(b New York, ?1813; d London, Oct 10, 1857).
American sculptor. One of the major American Neo-classical sculptors, Crawford learnt wood-carving in his youth. In 1832 he became a carver for New York’s leading marble shop, operated by John Frazee and Robert E. Launitz (1806–70). He cut mantelpieces and busts, and spent his evenings drawing from the cast collection at the National Academy of Design. In 1835 Crawford became the first American sculptor to settle permanently in Rome. Launitz provided Crawford with a letter of introduction to Bertel Thorvaldsen, who welcomed Crawford into his studio, gave him a corner in which to work and provided occasional criticism, including the advice to copy antique models and not Thorvaldsen’s own work. It is not known precisely how long Crawford remained under Thorvaldsen’s tutelage, but it was probably less than a year. Crawford always esteemed Thorvaldsen’s sculpture and continued friendship.
Once in his own studio, Crawford at first eked out a living by producing portraits, such as his bust of ...