Queer Places:
Via di Capo le Case, 68, 00187 Roma RM

Horatia Augusta Latilla Freeman (born August 28, 1826, London, England) was a sculptor. She married James Edward Freeman (1808, Nova Scotia - 21 Nov., 1884, London, England), artist.

Horatia Augusta Latilla was of Italian and English parentage. She was married in 1847, and, devoting her life to sculpture, executed several works that show artistic talent. Among these are " The Princes in the Tower," "The Triumph of Bacchus," and "The Culprit Fay," which is the most ideal of her productions. She also made fonts, chimney-pieces, and vases, both in marble and wood.

Horatio Augusta Latina Freeman was not a sculptor when she married the American genre painter James Freeman. They lived in Rome, where Freeman began to do sculpture around 1857, a few years after Harriet Hosmer's arrival, soon earning a reputation for bas-reliefs, busts, ideal figurines, and decorative household objects such as clocks and vases--elaborate Victorian conceits, swarming with cherubs and heavily laden with moralizing symbolism. In 1866 the Art Journal described Freeman's sculpture in the sentimental terms of the day, attributing the frequency of the child motif in her work to the artist's frustrated desire for children.

The Princes Sleeping in the Tower showed two sleeping children, a favorite theme of Victorian sculptors. As art historian Milton Brown puts it, "the maudlin sentiment aroused by plump and helpless babes carved in stone was one of the common emotional excesses of the period." The most famous example is William Rinehart's Sleeping Children. Edmonia Lewis also made two pairs of cherubs, one asleep and one awake. After a saccharine description of Freeman's sleeping babes, the Art Journal described a mélange of sculpture and decorative objects in Freeman's atelier at Via di Capo le Case, 68. The Triumph of Bacchus included four children holding up a young Bacchus, who clutches one by the hair and plants his foot on the ear of another—a "cunning symbol of the tyranny of wine." An elaborate clock was covered with putti symbolizing the hours—happy dancing ones and weary ones holding their heads in their hands. "Another, opposite, is weeping over a dead bird, thus symbolizing Death; and above, the Resurrection is suggested by one watching an insect in his hand.... This beautiful and thought-suggesting clock has been bough by Mr. Frederick Stevens of New York, and is to be cast in bronze."

Other works included a chimneypiece bracketed by angels, whose fireplace opening was surrounded by mosaic and adorned with white marble pilasters; The Angel Suonatore playing a lyre: The Angel of the Nativity shown on a cloud (one plays a lute while the other two listen); a pouting, disconsolate Cupid Bound. A bronze vase by Freeman was on display in the art showrooms of the American bankers McQuay & Hooker at the foot of the Spanish Steps.

Freeman seems to have developed a market for her decorative work. The Culprit Fay was described as "the most ideal of her productions".

In 1866 the Englishman Henry Wreford, a freelance correspondent in Italy, described the female artists in Rome collectively as “a fair constellation . . . of twelve stars of greater or lesser magnitude, who shed their soft and humanising influence on a profession which has done so much for the refinement and civilization of man.” Some of Wreford’s twelve stars, incidentally all American sculptors, are still recognizable names even today: Margaret Foley, Florence Freeman, Harriet Hosmer, Edmonia Lewis, and Emma Stebbins. Less known now are the American painter sisters Mary Elizabeth Williams and Abigail Osgood Williams, the Italian sculptor Horatia Augusta Latilla Freeman and her relative, the painter Adah Caroline Latilla, Irish painter and sculptor Jane Morgan, and English sculptor Isabel Cholmelay (her studio was at Palazzetto Sciarra). It is not entirely clear which of these women produced art of “greater magnitude” in Wreford’s mind; his discussion is rather general overall. Indeed, in his article and in others of the period, even the better-known women tend to earn more comments about their personalities, appearances, or behaviors than about their art.


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