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PATIENCE WRIGHT by Pegi Deitz Shea


America’s First Sculptor and Revolutionary Spy

by Pegi Deitz Shea & illustrated by Bethanne Andersen

Age Range: 8 - 12

Pub Date: April 1st, 2007
ISBN: 0-8050-6770-1
Publisher: Henry Holt

One of nine sisters and one brother born to a Quaker family, Patience grew up in New Jersey and discovered her talent for sculpting figures early on. Widowed and with children to support, she moved in with another sister, gave up vegetarianism and began to work in wax made from animal fats. She and her sister had studios in New York and Philadelphia, and sculpted portrait heads and full figures of many notables. She moved to London in 1772 with a letter of introduction from Ben Franklin, sculpted everyone from William Pitt to the king and queen and was resourceful enough to put notes about what she learned about possible war tactics into the busts she shipped back home. Unfortunately, the only one of her waxworks to survive is the figure of Pitt, in his crypt at Westminster Abbey. Full of fascinating detail, the text is well-matched by lively gouache and pastel illustrations, vibrant with color and texture. While it is too dense for younger children, middle-graders will no doubt be fascinated. (author note, timeline, bibliography) (Picture book/biography. 8-12)