures in the act of prayer, as two later sketches show the boy and girl on either side of a cross. Here, the girl is clearly years older than the boy. In one sketch, both face forward on a classical-style base, with pediment and acroteria; in the other, the boy is in profile and the base is a simple rectangular block. Puccini, however, had another idea. The final sculpture shows the white marble boy and girl at different levels on a large pile of boulders in rough pietra serena, a gray stone, looking up at a rustic cross (fig. 11). Puccini or Pampaloni titled the group Gli Orfani sulla rupe (Orphans on a Cliff). The cliff was part of the group’s moral narrative according to Puccini, who wrote in his 1852 will that the children, “abandoned by the greed of men on the cliff of misery, will glimpse the immortal Cross, which crowns their faith, and gives to the needy what was denied them by the world.”‍[30] Carved on the boulder below the girl is “Furono figli, adesso non rimane lora che la speranza di Dio” (They were children, and now all they have left is hope in God). In this context, the white marble and the children’s nudity was not only traditional in Italian figural sculpture but intended to reinforce their purity, vulnerability, and innocence, especially in contrast with the dark, rough boulders. The group’s emotional content—solemn, spiritual, and sentimental—is characteristic of Purismo.‍[31]

figure 12
Fig. 12, Luigi Pampaloni, Gli Orfani sulla rupe (Orphans on a Cliff), 1846. Engraving. Published in Pietro Contrucci, Monumenti del Giardino Puccini (Monuments of the Puccini Garden) (Pistoia: Cino, 1846), n.p., after p. 126. Artwork in the public domain; image courtesy of Google Books, doi.org.

For Puccini the group served as an expression of his pedagogical and philanthropic program. An ardent supporter of the Risorgimento, he commissioned works of art that promoted Italian unification and its role in addressing social concerns. Around his Pistoia villa he had an English-style garden that he filled with sculptures of illustrious Italians, including Michelangelo and Antonio Canova, and architectural fancies such as a faux gothic tower. The book Monumenti del Giardino Puccini (Monuments of the Puccini Garden) of 1846 addresses the garden’s architecture and sculpture and celebrates Puccini’s principles. It includes a full-page illustration of Gli Orfani sulla rupe (fig. 12). Pampaloni completed the sculpture group by 1842 for the Festa della Spighe (Grain Festival), when Puccini opened his garden, usually reserved for his intellectual circle, to all citizens of Pistoia.‍[32]

In the context of the garden, Gli Orfani sulla rupe reflected Puccini’s belief that essential in a unified Italy was the care for and education of its orphaned and abandoned children, so that, he stated, they “succeed in society and do not succumb to slavery.”‍[33] Puccini had sympathy for those with difficult childhoods. As a boy he had been abused in boarding school, perhaps in part because of a physical deformity (his nickname was the Puccini hunchback).‍[34] The sculpture group’s emphasis on the cross, and Puccini’s statement about its central place in the narrative, reflect his conviction that the Catholic Church should play an integral role in the Risorgimento, particularly in caring for the country’s orphans. This was unconventional; the Risorgimento was a secular movement that considered the church and the rulers of Italy’s states and kingdoms joint opponents of unification.‍[35]

Founded in 1722 by wealthy intellectual Cesare Godemini, Pistoia’s Conservatory of Orphans suffered from lack of support after Godemini’s death and before Puccini’s mother, and then Puccini himself, became its primary patrons. Puccini changed its name to the Orphanage of Pistoia in 1847. He had already established a school at his villa for local peasant children, thirty girls and thirty boys. The orphanage also supplied primary and secondary schooling and boys were placed in workshops inside its headquarters to learn a trade. When Puccini died in 1852 the orphanage was his only heir.‍[36]

While related to Puccini’s personal, religious, and political sympathies, commissioning a sculpture depicting orphans was also in keeping with the theme’s popularity, especially in nineteenth-century literature. The number and treatment of orphans had long been a heated social issue in Italy, characterized as the “orphan crisis.” The percentage of abandoned children (many of whom had parents, although it appears they were viewed as synonymous with true orphans), reached its apogee in the nineteenth century. At midcentury, Italy’s 1,200 approved orphanages took in 40,000 children. Milan and Florence were extreme, with 35 to 43 percent of all babies born being abandoned.‍[37]

After the Festa della Spighe, Puccini had Gli Orfani sulla rupe placed inside his villa and, at his death in 1852, his will instructed that it be moved to the orphanage and placed outside the chapel, where it stands today. L’Orfanella alone was exhibited in plaster at the Accademia in Florence in 1840 and in marble in 1845. The plaster version with point marks suggests copies were made and this plaster, or a marble version, was likely kept in Pampaloni’s studio, accessible to his many patrons and visitors. It is impossible to establish how many copies Pampaloni’s studio created of L’Orfanella and we do not know of any public collections that include a version of the sculpture, other than the plaster at the Accademia. We do know that Melchior Missirini, a friend of Puccini, Canova’s chief biographer, and a frequent commentator on Pampaloni’s work, owned a bust of L’Orfanella along with several other Pampaloni sculptures of young girls that, according to Missirini, “speak to you with the real language of nature,” that is, reflect the ideas of Purismo.‍[38]

Missirini, in a brief biography of his friend Pampaloni (published posthumously in 1882), links L’Orfanella with puberty. After describing the artist’s facility with sculptures of children, Missirini wrote, “to the children that he created, I add another that I call l’Orfanella; derelict of everything, without parents, in the age of puberty abandoned on earth. . . . with her beautiful form, the woes of her misfortunes make all of those who admire her more compassionate.”‍[39] Given the features of “her beautiful form,” clearly the term “prepuberale” (prepubescent) is more accurate than “pubertà” (pubescent). An Italian publication, characterizing L’Orfanella in 1852, notes, “it won’t be long before the beauty and charm of a thriving adolescence bloom on her face.”‍[40] Connecting the sculpture with prepubescence and puberty may reflect a particular predicament for orphan girls ages ten and older. Italy’s orphanages sent infants to wet nurses immediately; they often stayed with these families or were fostered to others, funded and carefully supervised by the orphanages. Between ages eight and fifteen, boys were placed in apprenticeships or worked for the families and the orphanages’ supervision ended. Female orphans of that age were more problematic, as they were entering the dangerous years of fertility. Thus, families often returned girls ages ten to twelve to the orphanages. Independence came only if they later married or joined a convent. Even if they found jobs, females remained closely supervised and some lived in the orphanages for the rest of their lives.‍[41] Perhaps such challenges motivated Puccini to commission Pampaloni to create L’Orfanella first, specifying that the sculpture represent a girl of “about age ten.” Puccini or Pampaloni could have informed Missirini of this connotation, hence his mention of puberty. Her age is distinctive in Pampaloni’s oeuvre; all other sculptures of children are represented years younger.

The age of L’Orfanella and her plight also raises the specter of another formidable social issue: underage prostitution. Recall Puccini’s hope that with care and education orphans would “succeed in society and . . . not succumb to slavery,” terminology that clearly implies the sexual exploitation of children. Although an age-old phenomenon, child prostitution was especially prevalent in nineteenth-century industrial nations, like Italy. Orphan girls were particularly at risk; procurers preferred girls as young as L’Orfanella because they were easier to mold and customers prized the opportunity to deflower virgins. Campaigns against child sexual exploitation emerged in response to the nineteenth-century surge in children who were prostituted, with agitation first around raising the age of consent after a British newspaper in 1885 had “broken the silence” and “revealed [the] terrible social evil” of the sale of underage girls for sex. Specifics about the practice are rare before that time, but in the 1840s an image of a female orphan might stimulate such associations.‍[42] Thus, L’Orfanella may have had implications invisible to us without understanding the sculpture within its original context and the implications of a nude prepubescent girl at that time.

With respect to Pampaloni’s other work found in North American rural cemeteries, much clearer evidence exists that his studio and other copyists made multiple versions of L’Orfano or, as it was originally titled, Putto Orante (Praying Boy), the earlier work that Puccini requested Pampaloni combine with L’Orfanella to create Gli Orfani sulla rupe. At the Accademia it is titled Putto della preghiera (L’Orfano) (Boy in Prayer [The Orphan]) and placed next to L’Orfanella. As noted, Putto Orante was unquestionably more successful than L’Orfanella in the cemeteries and its origins and reception in Europe explain in part why. Putto Orante was Pampaloni’s first great success as a sculptor and remained his most popular work. In 1826, Polish statesman and art collector Franciszeck Potocki commissioned it for a two-part group with the boy praying next to a reclining baby to be placed on the tomb of his recently deceased child. Thus, it had a funereal association from the beginning. Also in 1826, Pampaloni exhibited a plaster version of Putto Orante at the Accademia dell’Arte’s annual exhibition and it was awarded a prize. The Polish aristocrat Anna Tyszkiewicz, traveling in Florence after the death of her daughter Julia, wrote of a plaster in the exhibition that “produced in my heart a poignant effect; it suggested such a striking resemblance to the child I mourned. I determined to have a copy made for the memorial chapel on which my thoughts were entirely focused.” Tyszkiewicz asked Pampaloni to create a version of Putto Orante bearing Julia’s features, presenting him with her death mask to copy.‍[43]

