- · vol. 15 · no. 3 · Spring 2015

Object Lessons
Sponsored by the Chipstone Foundation

Christopher M.B. Allison
Holy Man, Holy Head
John Wesley's Busts in the Atlantic World

Busts are odd things. Heads free of their bodies, severed at the shoulders, often at the neck, and plopped on architectural bases. They emerge from the sides of buildings, arise from monuments, line libraries, occupy museums, attend grave markers, and greet us from dreary governmental buildings. Busts are, in essence, decapitated heads. And perhaps, in that sense, it isn't a surprise that the Romans were the first to pioneer the form, as they slashed their way across the Mediterranean world. Most cultures have fixated on the head in their efforts to represent people. After all, the head is where we do our thinking, speaking, listening, and where our emotions reveal themselves—the whole self in a small compass, as it were. But there is always a whiff of destruction in the desire to capture the body in stony substance. The body is not above decay, but in order to set it in stone, humans must cut, chisel, smother, cast, even fire—enact a series of small deaths to represent the body in perpetuity.

At the center of Protestant devotion to eminent divines is mimesis—an urge to be cast in the mold of their preeminent saint.

Despite the ambivalence, sometimes verging on antagonism, among Protestants towards the sacred image, this essay tracks a fixation on the severed head of a prominent Protestant divine, even saint: John Wesley, the preeminent founder and leader of the evangelical movement known as Methodism (fig. 1). Wesley's head was not chiseled out of fine marble, but almost exclusively cast in pottery. Efforts to capture Wesley's body and possess a part of his "true nature" participated in a mid- to late-eighteenth-century obsession with highly realistic portraiture, in sculpture as much as painting. But instead of a block of stone from whence a head emerged, a modeled clay depiction of the holy man from "life" was made into a mold and mass-produced in a dizzying array of pottery forms across the Atlantic world. These countless molds were filled and fired with the clay of the small landlocked county of Staffordshire, England. In so doing, Wesley's presence was transferred in ways that transcended his printed words and transferred not only his bodily image, but the actual land and labor of an area of England that held him in special regard.

At the center of Protestant devotion to eminent divines is mimesis—an urge to be cast in the mold of their preeminent saint. But it would be eighteenth-century Staffordshire potters who would do this work first. Through their massive production they were able to assert their "great man" as a means of connecting a rapidly expanding but scattered Methodist tradition, and as a means of applying the firm pressure of the past upon their tumultuous present.

1. A selection of "Wesleyana." Courtesy Wesleyan University Library, Special Collections & Archives. Photo by the author.

2. John Wesley figurine, mid-19th century. Painted lead glazed pearlware. Possibly Minton (Minton design books contain similar designs). Molds were often copied and shared among Staffordshire potteries. Courtesy Wesleyan University Library, Special Collections & Archives. Photo by the author.

Objects are prone to legend. They have a tendency to accrue more myth than history, and more hearsay than labels. The material culture of this Protestant saint is no exception. In an unknown location in England, at an unknown time, an artist, Mr. Culy, invited a friend over for evening tea. After initial pleasantries, the two were soon circumnavigating the artists' home gallery of portrait busts. One bust stood out to his visitor. Who is this, the friend asked? Why, it is a bust of the "Rev. John Wesley," the artist replied. His visitor was enamored, and he was not alone. Culy told his visitor that it "struck Lord Shelburne in the same manner as it does you." But when Lord Shelburne learned that it was John Wesley, he was aghast: "He—that race of fanatics!" Culy had assured Shelburne that Wesley was a very humble man, and had always refused to have his likeness taken, thinking it "nothing but vanity." But after offering Wesley "10 Guineas" for every ten minutes he would sit for him—"knowing you value money for the means of doing good"—Wesley amazingly assented. So Wesley removed his coat, lay on the couch, and the artist prepared the plaster, and laid the wet, cold substance on Wesley's bare face. After eight minutes, Culy "had the most perfect bust" he had "ever taken." Wesley washed his face, "counted the ten guineas in his hand," and said, "I never till now earned money so speedily—but what shall we do with it?" For Wesley, it turns out, this wasn't hard. On the way home he encountered the suffering dregs of British society: "a poor woman crying bitterly," "a poor wretch who was greedily eating some potato skins," a "man, or rather a skeleton," a "young woman in the last stage of consumption," an "infant, quite dead," and a heavily indebted lawyer. Soon Wesley's 10 guineas were consumed in his efforts to alleviate this deluge of suffering. After hearing this story, Lord Shelburne's heart was softened against the leader of the "race of fanatics," and in response, he "immediately ordered a dozen of the busts to embellish the grounds of his beautiful residence." Shelburne's transformation, from indignation to devotion, was a powerful story of how the bodily representation of John Wesley could overcome anti-evangelical prejudice and transform it to devotion, all with the help of a story attached to a thing.

