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Marquis de Lafayette, 1883

 
J. Q. A. Ward, Marquis de Lafayette, 1883
Original Placement in Front of Old Mill
 
This important life-size bronze statue of the Marquis de Lafayette - the French nobleman and soldier who fought with General George Washington and his soldiers during the Revolutionary War- is mounted on an impressive architectural pedestal now placed on the north end of the University Green. Commissioned by John Purple Howard in 1883, the sculptor - John Quincy Adams Ward-modeled this standing portrait of the beloved Lafayette after Houdon's late 18th-century portrait of George Washington for the State House in Richmond, Virginia. The statues of Lafayette and Washington appropriate the pose from the Roman statue of the patriot-turned-soldier, Cincinnatus.



 
  J. Q. A. Ward, Detail,
Marquis de Lafayette, 1883
Current Placement University Green
The initial placement of the Lafayette statue was in the center of the Campus Green in front of Old Mill on the site now occupied by Sherry Fry's statue of Ira Allen (1921). The occasion for the commission of the statue of Lafayette and its original placement was the rebuilding and renovation of Old Mill in 1882-83 following a fire. The funds for the renovation were a gift from Howard. Recalling that the Marquis de Lafayette had actually laid the cornerstone for the 1824 structure which was now being renovated, Howard was determined to remind students, sixty years after the fact, of Lafayette's great love for the United States by this association with the building. Slate markers are inset on the corners of the central pavilion of Old Mill that acknowledge Howard and Lafayette.