THOMAS BALL (AMERICAN 1819-1911). PAIR OF WHITE MARBLE BUSTS OF BOSTON YOUTHS, 1862.Est. $5,000-$8,000
Sold: $1,800 ($1,500)
Julia Appleton Bird (1894-1983), owner of this pair of busts, descended from the family who established Appleton Farms in Ipswich and Hamilton, Massachusetts in the mid-17th century. The estate was maintained through nine generations, making it the oldest continuously operated farm in the country. She was the daughter of Randolph “Budd” M. Appleton, an avid sportsman and Master of the Hounds at Myopia Hunt Club from 1883-1900 and Helen K. Mixter Appleton, who at age nine was the youngest survivor of a disaster at sea that claimed her parents- the sinking of the Ville du Havre in 1873. The marble busts may be a likeness of Helen’s younger brother, Charles Cutler Mixter (1857-1867).In 1917 Julia married Charles Sumner Bird, Jr. (1885-1980) of the influential Bird family of East Walpole and Boston. Charles’ father, Charles Sumner Bird (1855-1927) may also have been the model for these busts. He was President of the Boston Advertiser Publishing Co. and a candidate for Governor in 1912-1913. His father, Francis William Bird (1809-1894), who established the family’s paper manufacturing business, was a prominent State legislator, anti-slavery leader and candidate for Governor in 1872. He named his son for Charles Sumner, U.S. Senator and the subject of a bronze sculpture by Ball, erected in the Boston Public Garden in 1878.Each raised on a socle. One signed “T. Ball” and dated 1862 on the reverse. Overall height 17 inches.
Provenance: Estate of Julia Appleton Bird (Mrs. Charles Sumner Bird, Jr.) of Ipswich and Boston, 1983; to the present owner.