These first prestigious commissions and, according to art historian Annarita Caputo Calloud, Pampaloni’s success in capturing the sentimental resulted in immediate requests from European aristocrats for numerous replicas, which were later found in sitting rooms as well as cemeteries. One source notes that Pampaloni himself reproduced the sculpture at least nine times,‍[44] although Missirini wrote that he created twelve versions “for the illustrious lords of Russia, Bavaria, and France” and it “aroused a universal movement.” Missirini recorded that Pampaloni then donated it (though in what form is unclear) to a plaster molder who passed molds on to others who worked in plaster in Lucchese and who were in part responsible for creating the explosion of duplicates found in “all the cemeteries of Europe.” Missirini recalled an anecdote shared by Florence’s mayor, who, when visiting “all the famous Cemeteries of Paris, always saw at the entrances small rooms full of these boys” in plaster that the poor bought to place above their children’s remains.‍[45] In 1836, Putto Orante reportedly caused a “great debate” in Paris, when a Frenchman insisted it was Canova’s work and one of Pampaloni’s patrons had to defend its true authorship.‍[46] In 1852, an Italian periodical indicated that Pampaloni’s “praying boy . . . now finds itself reproduced by the thousands in marble and plaster, in almost every house in the two worlds,” acknowledging its popularity in Europe and the US.‍[47] Putto Orante was also recognized as a pioneering work in Purismo. In addition to its sentimentality and subject—a contemporary child whose pose does not rely on classical precedents—the naturalism of the pillow’s indentation bearing the weight of the boy’s knee, his pudginess, and the foot folded beneath his buttocks deftly combine realism inspired by observing nature with neoclassical features, such as his nudity and the smooth planes of his body.‍[48] Today marble versions attributed to Pampaloni are found in the family castle of Prince Metternich in the Czech Republic, in Genoa at the Galleria d’Arte Moderna, and at the Chrysler Art Museum in Norfolk, Virginia, indicating its widespread appeal.‍[49]

The sculpture’s past popularity and related commercialization are certainly reasons why its reputation suffered in subsequent years. Of the Chrysler Museum’s version, H. Nichols B. Clark writes that Pampaloni’s sculptures of children “cast a trivializing shadow on his career.”‍[50] Yet Putto Orante launched the sculptor’s career, and Gli Orfani sulla rupe and other works depicting children that he created across his working life would suggest otherwise. Pampaloni was clearly content to explore themes that captured the popular imagination, although the overt sentimentality of Putto Orante and the multiple copies by sculptors less skilled than Pampaloni make it difficult for us today to understand its appeal.‍[51]

For students of cemetery sculpture, perceptions of Putto Orante may also be shaped by art historian Fred S. Licht’s criticism in the only comprehensive English-language study of nineteenth- and early twentieth-century Italian cemetery sculpture, Sandra Berresford’s Italian Memorial Sculpture 1820–1940: A Legacy of Love (2004). Licht uses Pampaloni’s nude boy as a foil for custom-made monuments, writing,

More crass, of lesser artistic quality, but infinitely more widespread, was the use of a small sculpture of a plump child kneeling as if in prayer, which was first carved as a garden ornament and as such gained enormous popularity. The artist, probably at the suggestion of an enterprising sculpture distributor, ultimately marketed it for funerary purposes and there is hardly a cemetery in Italy that does not have one of the many replicas that were commercially produced and sold by mail order catalogue.‍[52]

Licht’s critique is understandable because Putto Orante was frequently reproduced. But it is also inaccurate. No evidence exists that it was “first carved as a garden ornament.” Instead, as noted, it was an important commission for Pampaloni and initially intended to mark a tomb, an award winner, and mistaken for the work of Canova. Nor is there any indication that Pampaloni himself “marketed it” since it appears he made only about a dozen versions, although it was widely copied and monument dealers did exploit its popularity.‍[53]

Praying Samuel

Across North America’s rural cemeteries, copies of Pampaloni’s Putto Orante appear in varied materials and sizes, primarily marble but also zinc, with wings and without, with the pillow and without (figs. 13, 14). Unlike Pampaloni’s original, its genitals are invariably draped; this and the curled hair gives the grave markers an androgynous appearance.‍[54] The copies demonstrate a range of quality, with some very sensitively carved and others less skillfully interpreted (fig. 15). The earliest examples date from the 1850s, when figural sculpture first became widely popular in the rural cemeteries. Putto Orante was so well known as a grave marker in the US that it appears in nineteenth-century advertisements for marble and granite works (fig. 16).

figure 13
Fig. 13, Western White Bronze Co., Willie Hensler Monument, 1888. Zinc and granite. Riverside Cemetery, Denver. Image courtesy of S. A. McElhaney.
figure 14
Fig. 14, Unknown artist, “Our Thomas” Monument, 1870. Marble and granite. Oakland Cemetery, Atlanta. Image courtesy of Historic Oakland Foundation.
figure 15
Fig. 15, Unknown artist, H. Ludwig Mergell Monument, after 1857. Marble. Cave Hill Cemetery, Louisville. Image courtesy of the author.
figure 16
Fig. 16, Advertisement for James Gazeley Monumental Marble and Granite Works, ca. 1870. Print. Published in Albany (NY) City Directory, 1870; available from Beyond the Graves (blog).
figure 17
Fig. 17, Joshua Reynolds, Infant Samuel at Prayer, ca. 1766. Oil on canvas. National Gallery of Art, London. Artwork in the public domain; image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.

In Britain as well as the US, Putto Orante is most often referred to as Praying Samuel. This title is based on Joshua Reynolds’s painting The Infant Samuel at Prayer (ca. 1776; fig. 17), which depicts the prophet Samuel as a young boy, at the moment when he is first called by the Lord (1 Samuel 3). Reynolds’s painting was widely reproduced and sold throughout the United States and England well into the twentieth century.‍[55] At some point, the painting’s resemblance to Pampaloni’s Putto Orante led to the conflation of the two works. The earliest mention of Praying Samuel as the sculpture’s title that I have discovered is in an article titled “‘Le Jardin de la Morte’ at Boulogne,” in the British publication Ainsworth’s Magazine in 1849. Although unnamed, the description of the cemetery as near Port du Calais and containing many English burials reveals that it is the Cimetière de Boulogne-sur-Mer (now known as Cimetière de l’Est), a short distance from England across a narrow part of the Channel. The visitor, after detailing the gravesites of well-known English citizens, wrote,

There is one adornment in this place of tombs that cannot fail to interest the English eye, notwithstanding that its repeatedness at length wearies it. At the foot of a cross, or meekly shining between the downcast branches of the willows—exalted on the summit of the wooden tablets—or vis-à-vis upon a bed of melancholy rue, or “souci” shaded marigolds—copies of our great sculptor’s “Praying Samuel,” meet you at every turn.‍[56]

The reference to “our great sculptor” suggests a version of this theme by a British artist, although none are known, or it may refer to Pampaloni, who exhibited frequently in England and was popular among British collectors.‍[57] Regardless, it recognizes the multiple copies of Pampaloni’s Putto Orante, since no other sculptures of a praying boy so prominently populated cemeteries, coupled with the title of Reynolds’s Infant Samuel at Prayer.

figure 18
Fig. 18, Edward and Henry T. Anthony & Co. (photographers), Henry Ruggles Monument, Green-Wood Cemetery, Brooklyn, ca. 1857; photograph ca. 1890. Albumen silver print. Image courtesy of the Getty’s Open Content Program.

A second reference to Praying Samuel appears in an 1865 New York Times article on US artists abroad. The author describes a sculpture of Isaac kneeling on the altar by Baltimore native Randolph Rogers, with “the upturned face” as “somewhat akin to that of the ‘Praying Samuel,’ which has long been enshrined in the popular heart.” ‍[58] Another reference in a cemetery context is Nehemiah Cleaveland’s A Handbook for Green-Wood (1873), a visitor’s guide to Brooklyn’s Green-Wood Cemetery, which includes descriptions of notable monuments, including Henry Ruggles’s “marble and colossal presentment of the young and praying Samuel,” a larger-than-life copy of Pampaloni’s original that still exists.‍[59] Its significance was also acknowledged by a stereograph (fig. 18).

The conflation of Pampaloni’s Putto Orante with Reynolds’s Infant Samuel may have helped the sculpture’s popularity in the US and England, as James P. Boyd suggests in his Triumphs and Wonders the 19th Century (1899): “Luigi Pampaloni achieved a surprising fame for his figures of children, one of which, for a monument on a Polish sepulchre, has been widely copied in cheap plaster under the erroneous title of ‘The Praying Samuel.’”‍[60] But the pervasiveness of Putto Orante/L’Orfano/Praying Samuel, renamed, augmented, mass produced, and sold by US monument dealers, resulted for most in the loss of Pampaloni’s name. There was no copyright for cemetery sculpture at this time.

Nudity, Gender, and Age

Intriguingly, L’Orfanella did not capture the popular imagination in the same way as her pendant. As noted, Eliza Heyward’s marker appears to be the single example found in a US cemetery. Perhaps the differing receptions of the two sculptures can be explained in part by the earlier date of Putto Orante. Initially executed for a tomb, this image of a young child at prayer is perfect for a Christian cemetery context and as a consequence it was immediately replicated throughout Europe. L’Orfanella was created later and for a different purpose. Her seated pose is more ambiguous and her gesture less explicitly denotes prayer.

