Virginia Women’s Monument: Photo Shoot at StudioEIS

As you might have guessed by now, I’m fascinated by the process of creating sculptures. See, for example, my posts on Clarence Darrow and on King George III, or my series of three posts on why sculptors use models. So you can imagine how excited I was when StudioEIS invted me to see an early stage of their next project!

StudioEIS is creating twelve life-size bronze sculptures for Voices in the Garden, the Virginia Women’s Monument, which will stand near the Capitol in Richmond. More information on the women being honored is on the Monument’s home page, where you can also make a donation. According to the Virginia Women’s Monument Commission, “this monument is the first of its kind in the nation, honoring the significant but often unrecognized contributions of women to any state’s history, in this case the 400-year history of the Commonwealth of Virginia.”

In mid-May Ivan Schwartz of StudioEIS invited me to a photo shoot for the Monument. In their quarters in Brooklyn, the members of StudioEIS roughed out the oval shape of the monument.

Layout for the Virginia Women’s Monument. Image: StudioEIS

Actresses appeared in full period costumes that were researched and selected by James E. Crochet. They held poses that the Virginia Women’s Monument Commission had agreed were appropriate for their time and their accomplishments.  Several photographers took images from all angles of the group, in several different combinations of poses.

Layout for the Virginia Women’s Monument. Image: StudioEIS

I snapped the photos below when the real photographers weren’t in action.

Laydon and Ingles

The earliest woman honored is Ann Burras Laydon (ca. 1594 – ca. 1636), one of the original settlers at Jamestown. Mary Draper Ingles (1732-1815) traveled 600 miles to return to her family after being captured by Indians.

Ann Burras Laydon (left) and Mary Draper Ingles (center), portrayed by Isobel Hanson-Johnston and Sam Soule. Virginia Women’s Monument: photo shoot at StudioEIS.

Cockacoeske

Cockacoeske (prounounced Coke a cow ski, fl. 1656 – d. 1686) ruled the Pamunkey for thirty years, during which she signed the Treaty of Middle Plantation in 1677.

Cockacoeske, portrayed by Paloma Pilar. Virginia Women’s Monument: photo shoot at StudioEIS.

Washington and Rind

Martha Dandridge Custis Washington (1731-1802) was the first First Lady, although the title was not used at the time. Clementina Bird Rind (1740-1774) edited and managed the Virginia Gazette after the death of her husband.

Martha Washington (right), portrayed by Bettina Skye, and Clementina Bird Rind (left), portrayed by Miriam Messner. Virginia Women’s Monument: photo shoot at StudioEIS.

Keckley

Elizabeth Hobbs Keckley (1818-1907) bought her freedom and became Mary Todd Lincoln’s seamstress and confidant. Her Contraband Relief Association provided support for recently freed slaves and wounded soldiers. This dress is so gorgeous that I asked StudioEIS if I could use one of their photos – mine didn’t show the details.

Elizabeth Hobbs Keckley, portrayed by April Matthis. Virginia Women’s Monument: photo shoot at StudioEIS. Photo: Elliot Schwartz / StudioEIS.

Tompkins

Sally Louisa Tompkins (1833-1916) established the Robertson Hospital in Richmond, which had the lowest death rate of any during the Civil War.

Sally Louisa Tompkins (left), portrayed by Allyson Berger. Virginia Women’s Monument: photo shoot at StudioEIS.

Walker

Maggie L. Walker (1864-1934) was the first woman to charter a bank in the United States.

Maggie L. Walker, portrayed by Sandra Scott. Virginia Women’s Monument: photo shoot at StudioEIS.

Jones

Sarah G. Boyd Jones (1866-1905), one of the first women to pass the Virginia Medical Examining Board’s examination, opened a hospital and nursing school that ultimately became Richmond Community Hospital.

Sara G. Boyd Jones, portrayed by Alexa Torres. Virginia Women’s Monument: photo shoot at StudioEIS.

Copenhaver

Laura Lu Copenhaver (1868-1940) established Rosemont Industries and was director of information for the Virginia Farm Bureau Federation.

Laura Lu Copenhaver, portrayed by Ramona Floyd. Virginia Women’s Monument: photo shoot at StudioEIS.

Randolph

Virginia Estelle Randolph (1875-1958) developed a nationally recognized approach to education.

Virginia Estelle Randolph, portrayed by Lucinda Carr. Virginia Women’s Monument: photo shoot at StudioEIS.

Clark

Adele Goodman Clark (1882-1983), an active suffragist, became president of the League of Women Voters in 1921 and was one of the founders of the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts.

Adele Goodman Clark, portrayed by Tali Custer. Virginia Women’s Monument: photo shoot at StudioEIS.

After the shoot: the actors with (left to right in front) Steven Horak, Hair Stylist / Wig Maker; Jana Violanta, Costumer; and James E. Crochet, Costume Consultant / Costumer.

More

  • For more information on the women being honored see the Monument’s home page, where you can also make a donation.
  • Want wonderful art delivered weekly to your inbox? Members of my free Sunday Recommendations list (email DuranteDianne@gmail.com) receive three art-related suggestions every week: check out my favorites from last year’s recommendations. For more goodies, check out my Patreon page.

About Dianne L. Durante

I constantly seek out art that's inspiring, thought-provoking, skillfully executed, and/or beautiful so I can share it (in jargon-free language) with others who need and enjoy such art, but don't have time to search for it themselves. As an independent scholar, writer, and lecturer, I focus on art history and history, with forays into food, history, politics, and publishing. My most recent projects are three volumes on Alexander Hamilton, Central Park: The Early Years, Innovators in Sculpture (a survey of 5,000 years of art in 2 hours), and two videoguide apps by Guides Who Know. Click on the Books & Essays tab for a list of all books. For upcoming projects, see my Patreon page.

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