The Corresponence of James McNeil Whistler
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Thomas Waldo Story, 1855-1915

Nationality: American
Date of Birth: 1855
Place of Birth: Rome
Date of Death: 1915.10.23
Place of Death: New York, NY


Thomas Waldo Story, an American sculptor, was the son of William Wetmore Story, a sculptor, art critic, poet and literary editor. Waldo Story's siblings also pursued artistic careers: Edith Marion (1844-1907), the Marchesa Peruzzi de' Medici, was a writer, and Julian Russell (1857-1919) was a painter. In 1883 Story married Ada Maud Broadwood, the daughter of an Englishman, T. Capel Broadwood.


Story was born in Rome and, although educated in England at Eton and Christ Church, he spent much of his life there. He attained a large following in Britain, and was particularly well known for his sculpture Fountain of Love (1894-6; Cliveden, Buckinghamshire). Mrs Potter Palmer, a JW collector, was amongst his American patrons.

A photograph taken in JW's studio in 1881 shows JW with Story, his brother Julian, the painter Frank Miles and the sculptor Frederick Lawless. Sir Rennell Rodd recalls that particularly in 1882 and 1883 Story, along with his brother Julian, Frank Miles, Walter Sickert and Harper Pennington were constantly in JW's studio. In December 1882 JW talked of setting up a kind of artist's society, the 'Chelsea Club', in Rossetti's old home, Tudor House on Cheyne Walk. The two Story brothers were to be included in the scheme. Around 1883 JW painted a portrait of Maud Story, Portrait of Mrs Waldo Story (YMSM 251). The two men were in regular correspondence throughout the 1880s.

In January 1883, Oscar Wilde wrote to Story that JW 'spoke of your art with more enthusiasm than I ever heard him speak of any modern work'. It appears that JW, who, according to F. Lawless, modelled statuettes, worked with Story in London. As President of the Royal Society of British Artists, JW proposed Story as a member in 1887. It was due to JW's influence that Story, along with Frederick MacMonnies and Auguste St Gaudens, joined the International Society of Sculptors, Painters and Gravers.


Story, William Wetmore, Conversations in a Studio, Boston, 1890; Story, W. W., Excursions in Art and Letters, Boston, 1891; Phillips, M., Reminiscences of William Wetmore Story, the American Sculptor and Author, Chicago, 1897; James, H., William Wetmore Story and his Friends, 2 vols, London, 1903; Gerdts, W., 'William Wetmore Story', American Art Journal, vol. 4, 1972, pp. 16-33; Ramirez, Jan Seidler, 'William Wetmore Story', The Grove Dictionary of Art Online, ed. L. Macy, (accessed 1 May 2002); Story, William Wetmore, Vallombrosa: Taccuino di viaggio di fine Ottocento, ed. Simonetta Berbeglia, Florence, 2002.