More relevant, however, are the figures’ different ages. Putto Orante depicts a very young boy—not an infant like the sleeping babies common in cemeteries, but so young that his hair is still in curls—perhaps age three or four. He existed comfortably in the tradition of the putto, the nude winged children found in Western art since classical antiquity, often transformed into cherubs by Christian artists. Putti and cherubs are common motifs in US cemeteries. That artists and viewers made this connection is apparent in the occasional addition of wings to Putto Orante, as in “Our Thomas” in Oakland Cemetery, Atlanta, Georgia (fig. 14).

L’Orfanella depicts a prepubescent girl, still childish in form but hinting at future development. According to art historian Lauren Lessing, the transition from childhood to adulthood, especially for girls, was an issue of concern in the US, particularly in the years following the Civil War. Romanticism’s insistence on children’s innate innocence dominated Western perceptions in the nineteenth century, in contrast with earlier periods when children were considered inherently depraved because of the doctrine of original sin.‍[61] The subject of girls evolving from the purity of innocence to the awakening of sexual awareness is addressed in two paintings by Seymour Joseph Guy that “anxiously alluded to the inevitability of sexual development.”‍[62] Both works—created after the Civil War and one close in date to the installation of Eliza Heyward’s monument—can provide insight into attitudes that could have shaped the reception of L’Orfanella in the US.

figure 19
Fig. 19, Seymour Joseph Guy, Making a Train, 1867. Oil on canvas. Philadelphia Museum of Art, Philadelphia. Artwork in the public domain; image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.

The paintings by Guy, a British artist who immigrated to New York in 1854, have captured scholars’ attention for what they reveal about perceptions of nude young girls. Art historians David Lubin and Lessing address Guy’s Making a Train (1868), whose protagonist is close in age to L’Orfanella, begging the question as to whether she was perceived as erotic (fig. 19). Lessing describes it as “disturbing in its sensual presentation of a prepubescent female body.” A critic of the time, Lessing notes, wrote that the girl is “deliciously innocent,” reflecting the frisson some male viewers must have experienced when viewing the painting. Unlike L’Orfanella the girl in the painting is not completely nude but her chemise has slipped to reveal “a developing figure, presaging puberty,” with breasts budding. Lessing interprets Guy’s technique, tightly painted and minutely detailed, as heightening the disturbing physicality of the girl’s body. Lessing writes that later, in the 1880s, illustrations and stories of girls lured into prostitution appearing in the popular press highlighted “the degree to which sexualized little girls and the pedophiles who sought them out had entered the realm of public discourse,” parallel with the agitation about raising the age of consent (in New York City it was age ten). Lubin points to the rumpled bed, open drawer, and cast-off shoes as reminiscent of seventeenth-century Dutch genre painting, where such details were moralizing indications of a loosening of virtue.‍[63]

figure 20
Fig. 20, Seymour Joseph Guy, Dressing for the Rehearsal, ca. 1890. Oil on canvas. Smithsonian American Art Museum, Washington. Artwork in the public domain; image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.

An equally provocative painting is Guy’s Dressing for the Rehearsal (ca. 1890), depicting a pubescent nude wearing butterfly wings, a symbol of transformation, “who looks dolefully aside while her body casts a menacing shadow” (fig. 20). This is a troubling modification of the Romantic belief in children’s innocence: puberty, it suggests, “signaled the start of the inevitable, but tragic, fall from grace.”‍[64] Similarly, the nudity and age of L’Orfanella may have also recalled this unsettling transition, perhaps even more so because she is completely nude.

Significantly, Guy’s Making a Train includes a print, hanging askew on the back wall, which is emphasized by the inclination of the girl’s head. It is Reynolds’s Infant Samuel at Prayer, which Lubin interprets as an intentional contrast with the girl. The print, about to fall, signifies her soon-to-be abandoned innocence, since she appears enthralled with the trappings of fashionable womanhood.‍[65] This contrast is telling given the differing reception of L’Orfanella, a girl who may have raised issues similar to the girl in Making a Train, and Putto Orante, a younger boy, which, in the US and England, took its name from Reynolds’s image, more clearly embodies innocence.

The nineteenth-century fixation on prepubescence and puberty in girls that the paintings and sculpture reflect is well documented. Lessing states that by the 1860s, some Americans “truly believed that childhood was growing shorter” and “the disquiet about puberty in girls during the second half of the nineteenth century” might be “an expression of the cultural anxiety about the changes taking place in the American social body, rocked as it was by rapid industrialization, urbanization, and growth.” Anne Higonnet, in Pictures of Innocence: The History and Crisis of Ideal Childhood, writes that images of children located the concept of innocence in the child’s body, considered inherently pure because it was uncorrupted by sexuality; after puberty, the body’s innocence fades. What “underlies many of these representations,” according to Girl Culture: An Encyclopedia, is “an adult desire to stunt the development of young girls at the moment they begin to mature, to forestall their growth into sexual beings.”‍[66] Pampaloni depicted L’Orfanella at this very moment, maintaining features of childhood yet hinting at the adult woman to come. Missirini’s comment about “her beautiful form” reflects this idealization of physically undeveloped girls.

figure 21
Fig. 21, Unknown artist, Illustration of Gli Orfani sulla rupe (Orphans on a Cliff), 1852. Print. Published in Celestino Bianchi, “Gli Orfani sulla rupe, gruppo in marmo, da Luigi Pampaloni” (Orphans on a cliff, group in marble, by Luigi Pampaloni), L’Omnibus pittoresco enciclopedia letteraria ed artistica con figure incise in rame (The Omnibus: A picturesque literary and artistic encyclopedia with copper engraved figures), March 8, 1852, 289. Artwork in the public domain; available from Google Books, tinyurl.com.

Of course, there is a long history of discomfort with nudity in premodernist North American art and, as noted, this is particularly apparent in cemeteries. In contrast, we think of Italy as more accepting of nudity, given its tradition of sculpted nudes. Yet there is evidence that the nudity of L’Orfanella also made midcentury Italians uncomfortable. An 1852 illustration of Gli Orfani sulla rupe in an Italian monthly indicates that someone, perhaps the illustrator, the publication’s editor, or the article’s author, decided that the boy’s nudity was acceptable but the girl’s nudity was not and chose to clothe her (fig. 21).‍[67] This, too, surely related to their different ages and genders. Perhaps a popular magazine, just like a public cemetery, was deemed inappropriate for nude images of girls on the cusp of puberty. In 1879, an Italian art critic approved of a monument featuring a heavily robed angel in Milan’s Monumental Cemetery because “death is chaste and provocative nudity has no place in the cemetery.”‍[68]

The Monumental Body and Other Conclusions

I return to Eliza Heyward’s monument to speculate about why the family selected L’Orfanella as her memorial—speculate, because no documentation describing their motivations exists. Again, Eliza was a very young woman when she died. Her early death was certainly traumatic for her family, especially if it was preceded by a debilitating illness like lupus. Two of her brothers died just two months before, in May 1871, one in a psychiatric institution. As noted, her father’s purchase of the lot so soon after Eliza’s death may indicate a reckoning with his children’s fates (six of his nine children, with Anne, were now dead, and his brother William also died in 1871; William’s lot is to the left of Daniel’s) and a desire to bring the family together in death around Eliza’s central memorial, although this never happened. Eliza’s monument is by far the most elaborate of all of her family’s markers, even her mother’s and father’s.‍[69] Purchasing a large lot and securing a full-size figural statue suggests a particular loss.

As the newspaper notice about Chevreux importing sculpture “direct from Italy” and his prominent signature suggest, he likely ordered the work from Pampaloni’s studio or a statuary dealer, probably on speculation. Its original intent would have little relevance in its new setting—Pampaloni’s work for Puccini emphasized the breakdown of the family, the opposite message of the rural cemeteries’ family lots. Yet Eliza’s monument and other versions of L’Orfanella indicate that it had a life beyond Gli Orfani sulla rupe. Pampaloni’s studio sold L’Orfanella alone; her status as an orphan less evident and the cross removed, she could still be interpreted as praying and turning to God, or simply seated and looking up hopefully. And, despite the sculpture’s provocative nudity and the rhetoric around prepubescent and pubescent girls, which may have shaped some viewers’ perceptions of it, Eliza’s sculpture did share one meaning that Pampaloni intended for the original. For her loved ones, the image of a girl half Eliza’s age must have signified the deceased girl’s unspoiled innocence, an innocence that would never be corrupted because of her early death. An 1848 story in Godey’s Ladies Book about a young girl’s passing states that her mother should find comfort because “the fragile flower which faded on her bosom, hath sprung into lovelier life in ‘the garden of the Lord.’ . . . Had it lingered here, the dust of low desires and the soil of sin might have weighed it to the earth, and dimmed forever its early loveliness.”‍[70] Eliza, similarly, would never be sullied by low desires. Chevreux carved “MISS” Eliza Barnwell Heyward on the base, accentuating her unmarried and presumably virgin state. Innocence as a primary message is also underscored by the medium. The original marble, before 150 years of outdoor exposure, would have been a pristine white, which symbolized innocence, purity, spirituality, and virginity.

