“William H. Rinehart Exhibit”

Carroll County Times article for 30 April 1995

By Duane Doxzen

It is rare a Carroll County farm boy ends up famous on an international scale, but William Henry Rinehart did just that. The renowned sculptor was born at his father’s farm near Union Bridge on September 13, 1825. As a young man he was put to work at his father’s stone quarry and was able to develop his ability. He eventually set off for the greater opportunity of Baltimore and came to be employed there by the stone-cutting firm of Baughman & Bevan. He quickly advanced within the firm and supplemented his practical training with art courses at the Maryland Institute. His considerable skill and artistry were noticed by William T. Walters (of art gallery fame), for whom the young man had repaired a mantel. Walters and a few other local philanthropists financed a trip for the aspiring sculptor to Florence, Italy in 1855.

Rinehart soon returned to Baltimore in order to open a studio, but found the city an inappropriate one in which to nurture his art. In 1858 he left the city for Rome, where he would maintain his principal studio for the rest of his life. There his skill elevated him to master sculptor and commissions from wealthy Americans poured in to his studio faster than he could complete them. In Rome Rinehart created many fine bas-reliefs, over one-hundred portrait busts and over thirty pieces of ideal statuary until his untimely death on October 28, 1874 at the age of forty-nine.

Rinehart is regarded as one of the finest sculptors this country has ever produced and is remembered for his great contribution of art, many pieces of which can be seen in the Baltimore-Washington-Metropolitan area. His works include the bronze Chief Justice Roger Brooke Taney statue located in Annapolis (its replica overlooks Washington Square in Baltimore), the caryatid figures for the clock in the U.S. House of Representatives and the bronze doors of the U.S. Capital in Washington, and many other pieces which may be viewed in Greenmount Cemetery, the Peabody Institute and the Maryland Institute, all in Baltimore. His legacy to future generations is further evident in the form of scholarships provided by his estate to promising artists and in the existence of The Rinehart School of Sculpture at the Maryland Institute.

The Historical Society of Carroll County is currently featuring a small exhibition honoring this great native talent. Among the articles on exhibit are a plaster bust of the sculptor’s mother and a plaster bas-relief of himself executed by Rinehart, photographs of the sculptor, his mother and the Rinehart home Marble Knoll, as well as other articles relating to the sculptor. The exhibit is located in the Kimmey House Changing Exhibit Gallery at 210 East Main Street in Westminster. The Kimmey House is open to the public Monday through Saturday 9-5 PM and Sundays 10-2 PM.

Photo caption: My Mother by William Henry Rinehart. The sculptor completed this sensitive portrait following the death of his mother, Mary Snader Rinehart, in 1868 and gave plaster casts to each of his brothers. This example was given to his brother Evan Thomas Rinehart; it was donated to the Historical Society by his daughter, Mrs. Harry D. Williar, Jr., in 1962. Photograph courtesy of Porterfield’s Photography.