This legend about the origin story of John Wesley's bust and its power was reprinted widely in America in nineteenth-century religious and secular periodicals. One reason for the dissemination of the story was the growing presence of John Wesley, not only in prints that could be tacked to walls, or on copper engravings printed in the frontispiece of books, or on the name of institutions, but in the growing ubiquity of his representation in pottery form. "Wesleyana" flooded middling and lower domestic spaces across the British Isles and North America from the late eighteenth century on. This has led some experts to claim, perhaps in a moment of exaggeration, that Wesley was the most represented British person in ceramics in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, probably only surpassed by Queen Victoria. Another reason for the popularity of the story was a desire that the prized busts of Wesley were directly related to his actual face, an indexical portrait that circumvented the mediation of an artist. It wasn't simply an image of Wesley, open to exaggeration or enhancement. Through the direct contact of plaster on his living face, it was Wesley, more than any other image of the man. This alleviated a lingering Protestant unease with the sacred image, by promising a representation "from nature," of which God was the undisputed artist.

3. "The Founders and Pioneers of Methodism," collotype print, original by Charles C. Goss (and Theodosia C. Goss, attributed), engraved (albertype process) by Edward Bierstadt (New York, 1873). Courtesy of the American Antiquarian Society, Worcester, Massachusetts. Click for larger image and more information.

Wesley appeared not only in busts, but also on plates, teapots, clocks, medallions, intaglio presses, door knockers, wax profiles, walking sticks and figurines (fig. 2). Nearly all of this pottery came from Staffordshire. These objects were like action figures in a period when Methodism was exhibiting its otherworldly strength. In America, this strength was on full display. On the eve of the Declaration of Independence, there were only 69 Methodist congregations in the American Colonies. By 1850, there were almost 200,000. Whereas in the eighteenth century Methodists trailed nearly every other sect, by the Civil War they claimed a third of American church members (church attendance was even higher). This led President Ulysses S. Grant to quip in 1868 that "there were three great parties in the United States: The Republican, the Democratic, and the Methodist Church." This expansive growth, forged on reaches of the Atlantic world, has led one prominent historian to call Methodism an "empire of the Spirit." In Methodism's rapidly expanding solar system, John Wesley was its burning sun (fig. 3). Wesley chose the songs that Methodists sang; he selected (and mercilessly edited) the books Methodists read; he dictated Methodist religious practices; he expressed their first ethical positions; he set their theological doctrines; he established their organizational structure—he was the movement's most powerful religious force.

Staffordshire potteries were clustered in the small towns of Burslem, Tunstall, Stoke, Hanley, Longton, and Fenton (fig. 4). These pottery factories maintained a stranglehold on the middling Atlantic pottery market from the late eighteenth century on. Most of the firms persist to this day—familiar names such as Wedgwood, Minton, and Spode—and enjoy avid collecting communities. The five major pottery towns were landlocked, but they laid beside a turnpike that led to the ports in Liverpool. The completion of the Trent and Mersey Canal in 1771 gave the potteries port access to the world, and this accelerated north Staffordshire's already well-established pottery industry. They had a near-perfect situation for Atlantic dominance. The towns' historic reputation for pottery drew skilled artisans from across England. Coal and clay were abundant in the rolling hills, often at the very same sites. Transportation became easier and cheaper by the year. Many shrewd businessmen led the pottery firms, combining a razor-sharp sensitivity to shifts in "taste," along with a tendency to embrace mechanical and scientific innovation. Living in the intimidating shadow of Chinese porcelain, Staffordshire potters discovered new methods of expression—from glossy glazes to colored enamels, and from elegant white creamwares to dark, durable redwares. The resulting products varied widely as well, from whimsical "toby jugs" to classical sculptures, from jasperware (a colored, mock porcelain) to transfer prints (a method of transferring inky text and design onto fired clay). By the nineteenth century, most middling Americans enjoyed their dinners and took their tea from ceramics made from the clay, thrown by the potters, and fired from the coal of Staffordshire.

