John Fitzjohn and Amelia Busts

An image of a plaster bust of a man. The man has large sideburns and a toga draped over the shoulders.
John Fitzjohn Harris
Amelia Ryerse Harris

Country of Origin: Canada 
Year: ca. 1855 
Materials: Plaster and metal   

The Victorians were interested in displays of wealth and neoclassical art. These two busts of Amelia Harris, the original matriarch, and her oldest surviving son, John Fitzjohn, demonstrate both fascinations. Busts were expensive to create, and the goal was to have them look like ancient Roman and Greek statues, which were made of marble. The Harris Family, despite being wealthy, were not wealthy enough to get large marble busts made, and instead, these two are made of plaster. Inside there are metal armatures which help keep everything together and support the overall structure. The plaster is made to look like marble, again for the appearance of wealth. Additionally, John Fitzjohn’s bust has a drapery portion added to the neckline. This drapery is meant to look like a Roman toga, harkening to the neoclassical style.