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Historic Nathan Hale Sculpture Information

Artist: 
Pratt, Bela Lyon, 1867-1917, sculptor.
Orr, Douglas W., architect.
Roman Bronze Works, founder.
Title: 
Captain Nathan Hale, (sculpture).
Dates: 
Original ca. 1915. Cast ca. 1930. Dedicated April 18, 1948.
Medium: 
Sculpture: bronze; Base: granite.
Dimensions: 
Sculpture: approx. 76 x 26 x 23 in.; Base: approx. 49 1/4 x 27 x 26 1/2 in.
Inscription: 
CAST.BY.ROMAN BRONZE WORKS N.Y. (Sculpture, near figure's proper left foot:) B.L. PRATT (Sculpture, near figure's proper right foot:) REPUBLICA OF THAT/AT YALE UNIVERSITY (Sculpture, around bottom rim:) I ONLY REGRET THAT I HAVE BUT ONE LIFE TO LOSE FOR MY COUNTRY (Base, front:) NATHAN HALE/CAPTAIN/ARMY OF THE UNITED STATES/BORN AT COVENTRY CONNECTICUT/JUNE 6, 1755/IN THE PERFORMANCE OF HIS/DUTY HE RESIGNED HIS/LIFE A SACRIFICE TO /HIS COUNTRY'S LIBERTY/AT NEW YORK/SEPTEMBER 22, 1776 signed Founder's mark appears.
Description: 
Hale stands erect, hands and feet bound, just before he is to be hanged by the British for spying. It is at this time that he spoke his famous line, "I regret that I have but one life to lose for my country." He is dressed in a knee-length coat, knee britches, a vest, and shoes with big buckles. His hair is pulled back in a pony tail. He stares straight ahead. His hands, fist clenched, and his feet are bound with ropes.
Subject: 
Portrait male -- Hale, Nathan -- Full length
Occupation -- Military -- Captain
History -- United States -- Revolution
Object Type: 
Outdoor Sculpture -- District of Columbia -- Washington
Replica
Sculpture
Owner: 
Administered by United States General Services Administration, Washington, District of Columbia
Located United States Department of Justice, 10th Street & Constitution Avenue, N.W., Southern facade, Washington, District of Columbia 20530
Provenance: 
Formerly in the collection of Seymour, George Dudley, New Haven, Connecticut until 1945.
Formerly located Coventry, Connecticut until 1945.
Remarks: 
Nathan Hale (1755-1776) was a captain in the Continental army during the American Revolution. In 1776, he volunteered to spy on the British who at that time occupied New York. He posed as a teacher to get through the British lines in Long Island. Although he was successful in gathering the needed military information and passing back through the enemy lines, he was betrayed by his Tory cousin, Samuel Hale, before he could get home. He was arrested as a spy and brought before General William Howe, the British commander. Since Hale was in possession of the British military documents at the time of his arrest, he was sentenced to execution without the benefit of a trial. It was just before he was about to be hanged that he spoke his famous lines, "I regret that I have but one life to lose for my country."
The statue is a replica of one located at Yale University. It was installed in Nathan Hale's birthplace of Coventry, Connecticut until it's owner, George Dudley Seymour, gave it to the United States government in 1945.
Condition: 
Surveyed 1993 June. Treatment needed.
References: 
Index of American Sculpture, University of Delaware, 1985
United States General Services Administration, 1988.
Goode, James M., "The Outdoor Sculpture of Washington, D.C., A Comprehensive Historical Guide," Washington, D.C.: Smithsonian Institution Press, 1974, pg. 158.
Save Outdoor Sculpture, District of Columbia survey, 1993.
Michael Richman, SAAM curatorial assistant, 1967-1969.
Illustration: 
Image on file.
Goode, James M., "The Outdoor Sculpture of Washington, D.C., A Comprehensive Historical Guide," Washington, D.C.: Smithsonian Institution Press, 1974, D-14.
Note: 
The information provided about this artwork was compiled as part of the Smithsonian American Art Museum's Inventories of American Painting and Sculpture database, designed to provide descriptive and location information on artworks by American artists in public and private collections worldwide.
Repository: 
Inventories of American Painting and Sculpture, Smithsonian American Art Museum, P.O. Box 37012, MRC 970, Washington, D.C. 20013-7012
Control Number: 
IAS 76009919

 

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