John Wesley first came to the North Staffordshire town of Burslem in March of 1760, and he described it as a "scattered town on top of a hill, inhabited almost entirely by potters." Methodism thrived in Staffordshire. Wesley stopped there annually, in his wide circuit of Methodist societies and chapels. Looking backward in 1784, he called Burslem "the first [Methodist] society in the country, and it is still the largest and the most in earnest." In the years after Wesley began visiting Staffordshire regularly, the potters had begun to make portrait medallions of the great leader, a representational tradition that would be greatly expanded and perfected by Josiah Wedgwood (fig. 5). These small likenesses of the preacher were often given as gifts, from one Methodist to another. This practice inaugurated a long tradition of giving little Wesleys to establish bonds between Methodists near and far. This appears to be the way the first potted Wesleys made their way to American shores—gifts from traveling Staffordshire potters on business trips to their American sisters and brothers. Over this particular body, bonds could be made. The other means of American collecting was pilgrimage. As many prominent American Methodists traveled to their English holy land, they often brought Wesley relics back with them—pressed flowers from his childhood home, personal relics, like his glasses, or the velvet from his chair, and most commonly, pottery. They were souvenirs, for sure, but it was often more—a desire to possess the material of a very particular, venerated life. The busts thus often earned the title of "relic," not only for being old, but also for their purported "exact representation" of the elderly religious leader. This was not simply a "likeness" of Wesley, but somehow carried a part of him. The legend of "Mr. Culy" making a bust from a life-mask became too enticing to deny. Despite the legendary tale with which this essay opened, it was not "Mr. Culy," but rather Enoch Wood, who would sculpt with his fingers—rather than a life mask—the standard Wesley bust in 1781.

4. The pottery towns of Burslem, Tunstall, Stoke, Hanley, Longton, and Fenton were clustered in the north of Staffordshire. A New Physical, Historical & Political Map of England and Wales, by John Andrews. (London, 1786). Courtesy of the American Antiquarian Society, Worcester, Massachusetts. Click image for enlargement (with cities marked) in new window.

5. Jasperware cameo portrait medallion of John Wesley in gilt frame. Wedgwood Manufactory (late 18th century). Courtesy Wesleyan University Library, Special Collections & Archives. Photo by the author.

Enoch Wood grew up among the distinctive bottle kilns of Burslem, in a potter's family that specialized in modeled figurines. Young Enoch demonstrated considerable talent, using spare pieces of abandoned clay to try his hand at sculpting. When Enoch was fourteen, some traveling artists came to town, with a box in tow. Beneath the mahogany encasing and a velvet lining was a wax crucifix. Wood watched his fellow townspeoples' astonishment in seeing the crucifix, "how it seemed to soften their hearts and open their purses." He knew he could do better. So he endeavored to make a bigger, better crucifix, hoping to take it on the road, and with his earnings, see the world. Four years later, he amazed his fellow potters with an even more impressive production of a three dimensional, basso relief of John David Rubens' Descent from the Cross, made in the famous blue and white of jasperware. It is unclear if these early artistic efforts helped Enoch see the world (he at least made it to Liverpool to study art and anatomy), but his pottery would travel far. And he never forgot the lesson of marshalling his talent for economic gain. He became a master potter in his early twenties and led a long career of pottery production that specialized in ceramic products for the American market. If Josiah Wedgwood was the recognized "prince" of the Staffordshire potteries, Enoch Wood, by the end of his life, would be remembered as their "father."

In 1781, at the age of twenty-two, Enoch Wood had the sculpting opportunity of his lifetime. Through a fellow potter, he arranged to "take" Wesley's head. In five separate sittings, Wood used modeling clay to sculpt the holy man as he was hunched over, catching up on correspondence. Enoch's wife, Ann, tried to help, attempting to divert Mr. Wesley with some polite conversation. But she couldn't get him to look up from his letters for long. As a result, Enoch's sculpture "from life" was a bit too accurate. Wesley was impressed, saying it was the best likeness that had ever been taken of him, but Wood had copied the concentration on his brow with a bit too much fidelity. He looked stern and harsh. And Wood had embarrassed Wesley's manservant by copying his rumpled clerical gowns, which had been crushed in his travel bags. So Wesley sat back down for a few minutes, and Wood gave him a lift (though his clothes would remain crushed in the early editions of the bust) (fig. 6). Wesley was pleased and told Wood not to touch it, lest he "mar" it. Wood had a tradition of placing small medallions on the rear of his busts that gave the name, age of the sitter, and an additional note about the person's life—"any remarkable occurrence." Without the "smallest hesitation," Wesley told Wood his remarkable moment. For Wesley it was the story of being saved from the flames of his family home in Epworth as a child, and that Wood should write on the medallion, "Is not this a brand plucked from the fire."