If Eliza’s cerebritis was the result of lupus, particularly the most common type, systemic lupus erythematous, the sculpture could have acted not only to recall her innocence but also a younger, unblemished, self-composed, predisease Eliza. More common in women and usually diagnosed between the ages of fifteen and forty-five, lupus can manifest in visible disfigurement such as a deep-red, butterfly-shaped rash that spreads across the cheeks and nose, rashes that appear elsewhere on the body worsened by sun exposure, rough scaly patches, and swollen joints. Cerebritis with lupus can result in severe headaches, behavior changes, memory loss, seizures, psychosis, and stroke.‍[71]

Interpreting the monument as accentuating Eliza’s innocence and earlier perfected body depends, of course, on viewers’ correlation of Eliza with the sculpture. Although L’Orfanella depicts a girl younger than Eliza was when she died, it is likely that viewers could not help but project Eliza’s identity onto the seated girl and read the messages that the sculpture conveyed as applying to her. The conflation of grave markers with the dead they memorialize reflects current theory relating to the agency of inanimate objects, particularly grave markers. In art historian Kirk Savage’s 2016 essay on memorializing the Civil War’s unknown dead, he describes an obelisk-shaped cenotaph in a Pennsylvania cemetery dedicated to George and Jesse Sprowls. Jesse died at Gettysburg; Confederates captured George at Spotsylvania and he was never heard from again. Both bodies remained lost. The obelisk, Savage writes,

Even though it lacks the physical presence of the two bodies . . . has its own material presence, inhabiting a place that was significant in the lives of the dead. . . . The cenotaph was a reconstituted body in stone, where the fragments of the brothers’ broken, scattered selves could be brought together again in one special place and made more whole. This embodied bodilessness made the cenotaph, in effect, an enchanted object, with an agency of its own reconnecting the localized world of the living with the dispersed world of the dead.‍[72]

Thus, the cenotaph worked as a stand-in for the Sprowls’ lost bodies. It had agency because it reconnected Jesse and George with the living. Eliza’s monument, conveying youth, innocence, purity, flawless skin, and a sense of hope, could have worked similarly as a focal point for the family’s loss but also a reminder of her once-living physical form.

In fact, gravestones depicting humans that mark actual burials connect the deceased and the memorial even more explicitly, providing them with greater agency. Jennifer Van Horn, in 2017, analyzed portraits on eighteenth-century gravestones in Charleston’s urban churchyards. Carved in low relief at the center top of tablet stones, they depict stylized representations of what, they imply, are the deceased’s head, shoulders, and chest (as they were imported from the northeast, it is unlikely that these are actual portraits). The gravestone, Van Horn writes, “pictured an individual whose body was not gone but was still present, buried below the stone . . . yoking the image of a person to his or her own body.” Carved in impermeable slate, the marker “provided a second self that could permanently withstand the onslaught of death’s deformity,” but, Van Horn notes, “all burial monuments attempt to overlay a social self upon the corpse, shifting attention from the remains to the memorial in order to shape perceptions of the deceased.”‍[73] Although Eliza’s sculpture is not a portrait, viewers might recognize the commonalities between the figure and the deceased, or at least regard Eliza through the lens of the social values it conveyed. Like the cemeteries’ sculptures of sleeping babies, it was not intended as a likeness but a comforting symbol, a body alive and healthy that replaced Eliza’s decaying body below. The many Praying Samuels in the US, placed primarily on the graves of young boys, would have worked similarly, embodying the remains of the deceased.

Art historian Annette Stott takes the concept of the body’s conflation with the marker and the marker’s ensuing agency even further in a 2019 article, applying these ideas to a range of gravestone types. Drawing on the methodology of new materialism, Stott argues that many North Americans “have treated their gravestones as physical substitutes for biological bodies that have disappeared below ground and symbolic containers of personal identity that extend individual ‘presence’ in the community.” She details the characteristics that markers share with human beings, including appearance, treatment as person substitutes (washed, decorated, brought presents to, even kissed), roles in family rituals, and social relationships with both visitors and the other grave markers around them, creating a community of monumental bodies. They “speak” to us through their shape, inscriptions, and imagery, conveying beliefs and values, gender, social status, and personality, among other things, although as Stott cautions, “the marker imperfectly conveys identity, but as long as it exists, it does some of the work of holding a person in the world. Minimally, the monumental body that replaces the living human body must stand in the gap created in the social fabric by death.” Like Savage, Stott suggests that gravestones extend the deceased’s agency within the living community. A grave marker can “‘act’ upon those who view or touch it” binding loved ones together and motivating emotional and intellectual responses. Like Van Horn, who notes that a portrait stone “yoked the image of a person to his or her own body,” Stott describes the monumental body as particularly apparent in figural markers but points out that even the most abstract markers create “a place for individual identity to be tethered even after the body has entirely disappeared.”‍[74]

Many of these considerations apply to Eliza’s “monumental body,” suggesting how the family and other viewers may have responded to it. The selection of a sculpture depicting a girl younger than Eliza implies that Eliza’s innocence, after death, persisted—when read as her body, the sculpture suggests that in death she maintained the prepubescent’s purity, before “the inevitable, but tragic, fall from grace.” The memorial preserves this moment in stone. Unacknowledged, surely, but perhaps shaping the selection was that “adult desire to stunt the development of young girls at the moment they begin to mature, to forestall their growth into sexual beings.” The monument conveyed her now eternal innocence and reminded viewers of her living person, sitting instead of standing “in the gap created in the social fabric by death.” It could “speak” to visitors, delivering messages not only about Eliza’s innocence, purity, and, perhaps, beautiful skin, but also the loss of a vital young life tempered by continuing hope in God. Eliza’s memorial would have particular agency in a rural cemetery, where, unlike earlier burial grounds, visitors were encouraged to interact with the monuments.‍[75] Her gaze fixed on the sky, drawing our eyes upward as well, the sculpture reinforced the rural cemeteries’ emphasis on heaven’s comforts and the expectation of a future family reunion. Today, we engage with it still; it kindles interest not only in Eliza—a young woman worthy of such a striking memorial even though she died before she made much of a mark on the world—but also the range of compelling contexts to which her memorial connects.

figure 22
Fig. 22, Lorenzo Bartolini, La fiducio in Dio (Faith in God), after 1834. Marble. Gibbes Museum of Art, Charleston. Image courtesy of the author.

But why represent Eliza’s monumental body as nude, again, an odd choice for its location? As suggested, did a nude body in some way do more to accentuate her innocence and purity? Perhaps an expanse of flawless white skin and a serene face were comforting to her family if in fact she suffered the physical and psychological symptoms of lupus. Selecting a monument is a personal family decision and clearly the Heywards did not view Pampaloni’s sculpture, although atypical for a US cemetery, as unseemly. This may relate to their status as an elite family aware of current trends in European art. Even more relevant is a work in Charleston’s Gibbes Museum of Art by Lorenzo Bartolini, Pampaloni’s teacher (fig. 22). Originally purchased after 1836 by Charles Izard Manigault, whose wife Elizabeth Heyward was Daniel Heyward’s cousin, it was donated to the museum by Elizabeth Middleton Heyward in 1917, suggesting it stayed in the family. Manigault’s family took extended European grand tours; they first visited Bartolini’s studio in 1829.‍[76] Titled La fiducia in Dio (Faith in God), it shares much with Eliza’s sculpture: a young nude girl with her legs folded beneath her, upturned face and eyes, mouth slightly ajar, crease at the belly, and clasped hands, although she is a few years older, described as an adolescent in a recent exhibition catalogue.‍[77]

figure 23
Fig. 23, Artist unknown [Lorenzo Bartolini studio?], Olive Rich Monument, 1864. Marble. Mount Auburn Cemetery, Cambridge. Photograph by Jennifer J. Johnson; image courtesy of Mount Auburn Cemetery.

Bartolini created the first version of La fiducia in Dio in 1834–36, just a few years before Pampaloni received the L’Orfanella commission. Milanese Marchese Rosina Poldi Pezzoli requested Bartolini make a “memorial for the home” for her late husband, “a domestic and consoling statue which would express her abandonment to faith following her loss,” the latter the same as Pampaloni and Puccini’s intent for L’Orfanella.‍[78] Pampaloni surely knew La fiducia in Dio, produced by his master and close colleague and featured in exhibitions in Florence, Parma, and Milan, where it created a sensation. It was recognized as an exemplary demonstration of Purismo, in placing the girl in a realistic pose unrelated to classical prototypes (much like L’Orfanella and L’Orfano); for its “moral, technical, and naturalistic qualities,” according to critic Pietro Giordani, a friend of Puccini’s; and for its spirituality. Critics particularly noted the bend in the neck, signaling the weight of the head, and the loosely crossed toes, features it shares with L’Orfanella. It also inspired debate about its innocence versus its incipient eroticism, with contemporaries noting the sensuality of its soft, yielding skin, a feature for which Bartolini was well known.‍[79] A family member’s purchase of a sculpture of this theme by an artist of significance may have predisposed the Heywards to view the subject as acceptable, even “moral” as Giordani suggested, and thus appropriate to memorialize Eliza. Two versions of La fiducia in Dio also memorialize young women: one in a US cemetery, Mount Auburn, marking the grave of Olive Rich, who died in 1862 at age thirty-two, and the other at the tomb of Bianca Baldelli, found in the “English” Cemetery in Florence, dated 1869, who died at age seventeen (fig. 23).‍[80] Significantly, both depict the kneeling girl not nude, like the original sculpture, but clothed in tunics gathered at the waist, suggesting once again a discomfort with sculptures of young nude girls in the cemetery, despite the Heyward family’s affinity for the subject.

