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  • death

Milmore Memorial / Death Staying the Hand of the Sculptor


Daniel Chester French


Forest Hills Cemetery  


Forest Hills Cemetery
United States
42° 17' 41.658" N, 71° 6' 18.2952" W


Jamaica Plain








Forest Hills Cemetery



The Milmore Memorial, also known as Death Staying the Hand the Sculptor, commemorates the sculptor brothers, Joseph Milmore (1841-1886) and Martin Milmore (1844-1883). Martin Milmore, the better known of the two, created the standing soldier for the Roxbury Soldiers Memorial (also in Forest Hills Cemetery), and the Soldiers’ and Sailors’ Monument, the landmark column with sculptural enhancements, located on the Boston Common. Both monuments set the pattern for many subsequent Civil War monuments.

In the Milmore Memorial, Death, represented as a kindly female angel, puts forth a hand to stop the young sculptor’s chisel as he carves a giant sphinx. The sphinx recalls the one carved by the Milmore brothers for Mount Auburn Cemetery in Cambridge. Death and the sculptor are three-dimensional, over life-sized bronze figures placed in front of the bronze sphinx in bas-relief, meaning that the sphinx does not protrude significantly from the background. This masterpiece was created by Daniel Chester French. With it French certainly introduced to America, and may indeed have invented, the sculptural form of placing a free-standing figure before a bas-relief background. He used the form two more times himself, and doubtless influenced other sculptors in its use. The memorial was dedicated in 1893. 

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