6. John Wesley by Enoch Wood (ca. 1781), painted terracotta, with an open back. Tipple Collection, Object 203, from the Methodist Collection at Drew University, Madison, New Jersey. Photo by the author.

7. Four 19th-century Staffordshire pottery busts from three or four different molds. Methodist Collection at Drew University, Madison, New Jersey. Photo by the author.

Wood went home and made a cast of his sculpture, copying the realistic loose jowls, wrinkles, raised veins, scars, and dimpled chin. When he decided where to crop the body in order to place the copies on bases, he cut the arms and left the head and the heart. This was an appropriate choice for the man, given that scholars have understood Wesley as what one of his biographers calls a "reasonable enthusiast," a combination of enlightenment intellect and experiential feeling. Soon Wood was selling copies of the work, painted on terra-cotta, with an open back, to some of Wesley's closest admirers. He exhibited the bust to a gathering of Methodist ministers later that year, all of whom marveled at the stunning accuracy of "so exact a resemblance of that great man." A Christian lesson was never far behind these exhibitions. As Wood was leaving the meeting, one of the ministers, John Fletcher, chased the sculptor down in the churchyard. Fletcher grilled Wood on his technique, and then stood on one of the nearby graves, and preached about God as the potter of human souls, using Wood's process as a metaphor for the Holy Spirit's work in reproducing God's image on soft, pliable human hearts.

After Wesley's death in 1791, Wood began mass-producing Wesley busts in a wide variety of media. Just as hagiographers after Wesley's death smoothed over Wesley's rough personal imperfections—such as his abysmal home life—so a gradual loss of fidelity was introduced in the Staffordshire production of Wesley's body. The molds began to wear out and break; new, derivative molds were made. On the subsequent busts Wesley's gaze moved gradually heavenward. His wrinkles were smoothed. His jowls became taut on his face, and the decoration more fanciful, and amateur—in part because children took over the work of decoration in the factories (fig. 7). Around the 1830s, some factories even took custom decoration orders from consumers and made diverse castings to expand merchants' offerings. Would you like your Wesley with red or black hair? Young or old? A marbled base or a colorful swirl? Would you like him to look like Lord Byron, or would you prefer him perched upon a fake clock? And so Wesley's admirers gained the power to shape his presence in their homes.

But even as Wesleyana moved away from the realm of respectable sculpture toward bric--brac, Wood's original composition remained the standard representation of the man, upon which all prior and subsequent images were measured. Sculptors looked to Enoch Wood's uncanny likeness for the public monuments to the man that appeared in Britain and America in the nineteenth century. The bust was so central to Wood's career that he asked to be buried with an early copy, installed in the wall of his family vault in Burslem. And when a print was made to honor Wood's career as a potter after his death, his friends didn't depict Wood, but rather a two-dimensional copper engraving of John Wesley with the head copied from the bust. The bust even came to represent its region of origin. In the early twentieth century, when the Chairman Cigarettes Company ran a promotional cigarette card series highlighting English pottery, the image they chose to represent Staffordshire was Enoch Wood's bust of Wesley—an ironic choice given that one of Wesley's rules for his class meetings was, "To use no needless self-indulgence, such as taking snuff or tobacco, unless prescribed by a Physician" (fig. 8).

8. Silk cigarette card with paper back, Chairman Cigarettes Company (ca. 1910). Private collection. Photo by the author.

9. Essays on Physiognomy: For the Promotion of the Knowledge and the Love of Mankind; Written in the German Language by J. C. Lavatar, Abridged from Mr. Holcrofts Translation, by Johann Caspar Lavater. First American edition, printed for William Spotswood, & David West (Boston, 1794). Private collection. Photo by the author.

