“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
Bordentown in Burlington County, New Jersey — The American Northeast (Mid-Atlantic)

Patience Lowell Wright

Women's Heritage Trail

Patience Lowell Wright Marker image. Click for full size.
By Don Morfe, September 5, 2015
1. Patience Lowell 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 notabilities and historical groups were superior to anything of the kind previously seen.”
Comment regarding Patience Lowell Wright in the Dictionary of National Biography.


Patience Lowell Wright Marker image. Click for full size.
By Don Morfe, September 5, 2015
2. Patience Lowell Wright Marker
In this residence, Patience Lowell 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.
Marker series. This marker is included in the New Jersey Women’s Heritage Trail marker series.
Location. 40° 8.908′ N, 74° 42.829′ W. Marker is in Bordentown, New Jersey, in Burlington County. Marker is at 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.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Wright House (here, next to this marker); Francis Hopkinson House (within shouting distance of this

Patience Wright House image. Click for full size.
By Don Morfe, September 5, 2015
3. Patience Wright House
marker); Home of Col. Joseph Borden 2nd (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); Thomas Paine (about 600 feet away); Thomas Paine Monument (about 700 feet away); British Raid on Crosswicks Creek (about 800 feet away); 19th Century Railroading in Bordentown (approx. 0.2 miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Bordentown.
Categories. Arts, Letters, MusicPatriots & PatriotismWar, US RevolutionaryWomen
Patience Wright House image. Click for full size.
By Don Morfe, September 5, 2015
4. Patience Wright House
Joseph Wright banner image. Click for full size.
By Don Morfe, September 5, 2015
5. Joseph Wright banner
Patience Wright image. Click for full size.
By Allen C. Browne, June 28, 2018
6. 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
Credits. This page was last revised on July 4, 2018. This page originally submitted on September 8, 2015, by Don Morfe of Baltimore, Maryland. This page has been viewed 268 times since then. Photos:   1, 2, 3, 4, 5. submitted on September 8, 2015, by Don Morfe of Baltimore, Maryland.   6. submitted on July 1, 2018, by Allen C. Browne of Silver Spring, Maryland. • Bill Pfingsten was the editor who published this page.
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