Eliza’s monument is important not only because it is distinctive for a rural cemetery—encouraging investigation of the deceased and her family, the artists who created it, and how it reached Magnolia—but also because it acts as a touchstone for a range of contexts of interest to those who study nineteenth-century art, including its affirmation of the fluidity between US memorial sculpture and Italian marbles, represented especially well by L’Orfano.‍[81] The conclusion that Eliza’s memorial became “new” in Charleston, its original implications changing radically because it was appropriated for a highly personal expression of family loss, reinforces a central tenet of material culture studies: that an object’s placement in a different context alters its meaning and broader social implications. Suggesting its potential meaning at Magnolia Cemetery would be impossible without new considerations of the monumental body, which reveal how the sculpture could have worked for Eliza’s loved ones and other visitors—information that is almost never recorded—as a sculpture that acted as a physical substitute for the biological body and an extension of her identity, although interpreted as a girl in stone whose development was arrested before it began.


All translations are by the author unless indicated otherwise.

[1] Other signed gravestones by Chevreux in South Carolina include markers for John Alexander Armstrong (ca. 1870) and Francis Police (ca. 1873) in St. Mary of the Annunciation Churchyard, Charleston; James Brown Boyd (after 1867), with its base signed by D. Walker and sculpted palmetto signed by Chevreux, and the Silcox family monument with the small angel (after 1865) in Magnolia Cemetery; and William Chiles Davis (ca. 1873) in the First Baptist Church Cemetery, Anderson, SC. The only evidence discovered that suggests Chevreux could carve figural sculpture is a short article, “Calhoun Monument,” Charleston Mercury, June 30, 1860, https://search.proquest.com/ [login required], reporting that Chevreux proposed a design for a monument to Daniel Calhoun. There is no indication the design was accepted and it was never realized.

[2] The most comprehensive English-language source on Pampaloni is H. Nichols B. Clark, A Marble Quarry: The James Ricau Collection of Sculpture at the Chrysler Museum of Art (New York: Hudson Hills Press, 1997), 46–49. Italian-language sources are included in endnotes below.

[3] Franca Falletti and Marcella Anglani, Accademia Gallery: The Official Guide of All of the Works, trans. Ailsa Wood (Florence: Ministry of Artistic and Environmental Heritage, 1999); and Samantha Vaughn, “The Accademia beyond the David: More than Michelangelo,” The Florentine, November 3, 2017, https://www.theflorentine.net/. On the Gispoteca (plaster cast gallery), see “Scultore del bello naturale, Lorenzo Bartolini, opera complete: Gispoteca,” Galleria dell’Accademia, Florence, 2013, http://www.uffizi.firenze.it/bartolini/Main/Gipsoteca.

[4] All of the versions of L’Orfanello found online appear on auction house sites. For a ceramic L’Orfanella (with details), see https://www.catawiki.it/; for three marble versions, see http://www.artnet.com/artists/luigi-pampaloni/ and https://www.mutualart.com/Artwork/Young-Girl-Seated/; for the plaster version with point marks, see https://www.carlovirgilio.it/opera/luigi-pampaloni-orfanella/.

[5] Vaughn, “The Accademia beyond David.”

[6] I have not visited all rural cemeteries, of course, but I have visited close to forty cemeteries of this type across the US and have never seen a similar marker.

[7] A recent treatment of the rural cemetery movement is James R. Cothran and Erica Danylchak, Grave Landscapes: The Nineteenth-Century Rural Cemetery Movement (Columbia: University of South Carolina Press, 2018), which has an excellent bibliography. Other important sources include Blanche Linden-Ward, Silent City on a Hill: Landscapes of Memory and Bostons Mount Auburn Cemetery (Columbus: Ohio State University Press, 1989); and David Charles Sloane, The Last Great Necessity: Cemeteries in American History (Baltimore, MD: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1991), 44–64.

[8] Thomas J. Brown, Civil War Canons: Sites of Confederate Memory in South Carolina (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 2015), xi–xix; Joy Giguere, “Localism and Nationalism in the City of the Dead: The Rural Cemetery in the Antebellum South,” Journal of Southern History 84, no. 4 (December 2018): 845–82, http://doi.org/10.1353/soh.2018.0244; and Ted Ashton Phillips Jr., City of the Silent: The Charlestonians of Magnolia Cemetery (Columbia: University of South Carolina Press, 2010). Today, unlike most cities, many urban churchyards remain in Charleston with burials from the colonial era to the present, providing a tangible contrast with Magnolia’s appearance and objectives.

[9] “Charleston, The Palmetto City,” Harper’s New Monthly Magazine, June 1857, 20, https://archive.org/details/harpersnew15harper.

[10] Magnolia Cemetery lot book and internment records. Thanks to Patrick Harwood for facilitating access and Magnolia administrators for sharing them. Heyward family deaths and burials are listed on the website Find a Grave, which, although not always reliable, is consistent in this case with other Heyward family genealogies. Pictures and locations of the burial sites of Eliza’s parents and siblings are linked to the website “Memorial Page for Daniel Heyward (8 Apr 1810–26 Sep 1888),” Find a Grave Memorial no. 11070621, maintained by Just another taphophile (contributor 46513469), Find a Grave, accessed July 17, 2019, https://www.findagrave.com/memorial/11070621/daniel-heyward, with the exception of Daniel Cuthbert Heyward (b. 1836–May 1871), who, “Daniel Heyward,” Heyward Family Genealogy Database, accessed July 17, 2019, http://www.heywardgenealogy.org/, notes died at “Insane Asylum, Columbia SC” and therefore is unlikely to have a grave marker in the Charleston area. The other brother who died in May 1871 was William Milton Heyward.

[11] James B. Heyward, “The Heyward Family of South Carolina (Continued),” The South Carolina Historical Magazine 59, no. 3 (July 1958): 143–58; James B. Heyward, “The Heyward Family of South Carolina (Continued),” The South Carolina Historical Magazine 59, no. 4 (October 1958): 206–23; and “Daniel Heyward,” Heyward Family Genealogy Database. On Daniel Heyward’s wealth and plantation, see Lawrence Sandler Rowland et al., The History of Beaufort County (Columbia: University of South Carolina Press, 1996), 379. On letters that mention Eliza, see Frances Wallace Taylor, Catherine Taylor Matthews, and J. Tracy Powers, The Leverett Letters: Correspondance of a South Carolina Family, 1851–1868 (Columbia: University of South Carolina Press, 2000), 20, 131, 237, 479.

[12] Annette Stott, “The Baby-in-a-Half-Shell: A Case Study in Child Memorial Art of the Late Nineteenth Century,” Nineteenth-Century Art Worldwide 7, no. 2 (Autumn 2008), http://www.19thc-artworldwide.org/autumn08/91-the-baby-in-a-half-shell-a-case-study-in-child-memorial-art-of-the-late-nineteenth-century; and Ellen Marie Snyder, “Innocents in a Worldly World: Victorian Children’s Gravemarkers,” in Cemeteries & Gravemarkers: Voices of American Culture, ed. Richard E. Meyer (Logan: Utah State University Press, 1992), 11–29, https://doi.org/10.2307/j.ctt46nqxw.7.

[13] Annarita Caputo Calloud, “Niccolò Puccini, Luigi Pampaloni e gli Orfani sulla rupe: cronistoria e significati romantici,” trans. Eric Edward Johnson, Richerche di storia dell’arte 23 (1984): 95; Patrick Harwood, In the Arms of Angels: Magnolia Cemetery, Charleston’s Treasure of History, Mystery, and Artistry (Charleston: Patrick Harwood, 2014), 33–34.

[14] Lionel Gilbert, “A Stonemason without a Memorial,” Descent: The Journal of the Society of Australian Genealogists 34, no. 2 (June 2004): 76–80.

[15] “Calhoun Monument,” Charleston Mercury.

[16] Advertisement, Charleston Daily News, December 2, 1865 [emphasis original], https://www.newspapers.com/image/72079629/?terms=Chevreux [login required].

[17] “Copartnerships,” Charleston Daily News, February 1, 1867 [emphasis original], https://www.newspapers.com/image/77707597/?terms=Chevreux [login required]; and Advertisement, Charleston Daily News, March 20, 1867 [emphasis original], https://www.newspapers.com/image/77708108/?terms=Chevreux [login required].

[18] On Thomas Walker, see Diane William Combs, Early Gravestone Art in Georgia and South Carolina (Athens: University of Georgia Press, 1986); and David R. Mould and Missy Loewe, Historic Gravestone Art of Charleston, South Carolina, 1695–1802 (Jefferson, NC: McFarland, 2015), 149–50, 187–89, 109–11, 180–81, 209–10. On the Whites and later Walkers, see Michael Trinkley, “An Archaeological Reconnaissance of Hobcaw Plantation, Charleston County, South Carolina,” Chicora Foundation Research Series 10 (June 1987), 37–40, https://www.chicora.org/; “A Stonecutter’s Tale,” Random Connections (blog), August 25, 2012, http://randomconnections.com/a-stonecutters-tale/; and “Long Cane Cemetery,” The Historical Marker Database, accessed June 5, 2020, https://www.hmdb.org/m.asp?m=50740.

[19] Advertisement, Greenville Enterprise, December 14, 1870 [emphasis original], https://www.newspapers.com/image/328254774/?terms=Chevreux [login required]. Greenville is in northwestern South Carolina.

[20] “The New Academy,” Charleston Daily News, December 1, 1869, https://www.newspapers.com/ [login required]. Newspaper notices also indicate that Chevreux was active in the community as a member of the “Working Committee of Ward 3,” Charleston Daily News, August 2, 1871, https://www.newspapers.com/ [login required]; and collecting funds from Charleston residents of French ancestry to aid soldiers during the Franco-Prussian War, “Relief for the Sick and Wounded in France,” Charleston Daily News, October 28, 1870, https://www.newspapers.com/ [login required].