What did Wesley's head mean for those who invited him into their domestic spaces? Enoch Wood, like his contemporary and once-employer, Josiah Wedgwood, was enamored of the classical past. In ceramics they determinedly spread the revival of antique designs upon English pottery, and, in turn, across the Atlantic world. And with these new arrangements came a certain view of history. Here Staffordshire potters like Enoch Wood, Josiah Wedgwood, and the countless artisans who contracted with them, put modern people—in modern dress—on antique forms, from George Washington to General Wolfe. And in so doing they elevated the modern era to the import of the classical, much like the history painting of eighteenth-century masters such as John Singleton Copley, Benjamin West, and the wax sculpture of Patience Wright. By so doing, they asserted that modern events and people could match sacred and classical history. For those who looked up to Wesley, Staffordshire potters sought to insert the man among the pantheon of great men who were understood to have formed the age (and capitalize on Methodism's rapid growth in the process). Wesley's great historical consequence, his followers believed, was to save Protestantism from the brink of decay and "infidelity"—what they increasingly came to call the "Second Reformation."

The profile and the bust also carried other ideas with them from antiquity, namely physiognomy—the reading of physical features for insight into personal character. Eighteenth-century people were increasingly attracted to the idea that the mind, even heart, could be read upon the face and along the curvature of the skull. Here admirers of Wesley could actually learn things about the man from the close examination of his bust. The science of reading heads gained immense popularity on the European continent, the British Isles, and, later, in America through the works of Johann Caspar Lavater, best expressed in his richly illustrated Essays on Physiognomy. Deeply religious, Lavater argued that close attention to physiognomic features could open up divine truth about the self and others. Profiles and busts (and if possible, skulls) were the ideal objects to conduct this kind of study, for they resisted the potential for deception in a live face (fig. 9). They froze features that were otherwise in flux, and if "true to nature," were able exhibit "God's line."

It should be noted that Methodists were a humble people; their homes were not materially ostentatious. Simplicity and discipline were hallmarks of early Methodist life as much as deep feeling and ecstatic singing. Even though the visual field within their homes was limited, it awarded Wesley disproportionate space. Above a cabinet, desk, door, or on a thinly populated mantle, Wesley oversaw the domestic life of his followers. This visual concentration summons a deeper Christian tradition, that of the departed saint and the living devotee: Wesley as icon, Wesley as body, Wesley as saint, here erected in a kind of devotional statuary. Protestants had no illusions that Wesley would weep tears, become semi-animated through his representation, or begin to speak to lonely seekers in dark rooms—nor would he respond to prayer or intercede on their behalf (though he did visit some followers in dreams). They pursued their devotion to Wesley in distinctively Protestant ways that reflected Protestant beliefs in the relationship of materiality and spirit. They sought a vision, an embodiment of the holy man, to connect to his words. And the association of Wesley with holiness was natural, given that he argued forcibly for the possibility of Christian perfection, the human heart cleansed of the inclination toward sin through total devotion to God. In bust form, his upturned eyes, not quite surveillance, were a reminder of where to fix the gaze—upward. His aquiline nose summoned a classical import to his evangelical innovations. His serene countenance evinced a calm, pleasant affirmation—a welcome vision for a group that eagerly sought assurance of their salvation in intimate class meetings, prayers, journals and hymns. His bust was a holy life perched on a pedestal (fig. 10).

10. John Wesley by Enoch Wood (after 1791). Solid back with medallion, painted lead glazed creamware. Tipple Collection, Object 204, from the Methodist Collection at Drew University, Madison, New Jersey. Photo by the author.

11. "Follow after … ," unknown (ca. 1840). John Wesley transfer print earthenware plate. Lake Collection, from the Methodist Collection at Drew University, Madison, New Jersey. Photo by the author. Click for enlargement in new window.

In the century after Wesley's death in 1791, Methodists across the Atlantic world eagerly sought to possess Wesley's mantle, to own the title of being "the true followers of Wesley," especially in the face of the social and political challenges they encountered. They asserted in proceedings, periodicals, pamphlets, and on the title pages of books that "He, being dead, still speaketh." Their saint could indeed speak, but not without print. And true to form, Wesley's words would transfer their way onto pottery, on teapots and plates, reminding respectable men and women to keep their conversation chaste, and to direct their lives toward his triumphant death (fig. 11). At the same time that Methodists began acquiring potted Wesleyana to fill their homes, they simultaneously sorted through his papery remains to see what he might say to the challenges of their present. Should women preach? Should communion be given to slave holders? Should slavery be tolerated at all? Should bishops have authority over ministers and congregations in a democratic age? Should alcohol be prohibited? Should Methodists support radical politics (especially in light of so many decapitated heads in France)? His presence within homes, in prints, medallions, plates, teapots, books, and busts reasserted individuals' choice of leader—their emperor of the spirit. But it also placed the firm pressure of his example upon everyday life. What would Wesley do? What would they do? Could their lives fill Wesley's mold? Or would the times require Methodists to break it?

