Hiram Powers, an American sculptor, born in Woodstock, Vt., July 29, 1805, died in Florence, Italy, June 27, 1873. He passed his youth on his father's farm, and emigrated with the family to Ohio; and on the death of his father soon afterward he settled in Cincinnati, where he was first a clerk, and then an apprentice to a clockmaker. Learning from a German sculptor the art of modelling in clay, he made some busts and medallions of considerable merit, and for seven years had charge of the waxwork department of the western museum at Cincinnati. In 1835 he went to Washington, where he was for some time employed in modelling busts of distinguished men. With the assistance of Nicholas Longworth of Cincinnati, he was enabled in 1837 to visit Italy, and settled in Florence, which continued to be his home till his death. He at first devoted himself chiefly to modelling busts; but in 1838 he produced an ideal statue of Eve, which Thorwaldsen pronounced a masterpiece. A year later he finished the model of his " Greek Slave," his most widely known work, of which at least six duplicates in marble have been made, besides casts and reduced copies.
Among other well known works by him are the "Fisher Boy," of which three repetitions in marble have been produced; "II Penseroso;" "Proserpine," a bust; "California;" "America," modelled for the crystal palace at Sydenham, England; and portrait statues of Washington for the state of Louisiana, of Calhoun for South Carolina, which has been called his best work of the kind, and of Webster for Massachusetts. Of his busts, which comprise much the greater part of his works, those of Adams, Jackson, Webster, Calhoun, Chief Justice Marshall, Everett, and Van Buren are well known and striking specimens. His latest ideal productions are " The Last of his Tribe," a statue of an Indian maiden, and a "Head of Jesus Christ." Powers invented a process of modelling in plaster which, by obviating the necessity of taking a clay model, expedites the labor of the sculptor.