[21] “A Beautiful Monument,” Intelligencer (Anderson, SC), August 20, 1874, https://www.newspapers.com/ [login required]. See also “Memorial Page for William Chiles Davis (24 Sep 1841–12 Nov 1873),” Find a Grave Memorial no. 72431916, maintained by David M. Habben (contributor 835), Find a Grave, accessed August 15, 2020, https://www.findagrave.com/memorial/72431916/william-chiles-davis. Thanks to Patrick Harwood for sharing this resource.

[22] “Italian Monuments,” Charleston Daily News, November 3, 1869 [emphasis original], https://www.newspapers.com/ [login required]. Notices of imports arriving in Charleston by ship between 1869 and 1872 frequently mention Chevreux, but not what he was importing. Based on the quality of the marble he used, I would speculate that it was blocks of uncarved marble from Italy.

[23] An early case study of this phenomenon is Theodore A. Gants, “Odoardo Fantacchiotti: His American Commissions,” in Due secoli di scultura attraverso la bottega Fantacchiotti-Gabrielle, exh. cat., Villa Renatico Martini, Florence (Florence: Edizioni Polistampa, 1995), 89–117. An early non-academic discussion is Sybil F. Crawford, “Imitation: A World of Cemetery Look-Alikes,” AGS Quarterly 27, no. 3 (Summer 2003): 8–11. Other scholarly studies include Franco Sborgi, “Companions on the Final Journey: Reflections on the Image of the Angel in Funerary Sculpture during the Nineteenth and Twentieth Centuries,” trans. Alison Packer, in Sandra Berresford, Italian Memorial Sculpture 1820–1940: A Legacy of Love (London: Frances Lincoln Limited, 2004), 200–213; Luca Bochiccio, “Transported Art: 19th-Century Italian Sculpture Across Continents and Cultures,” Material Culture Review 74/75 (Spring 2012): 70–85; and Mills, Beyond Grief, 165–77. Addressing related content is Francesco Freddolini, “Marketing Nineteenth-Century Italian Sculpture across the Atlantic: Artists, Dealers, and Auctioneers, ca. 1800–1840,” Nineteenth-Century Art Worldwide 14, no. 1 (Spring 2015), http://www.19thc-artworldwide.org/spring15/freddolini-on-marketing-italian-sculpture-across-the-atlantic; and Cinzia Sicca and Alison Yarrington, eds., Lustrous Trade: Material Culture and the History of Sculpture in England and Italy, c. 1700­–c. 1860 (London: Bloomsbury Academic, 2000).

[24] “Obituary, Chevreux,” Charleston Daily News, August 5, 1872, https://www.newspapers.com/ [login required]. Henry Marie Chevreux, “only and beloved son,” of E. F. and A. F. Chevreux, born November 29, 1857, died August 3, 1872.

[25] A. F. Chevreux, Workbook, 1881, Mitchell Library, Sydney, Australia. On the notebook, see Gilbert, “A Stonemason,” 76–80. Gilbert reports that Chevreux’s death record notes he married at age forty-eight a Josephine Laly in 1876 in the US, “of whom no more is known,” suggesting that he was in the US until at least 1876. The name does not correspond with his wife’s initials in his son’s obituary, perhaps indicating the death of or separation from a first wife before 1876 and a second marriage. Thanks to Siobhan Lavelle and Anne-Maree Whitaker for researching Chevreux in Australia, and Anne-Maree for providing photographs of the workbook.

[26] Clark, A Marble Quarry, 46. See also the study of another sculptor well known in nineteenth-century Italy yet little studied by English-language scholars, Giovanni Maria Benzoni, in Elisabeth L. Roark, “More than a ‘Pretty Little Statue’: Elizabeth Kennedy’s Gravemarker at Baltimore’s Green Mount Cemetery,” Maryland Historical Society Magazine 113, no. 2 (Fall/Winter 2018): 191n60.

[27] Elise Madeline Ciregna, “An Intellectual Life: Horatio Greenough and His Florentine Circle,” Open Inquiry Archives 3, no. 1 (2014): 20, https://openinquiryarchive.files.wordpress.com/. On Bartolini’s pioneering work modifying neoclassicism with greater naturalism, see Franca Falletti, Silvestra Bietoletti, and Annarita Caputo, eds., Lorenzo Bartolini: Beauty and Truth in Marble, exh. cat., Galleria dell’Accademia, Florence (Florence: Giunta Editore, 2011), the most comprehensive source; Anita Fiderer Moskowitz, Forging Authenticity: Bastianini and the Neo-Renaissance in Nineteenth-Century Florence, Arte e Archeologia Studi e Documenti 32 (Florence: Leo S. Olschki, 2016), 43–46; and Berresford, Italian Memorial Sculpture, 39, 45, 51, 148.

[28] “Bambina dell’età di deici anni in circa rappresentante un’orfanella, scolpti in marmo di prima qualità del più perfetto,” Niccolò Puccini quoted in Caputo Calloud, “Niccolò Puccini, Luigi Pampaloni,” 95. For Puccini’s ancestry and biography, see Laura Dominici, “Personaggi Pistoiese del Risorgimento. Niccolò Puccini,” unpublished manuscript, accessed June 3, 2020, https://www.academia.edu/.

[29] “Bimbo che prega esso pure eseguito in marmo,” Niccolò Puccini quoted in Caputo Calloud, “Niccolò Puccini, Luigi Pampaloni,” 95; “accentuare la rappresentazione sentimentale,” Caputo Calloud, “Niccolò Puccini, Luigi Pampaloni,” 94. This article includes illustrations of Pampaloni’s three preparatory sketches of the monument, described above, on pages 96–97.

[30] “Abbandate dall’avaricia degli uomini sulla rupe della miseria, vi scorgeranno immortale la Croce la quale incorona la loro fede, e somministra ai bisignose quanto loro fu negato dal mundo,” Niccolò Puccini, “Testamento di Niccolò Puccini,” Istituti Raggruppati, accessed July 28, 2020, https://www.istitutiraggruppati.eu/testamento-niccolo-puccini/. See Caputo Calloud, “Niccolò Puccini, Luigi Pampaloni,” 96, concerning the negotiations between artist and patron about the base, with Puccini ultimately choosing the rocky cliff.

[31] Caterina Y. Pierre, review of the exhibition Lorenzo Bartolini: scultore del bello naturale, Nineteenth-Century Art Worldwide 11, no. 3 (Autumn 2012), http://www.19thc-artworldwide.org/autumn12/pierre-reviews-lorenzo-bartolini.

[32] Pietro Contrucci, Monumenti del Giordano Puccini (Pistoia, Italy: Cino, 1846), illustration after page 126, https://doi.org/10.5962/bhl.title.16917; and John Dixon Hart, The Italian Garden: Art, Design, and Culture (Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 1966), 217–20. See also Laura Dominici, “‘Italia sia pure una volta sul serio.’ Il sogno di Niccolò Puccini nel Giardino di Scornia,” n.d., unpublished manuscript, 107–49, accessed June 3, 2020, https://www.academia.edu/; and Laura Domenici, “Il Giardino Puccini di Scornia a Pistoia Puccini. Genisi, evoluzione e significati di un’idea romantica,” Ricerche Storichi (1994): 1–34, https://www.academia.edu/. On the Festa see Caputo Calloud, “Niccolò Puccini, Luigi Pampaloni,” 93. His will, Puccini, “Testamento di Niccolò Puccini,” affirms that he had great sympathy for the poor and little patience with the aristocracy and the divisions that class created.

[33] “Poveri perché fossero educati alla società e non alla schiavitù,” Niccolò Puccini quoted in Caputo Calloud, “Niccolò Puccini, Luigi Pampaloni,” 94.

[34] Domenici, “Personaggi Pistoiese.”

[35] Frank Coppa, “Italy: The Church and the Risorgimento,” in The Cambridge History of Christianity, vol. 8, ed. Sheridan Gilley and Brian Stanley (Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 2005), 233–49, https://doi.org/10.1017/chol9780521814560.016 [login required]; Caputo Calloud, “Niccolò Puccini, Luigi Pampaloni,” 94, lists a number of Italian intellectuals who frequented Puccini’s villa and shaped his ideas on unification, including some who supported key roles for the Catholic Church.

[36] Domenici, “Personaggi Pistoiese”; and Laura Domenici, “Il lascito di Niccolò Puccini agli orfani pistoiesi,” Bulletino Storico Pistoiese 113, 3rd series, 46 (2011): 93–101, https://www.academia.edu/.

