Dec 28, 2008

Will the real James Madison please stand up!

Since Christmas, I've been working on a figure of James Madison. Actually, I started Madison a couple of months ago, but he wasn't progressing well, so I put him on the shelf until he agreed to cooperate.

I know less about Madison than the other Founding Fathers I've sculpted. Off the top of my head, I know that he was sickly as a child and extremely fastidious as an adult. He planned (with Alexander Hamilton) the constitutional convention and presided over the proceedings, which were conducted in strict secrecy. Madison took copious notes on the debates and did not publish them for 50 years hence, as planned from the start.

Madison was the most diminutive of the founders. Depending on the source quoted, he was between 5'2" and 5'4". Imagine him walking around the grounds of Monticello with Jefferson, his friend and neighbor, with Jefferson standing 6'3" and Madison at 5'2". Even his celebrated wife, Dolley, was notably taller than her husband at 5'6" (actually, that was quite tall for a woman of that period).

Madison wrote some of the Federalist essays with Hamilton and John Jay. Jay, who later became the first chief justice of the U.S. Supreme Court, only wrote three essays (if I'm not mistaken) due to illness and Madison wrote about 10 of them. Hamilton wrote the rest.

Madison's political views changed over time and he later sided with Jefferson against Hamilton. Seems everybody turned against poor Hamilton.

The War of 1812 was fought with the British during Madison's presidency. When the British set fire to the White House, Madison's clever wife saved several important documents and the portrait of George Washington that I believe hangs in the White House to this day.

Need to read more about Madison! I've got a couple of books on the stack. And speaking of books, I got a great bunch of new books on historic costuming for Christmas from my dear hubby! Lots of research to do!!



Dixie Redmond said...

Gosh, I'd love to see a portrait of clever Dolly. :-)

Nina Mason said...

Dixie, do you mean a "doll" portrait of Dolley or did you want me to post some pictures? I did a Dolley Madison doll a couple of years ago and donated her last year to a DAR auction. She didn't sell for much, unfortunately, but she did go to our new Chapter Regent.

I do plan to do another version of Dolley to go with the new James Madison, when I have the time.


Robin's Egg Bleu said...

I have found another person like me! I am in awe and in love with your work, it's just so breathtakingly fabulous!

Nina Mason said...

Dear REB:

I thought the same thing when I saw your Young Queen Victoria doll on E-bay. Do you have a blog or anyplace I can see more of your work?


Doreen said...

I'm looking forward to seeing your James Madison.

The books you received for Christmas sound wonderful.

Take care,