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William Couper (American, 1853-1942) Tennyson's Princess

Auction:
2609B
Lot:
431
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Auction:
American & European Works of Art - 2609B
Location:
Boston
Date / Time :
September 07, 2012 12:00PM

Description:

William Couper (American, 1853-1942)

Tennyson's Princess, 1882
Incised signature "Wm. Couper" on the base reverse.
Carved Carrara marble, approximately 29 x 20 x 12 in. (73.7 x 50.8 x 30.5 cm), mounted to a carved marble socle and set upon a carved wood and velvet-upholstered column.
Condition: Minor loss to base, minor surface imperfections.

Provenance: Through a private Boston collection.

N.B. The sculpture depicts Princess Ida, the central character of Alfred, Lord Tennyson's 1847 poem, The Princess: A Medley. Ida believes that women are superior to men, and chooses to establish a women's college over accepting a prince's hand in marriage. Ida's headstrong independence is no match for fate, however, and through a comedy of errors, Ida marries the prince that she was betrothed to at birth. While the poem's ending was conventional for its time, it was still among the first to engage with the debate over equal rights for women in Britain, as championed by Mary Wollstonecraft in the late 18th century.

Another example of this sculpture is in the permanent collection of the Smithsonian American Art Museum.
Estimate $9,000-12,000

Plinth approximately 46 x 16 x 16 in.

Keywords

William Couper, Ida, Mary Wollstonecraft, Britain, Smithsonian American Art Museum, Smithsonian

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