[37] On orphans in nineteenth-century literature (albeit British literature), see Marion Gymnich, “The Orphan in the Victorian Novel,” in The Orphan in Fiction and Comics since the 19th Century, ed. Marion Gymnich et al. (Newcastle upon Tyne, UK: Cambridge Scholars Publishing, 2018), 14–79. On the history of orphans and abandoned children in the West, including Italy, see David L. Ransel, “Orphans and Foundlings,” Encyclopedia of European Social History, accessed July 10, 2020, https://www.encyclopedia.com/international/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/orphans-and-foundlings; addressing Italian orphans specifically is David I. Kertzer, “Gender, Ideology, and Infant Abandonment in Nineteenth-Century Italy,” Journal of Interdisciplinary History 22, no. 1 (Summer 1991): 1–25, https://doi.org/10.2307/204563; David I. Kertzer, Heather Kovall, and Michael J. White, “Growing Up as an Abandoned Child in Nineteenth-Century Italy,” The History of the Family 2, no. 3 (1997): 211–28, https://doi.org/10.1016/s1081–602x(97)90013–0 [login required]; and David I. Kertzer and Michael J. White, “Cheating the Angel-Makers: Surviving Infant Abandonment in Nineteenth-Century Italy,” Continuity and Change 9, no. 3 (1994): 451–80. Several of these sources note that the foundling wheel, invented in Italy in the Middle Ages (as were the first foundling hospitals in Europe), allowed the abandonment of children anonymously. Thus, the numbers likely include legitimate children and children with living parents as well.

[38] “Ti parlano col vero linguaggio della natura,” Melchior Missirini quoted in Caputo Calloud, “Niccolò Puccini, Luigi Pampaloni,” 95.

[39] The full quotation is: “Ecco infatti ch’egli ebba porto un’altra bambina che chiamò l’Orfanella; derelitta di tutto, senza genitori, nell’età della pubertà abbandonasi sulla terra. Ma come quella che avea conoscimento del sua stato, e dove dovea dirigere i voti, innalza dolcemente gli occhi al cielo e chiede ajuto dal Signore Iddio: Son misera faniciulla, ho perduto / L’uno e l’atro parente; / Ahi! Che solo mi avanza? / Il tuo Divino aiuto, / O Nume Omnipossente, / Tu siai ben ache in altrui non ho speranza! / Così dice, e colla sua bellissima forma, e col pianto della sue sventure rende pietosi tutti quelli che l’ammirano,” Melchior Missirini, Memoirie sulla vita e sui lavori dell’insigne scultore Fiorentino, Luigi Pampaloni, raccolte da Melchior Missirini, ed. Lorenzo Antonini (Florence: Adriano Salami, 1882), 20–21, https://archive.org/details/memoriesullavita00anto.

[40] “Non correranno molti anni, che le fioriranno sul volte e nella persona le bellezze e le attrattiva di una rigogliosa adolescenza,” Celestino Bianchi, “Gli Orfani sulla rupe, gruppo in marmo, da Luigi Pampaloni,” L’Omnibus pittoresco enciclopedia letteraria ed artistica con figure incise in rame, trans. Eric Edward Johnson, March 8, 1852, 289, Google Books, https://tinyurl.com/y2uyz95f.

[41] Kertzer, “Gender Ideology,” 22–24.

[42] Cecily Devereux, “‘The Maiden Tribute’ and the Rise of the White Slave in the Nineteenth Century: The Making of an Imperial Construct,” Victorian Review 26, no. 2 (2001): 1–23, https://doi.org/10.1353/vcr.2000.0009; Ronald B. Flowers, The Victimization and Exploitation of Women and Children: A Study of Physical, Mental and Sexual Maltreatment in the United States (Jefferson, NC: McFarland, 1994), 54; Heather Montgomery, “Prostitution (Child),” The International Encyclopedia of Human Sexuality, ed. Patricia Whelehan and Anne Bolin (Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley & Sons, 2015), https://doi.org/10.1002/9781118896877.wbiehs378. As noted in “Child Prostitution,” Encyclopedia.com, accessed December, 25, 2020, https://www.encyclopedia.com/children/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/child-prostitution, “Unfortunately, obtaining historical . . . evidence about the phenomenon of child prostitution is difficult. . . . even where evidence is available, it is fragmented, sporadic, and often cased in the language of morality. . . . Historically, little has been published on the subject and information is particularly scarce before the late nineteenth century.” I found nothing specifically on underage prostitution in Italy (although much on prostituting women).

[43] Clark, A Marble Quarry, 47; and Annarita Caputo Calloud, “Note su Luigi Pampaloni,” trans. Matteo Talotta, Richerche di storia dell’arte 13, no. 4 (1981): 56–59. There is confusion in some literature regarding Pampaloni’s Potocki and Tyszkiewicz commissions because Anna Tyszkiewicz’s married name was Potocka (see Clark, A Marble Quarry, 47), but Caputo Calloud, “Note su Luigi Pampaloni,” 56–59, confirms that these were two separate commissions, as does Maria Teresa Sorrenti, “Per il collezionismo region dell’800. Il ‘Putto orante’ della Biblioteca ‘Pietro De Nava,’” n.d., unpublished manuscript, accessed December 31, 2020, https://www.academia.edu/.

[44] Caputo Calloud, “Note su Luigi Pampaloni,” 57; Moskowitz, Forging Authenticity, 85; and Clark, A Marble Quarry, 47.

[45] “Di questo Putto non si può dire solo che piacque, ma che destò un universale commovimento, perchè furono più che dodici lo repliche per soddisfare alle domande di molti illustri signori di Russia, di Bavaria, di Francia”; “tutti i cimiteri di Europa”; “entrando a visitare i famosi Cimiteri di Parigi, vide sempre all’ingresso un cameretta piena di questi putti,” Missirini, Luigi Pampaloni, 13.

[46] Collector Paulo Tosio quoted in Bruno Passamani, Dai neoclassici ai futuristi ed oltre: proposte una civica galleria d’arte moderna e contemporanea, ed. Renata Stradiotti (Brescia, Italy: Assessorato ai bene e alle attività culturali, Civici musei d’arte e storia, Galleria d’arte moderna e contemporanea, 1989), 78.

[47] “Fanciullo pregante . . . si trova ora riprodotto a migliaia in marmo e in gesso,” Bianchi, “Gli Orfani sulla rupe,” 289.

[48] Clark, A Marble Quarry, 46–49; and Caputo Calloud, “Note su Luigi Pampaloni,” 56–70.

[49] Ingeborg Schemper-Sparholz, “Lorenzo Bartolini and Luigi Pampaloni in the Former Metternich Collection,” in Lorenzo Bartolini: Atti delle giornate di studio, ed. Silvestra Bietoletti, Annarita Caputo, and Franca Falletti (Pistoia, Italy: Gli Orli, 2014), 98–99, https://www.academia.edu/; and Clark, A Marble Quarry, 46–47.

[50] Clark, A Marble Quarry, 47. In fact, it was Pampaloni’s facility with sculptures of children that is most commented upon in late nineteenth-century and early twentieth-century sources, especially Putto Orante, which is recognized as his most enduring work. See Ashton Rollands Willard, History of Modern Italian Art (London: Longmans, Green, 1898), 116–17, https://archive.org/; James Penney Boyd, Triumphs and Wonders of the 19th Century (Philadelphia: A. J. Holman and Co., 1899), 604, https://babel.hathitrust.org/; Orison Swet Marden, The Success Library, vol. 18 (New York: The Success Co., ca. 1901–2), 3591, https://archive.org/; and Alan Marquand and Arthur L. Frothingham, A Text-Book of the History of Sculpture (New York: Longmans, Green, 1905), 244, https://babel.hathitrust.org/.

[51] Changing attitudes toward children and childhood, which affect our view of sentimentality, are addressed in Hugh Cunningham, Children and Childhood in Western Society since 1500, 2nd ed. (Harlow, UK: Pearson Education Limited, 2005).

[52] Fred S. Licht, “Italian Funerary Sculpture after Canova,” in Berresford, Italian Memorial Sculpture, 32.

[53] Missirini, Luigi Pampaloni, 12–13.

[54] Karin Calvert, Children in the House: The Material Culture of Early Childhood, 1600–1900 (Boston: Northeastern University Press, 1992), 98, discusses the androgyny of very young children as common in nineteenth-century culture and evident in the lack of distinction in dress and hair for very young boys and girls.

[55] Reynolds’s original version of Infant Samuel at Prayer is at the National Gallery of Art, London. Many prints after Infant Samuel, some more faithful to Reynolds’s original than others, appear online. Although most are undated, the appearance of the text suggests dates ranging from the 1820s to the early twentieth century (one on Etsy is dated 1939). Colleen McDannell, Material Christianity: Religion and Popular Culture in America (New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 1995), 1, illustrates an interior view of an African American home photographed in 1941 that includes a print of Infant Samuel, which McDannell identifies as among the interior’s “traditional Christian objects and iconography.” Tosio, the art collector, notes that the English called the sculpture Samuel, the Florentines St. John, and the “Napoleonics” the son of Napoleon praying for his father. See Sorrenti, “Per il collezionismo.”

[56] Mrs. White, “‘Le Jardin de la Morte’ at Boulogne,” Ainsworth’s Magazine: A Miscellany of Romance, General Literature and Art, vol. 15, ed. William Harrison Ainsworth (London: Chapman and Paul, 1849), 39, https://books.google.com/.

[57] Advertisements for Pampaloni’s exhibitions appear in the English press, see The Illustrated London News (London: Elm House, 1857), and “Italian Collection of M. Du Bouley,” The Illustrated London News, May 16, 1857, 47, https://books.google.com/.

[58] “American Travelers and American Artists in Europe,” New York Times, October 15, 1865, https://www.nytimes.com/ [login required].

[59] N[ehemiah] Cleaveland, A Handbook for Green-Wood (New York: E. B. Tripp, 1873), 50, https://babel.hathitrust.org/.

[60] Boyd, Triumphs and Wonders, 604. [Comma added for clarity.]

