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Bordentown in Burlington County, New Jersey — The American Northeast (Mid-Atlantic)
 

Patience Lovell Wright

Women's Heritage Trail

 
 
Patience Lovell Wright Marker image. Click for full size.
By Devry Becker Jones, November 14, 2020
1. Patience Lovell Wright Marker
Inscription.  Patience Lovell Wright was America’s first professional sculptor and a self-appointed Revolutionary War spy. A native of Bordentown, she lived in this house after her marriage to Joseph Wright in 1748. She learned from her sister, Rachel, how to sculpt wax figurines and the two women created wax exhibits, which they took on tour, receiving commissions for portraits. Patience Wright was the first American artist to focus on creating wax figurines of living figures, traveling to London to seek new subjects for her sculptures. While in London, Wright met Ben Franklin, who introduced her to many prominent members of London society, and she was commissioned to create sculptures of the king and queen of England. As relations worsen between England and America, Wright took it upon herself to become a spy and sent information home to America hidden in wax heads. The only remaining full-size work of Wright’s that exists today is a wax figure displayed in Westminster Abbey, London. Wright remained in England for the rest of her life.

“A woman of remarkable intelligence and conversational powers, whose life-sized figures and busts of contemporary

Patience Lovell Wright Marker image. Click for full size.
By Devry Becker Jones, November 14, 2020
2. Patience Lovell Wright Marker
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notabilities and historical groups were superior to anything of the kind previously seen.”

Comment regarding Patience Lowell Wright in the Dictionary of National Biography.

(Side Bar)
In this residence, Patience Lovell Wright created original three dimensional portrait wax sculptures of family, friends, and neighbors. Because of her unique contributions to American art and culture, Ms. Wright is on the New Jersey Women’s Heritage Trail.

The New Jersey Women’s Heritage Trail highlights a collection of historic sites located around the state that represent the significant contributions women made to the history of our state. The Heritage Trail brings to life the vital role of women in New Jersey’s past and present.
 
Erected by Department of Community Affairs, New Jersey Historic Trust and Department of Environmental Protection, Historic Preservation Office.
 
Topics and series. This memorial is listed in these topic lists: Arts, Letters, MusicPatriots & PatriotismWar, US RevolutionaryWomen. In addition, it is included in the New Jersey Women’s Heritage Trail series list. A significant historical year for this entry is 1748.
 
Location. 40° 8.914′ N, 74° 42.828′ W. Marker is in Bordentown, New Jersey, in Burlington County. Memorial is at

Patience Lovell Wright House image. Click for full size.
By Devry Becker Jones, November 14, 2020
3. Patience Lovell Wright House
the intersection of West Park Avenue and Farnsworth Avenue on West Park Avenue. Touch for map. Marker is in this post office area: Bordentown NJ 08505, United States of America. Touch for directions.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Home of Patience Lovell Wright (here, next to this marker); Wright House (here, next to this marker); This Was The Home Of Joseph Hopkinson (a few steps from this marker); Francis Hopkinson (a few steps from this marker); Home of Col. Joseph Borden 2nd (within shouting distance of this marker); Notable Bordentown Residents (within shouting distance of this marker); Home of Stephen Sayre (within shouting distance of this marker); First movement by steam on a railroad in New Jersey (about 400 feet away, measured in a direct line). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Bordentown.
 
Also see . . .  Patience Wright (Wikipedia). (Submitted on July 16, 2020, by Ray Gurganus of Washington, District of Columbia.)
 
Patience Wright image. Click for full size.
By Allen C. Browne, June 28, 2018
4. Patience Wright
This c. 1782 portrait of Patience Wright attributed to Robert Edge Pine hangs in the National Portrait Gallery in Washington, DC.

“America's first native-born sculptor, Patience Wright modeled portraits of celebrities in tinted wax, exhibiting them with success in Philadelphia and New York. Her sculpting career began as a domestic activity with her five children. After her husband's death in 1769, though, this pastime became a profession. Not long afterward, a fire destroyed much of her collection, an event that led her to relocate to England. There Wright pursued portrait commissions and established a museum to display new examples of her work. This venture proved an instant sensation and won her an enthusiastic following that included King George III. When war broke out in 1776, she fell from favor in royal circles because of her open support for the colonial cause. Later proclaiming that ‘women are always useful in grand events,’ Wright became an American spy and sent intelligence to Benjamin Franklin in Paris.” – National Portrait Gallery
Joseph Wright banner image. Click for full size.
By Don Morfe, September 5, 2015
5. Joseph Wright banner
 
 
Credits. This page was last revised on November 15, 2020. It was originally submitted on September 8, 2015, by Don Morfe of Baltimore, Maryland. This page has been viewed 439 times since then and 46 times this year. Last updated on July 13, 2020, by Ray Gurganus of Washington, District of Columbia. Photos:   1, 2, 3. submitted on November 15, 2020, by Devry Becker Jones of Washington, District of Columbia.   4. submitted on July 1, 2018, by Allen C. Browne of Silver Spring, Maryland.   5. submitted on September 8, 2015, by Don Morfe of Baltimore, Maryland. • Michael Herrick was the editor who published this page.

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Jun. 14, 2021