The most seismic debate in nineteenth-century American Methodism was over slavery. Wesley did not mince words on the issue, and neither did his early American followers—it was evil, through and through. Wesley wrote a radical and influential tract on the topic in 1774 in Thoughts Upon Slavery. But a parallel memory was introduced that Wesley did not bar early slaveholding Methodists in the West Indies from communion. American Methodists backed away from their founder during the American Revolution due to Wesley's support for the Crown and outspoken opposition to the Continental Congress. But Southern Methodists knew that they would forfeit their success in winning souls if slavery was made antithetical to Methodism, and so an opening was made for slavery in southern Methodism that turned to outright acceptance after the American Methodist schism of 1844. Yet Northern Methodists and abolitionists would not let their southern counterparts forget Wesley's antislavery, even in the realm of Wesleyana. In the abolitionist newspaper the National Era, led by the Quaker abolitionist poet John Greenleaf Whittier, it was reported that a "small telescope and electrical machine" owned by Wesley were procured by a wealthy Methodist in North Carolina. The editor was "surprised" that anyone from the North Carolina Conference, which had recently "formally, repudiated Mr. Wesley's Anti-Slavery Creed…as heretical, fanatical, and for aught we know, diabolical," should ever "venture to cherish anything as a memento of the great abolitionist father of the church." The author averred that Wesley had used the devices "in his researches into physical nature." But the North Carolinian would be unable to rely on the devices, as Wesley had, "to be the moral instrument through which he read the heavenly laws, and proclaimed to the world that 'Slavery is the sum of all villanies.'"

12. Courtesy of Andy Oliver, Reconciling Ministries Network, and Jeremy Smith of

Modern American Methodism has been recently divided over another institution, and the affections that prompt it. This has occurred in waves over marriage for same-sex couples in particular, and sexuality in general. It is currently the most explosive issue in the church and an issue that still evinces a regional divide. In this new debate, Wesley is marshalled, most often in quotations, for his characteristic ethical force. The bust isn't far behind, of course, along with an open Bible, a Communion Chalice, and the Book of Discipline, the ominously titled book of guidelines and rules for the denomination (fig. 12). Methodists are still struggling to unite these objects, maintain the ethical tradition they inherited from Wesley, keep the communion (connection) together, revere the Bible, and uphold their rules for social and personal "holiness." Knowing what Wesley would do in this situation is a concern for many, one of those perennial quandaries of history and memory. But it is a very real question for those who seek a usable past. Wesley will not solve the debate from his grave two centuries later. But the bust still appears, like in this image, a visual statement of efforts to resurrect his presence in a new, ongoing American confrontation.

Further Reading

The best modern biography of John Wesley is still Henry Rack, Reasonable Enthusiast (1989), and the best work on transatlantic Methodism is David Hempton's Methodism: Empire of the Spirit (2005). Studies of English Methodism abound, in part stimulated by E.P. Thompson's provocative chapter in The Making of the English Working Class (1966). A particular standout in terms of the body, and how it intersects with gender and emotion, is Phyllis Mack, Heart Religion in the British Enlightenment (2008). The list shrinks considerably in America. Important work has been done by Dee Andrews, Richard Carwardine, Christine Leigh Heyrman, and Lynn Lyerly, the latter two with a focus on the American South.

Staffordshire pottery and potters in America are covered well in the beautiful volumes of the annual American Ceramics, sponsored by the Chipstone Foundation; Patricia Halfpenny has done important work in tracing the work and influence of British potters in America. Much of Enoch Wood's archive has thankfully been preserved and transcribed by collectors from private collections; much of it can be read in Arthur Cummings' Portrait in Pottery (1963). On highly accurate representation of the body and its meanings, see Wendy Bellion's Citizen Spectator (2011), and Marcia Pointon's recent "Casts, Imprints, and the Deathliness of Things," in Art Bulletin (2014). On the intense, intimate practice of viewing busts, and their use as indexes of the mind and soul of the depicted, see the important Malcolm Baker, The Marble Index (2014). The relationship between materiality and American Protestantism has been understudied, but important work has been done by Sally Promey on Puritan gravestones, David Morgan in Protestants and Pictures (1999), Colleen McDannell in Material Christianity (1999), and several essays in the recent compilation edited by Promey, Sensational Religion (2014).

comments powered by Disqus

this issue home