[61] Lauren Lessing, “Re-Reading Seymour Guy’s Making a Train,” American Art 25, no. 1 (Spring 2014): 96–111. Jane Hunter, How Young Ladies Became Girls: The Victorian Origins of American Girlhood (New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 1992), addresses anxieties surrounding female adolescence, as does Crista Deluzio, Female Adolescence in American Scientific Thought, 1830–1930 (Baltimore, MD: John Hopkins University Press, 2007). On perceptions of childhood innocence, see Hugh Cunningham, introduction to Children and Childhood, 1–17, 41–42; Holly Pyne Connor, “The Flowering of Girlhood Narratives, 1850–1870,” in Angels and Tomboys: Girlhood in Nineteenth-Century American Art, ed. Holly Pyne Connor, exh. cat., Newark Museum of Art (San Francisco: Pomegranate, 2012), 21; and Claire Perry, Young America: Childhood in 19th-Century Art and Culture, exh. cat., Iris & B. Gerald Cantor Center for Visual Arts, Stanford University (New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 2006), 34–71. See also Laura Groves Napolitano, “Nurturing Change: Lilly Martin Spencer’s Images of Children” (PhD diss., University of Maryland, 2008), 22–43.

[62] Gretchen Sinnett, review of the exhibition Angels and Tomboys: Girlhood in 19th-Century American Art, Newark Museum, Nineteenth-Century Art Worldwide 12, no. 2 (Autumn 2013), http://www.19thc-artworldwide.org/autumn13/sinnett-reviews-angels-and-tomboys.

[63] David Lubin, “Guys and Dolls: Framing Femininity in Post-Civil War America,” in Picturing a Nation: Art and Social Change in Nineteenth-Century America (New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 1994), 204–71, argues that in Making a Train any seductiveness is precluded by the girl’s “aura of unassailable innocence”; Lessing, “Seymour Guy’s Making a Train,” 96–111, argues that the “precocious sexuality of the girl” is explicit and related to a larger moral message warning against the impact of burgeoning consumerism. Both question the ability of North Americans to understand such readings.

[64] On Dressing for the Rehearsal, see Sinnett, review of the exhibition Angels and Tomboys. One cannot help but compare this work to Edvard Munch’s later painting, Puberty (1894­–95, National Museum of Art, Architecture and Design, Oslo) where the girl’s anxiety is more pronounced and the shadow more ominous. See “Puberty,” Encyclopedia of Children and Childhood in History and Society, vol. 2, ed. Paula S. Fass (New York: Macmillan Reference USA and Thomson Gale, 2004), 702–3. Dressing for the Rehearsal also raises the issue of girls in the theater and ballet, where skimpy clothing was often featured to accentuate the girls’ bodies and attract male patrons.

[65] Lubin, Picturing a Nation, 242.

[66] Lessing, “Seymour Guy’s Making a Train,” 103–4; Anne Higonnet, Pictures of Innocence: The History and Crisis of Ideal Childhood (London: Thames & Hudson, 1998), 8, 27, 30, 36–38. The final quote is from Loren Lerner, “Innocence,” in Girl Culture: An Encyclopedia, vol. 2, ed. Claudia A. Mitchell and Jacqueline Reid-Walsh (Westport, CT: Greenwood, 2008), 366.

[67] Bianchi, “Gli Orfani sulla rupe,” 289.

[68] “La morte è casta e mal si confanno le provacanti nudità ai cimiteri,” Carlo Ramussi, “Il Monumento di E. Butti: Premiato all’esposizione di Brera,” Emporio pittoresco 16 (October 26–November 1, 1879): 193–94, https://www.bdl.servizirl.it/. Like US rural cemeteries, Italy’s monumental cemeteries were founded in the nineteenth century to solve the problems of inner-city burials. See Hannah Malone, Architecture, Death and Nationhood: Monumental Cemeteries of Nineteenth-Century Italy (London: Routledge, 2017).

[69] “Daniel Heyward,” Find a Grave.

[70] Grace Greenwood, “A Spring Flower,” Godey’s Lady’s Book, May 1848, 253–54.

[71] “Lupus: Symptoms and Causes,” Mayo Clinic, accessed December 26, 2020, https://www.mayoclinic.org/; “How Lupus Affects the Central Nervous System,” Lupus Foundation of America: Resources on Lupus, accessed December 26, 2020, https://www.lupus.org/; and Bahman Rasuli and Rohit Sharma, “Systemic Lupus Erythematosus (CNS Manifestations),” Radiopaedia, accessed December 26, 2020, https://radiopaedia.org/.

[72] Kirk Savage, “The Unknowable Dead: The Civil War and the Origins of Modern Commemoration,” in The Civil War in Art and Memory, ed. Kirk Savage, Studies in the History of Art 81 (New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 2016), 94. Savage cites the work of social anthropologist Alfred Gell, “The Technology of Enchantment and the Enchantment of Technology,” in Anthropology, Art, and Aesthetics, ed. Jeremy Coote and Anthony Shelton (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1992), 40–66, a pioneer in defining the agency of inanimate objects, particularly artworks, which mediate social agency and trigger emotions through humans’ relationships with them.

[73] Jennifer Van Horn, The Power of Objects in Eighteenth-Century British America (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 2017), 173, 192–93. Van Horn cites the work of art historians Marcia Pointon and Jennifer Roberts, and, on gravestones’ anthropomorphism, Frederick Burgess, English Churchyard Memorials (London: Lutterworth Press, 1963), 119–20; and Sally Promey, “Seeing the Self ‘in Frame’: Early New England Material Practice and Puritan Piety,” Material Religion 1, no. 1 (March 2005): 21–32.

[74] Annette Stott, “Personhood and Agency: A Theoretical Approach to Gravemarkers in Mainstream American Culture,” Markers XXXV: The Annual Journal of the Association for Gravestone Studies (2019): 46–82. Stott cites the scholars who influenced this study, including Gell, social anthropologist Arjun Appadurai, anthropologist Igor Kopytoff, political theorist Jane Bennet, ethicist Stephen Pattison, and art historians Hans Belting, Dell Upton, and David Morgan. The term “monumental body” was originated by art historian Nigel Llewellyn, Art of Death: Visual Culture in the English Death Ritual, c. 1500–c. 1800 (London: Reaktion Books, 1991).

[75] Stott, “Personhood and Agency,” 74–75.

[76] Although Mauri D. McInnes et al., In Pursuit of Refinement: Charlestonians Abroad, 1740–1860, exh. cat., Gibbes Museum of Art (Columbia: University of South Carolina Press, 1999), 225–26, where it is titled Trust in God, ca. 1836, identifies the sculpture’s patron as a John Izard Middleton, this is corrected on the museum’s website, where Charles Izard Manigault is listed as the patron, see Object Record, Trust in God, Lorenzo Bartolini, The Gibbes Museum of Art, Charleston, SC, accessed July 20, 2020, https://gibbesmuseum.pastperfectonline.com/. The Gibbes Museum also owns the portrait Charles Izard Manigault and His Family in Rome, painted in 1831 by Ferdinando Cavalleri on one of the family’s grand tours. See Google Arts & Culture, Charles Izard Manigault and His Family in Rome, Ferdinando Cavalleri, accessed July 20, 2020, https://artsandculture.google.com/.

[77] On the description of La fiducia in Dio as an adolescent, see Falletti, Lorenzo Bartolini, 310–13. Here, the work’s significance is affirmed by its selection as the cover photograph. It also notes that Bartolini’s studio produced reductions of the sculpture; the Gibbes version is nineteen inches in height. The original version is life size and is at the Museo Poldi Pezzoli in Milan. Also instructive as comparisons with Pampaloni’s L’Orfanella are Bartolini’s Napoléone Elisa with Her Dog (1812), 206–7, which notes “the unusual decision to portray the girl entirely nude” as misunderstood in a 1972 source as “kitsch,” and his Teresina Balbi Senárega as a Praying Angel, created in 1847–49 for a young girl who died of typhoid, 332–33. See also Pierre, review of Lorenzo Bartolini.

[78] Trust in God, Lorenzo Bartolini, Google Arts & Culture, accessed July 23, 2020, https://artsandculture.google.com/.

[79] Falletti, Lorenzo Bartolini, 310–11. As further evidence of its acclaim, artist Paolo Toschi made two engravings of La fiducia in Dio and odes were written to it. See also “Bartolini, Lorenzo, Trust in God,” Web Gallery of Art, accessed July 23, 2020, https://www.wga.hu/; Pierre, review of Lorenzo Bartolini; and Moskowitz, Forging Authenticity, 45n41–42.

[80] On the Rich monument, see Melissa Banta and Meg L. Wilson, The Art of Commemoration and America’s First Rural Cemetery (Cambridge, MA: Friends of Mount Auburn Cemetery, 2015), 56. On the Baldelli monument, see, “The Sculptors Associated with Florence’s ‘English Cemetery,’” Association of Significant Cemeteries in Europe, accessed July 21, 2020, http://www.florin.ms/sculptors.html#BARTOLINI.

[81] See note 23 for recent research in this area. The Italian origin of marbles in nineteenth-century North American cemeteries was noted anecdotally in the early decades of the rural cemetery movement. However, there has been little systematic study of the transatlantic mobility of Italian memorial sculpture, in part due to how difficult it is to document because so few monuments are signed. Yet it is deserving of more attention, for, as this study demonstrates, Italian academic sculpture may have had a profound impact on what we see in North American cemeteries today.