The Philadelphian Robert Cornelius (1805-1893), son of the silversmith Christian Cornelius, was a pioneer daguerreotypist and successful lighting manufacturer. The Athenaeum owns photographs by Cornelius, and original lighting fixtures for the Athenaeum were designed by Cornelius and Company. Cornelius is depicted here in an idealized classical Greek manner, his gaze turned slightly to his right, and wearing a loosely draped garment gathered around his shoulders. This bust descended in the Cornelius family and was given to the Athenaeum in 1992 by John C. Cornelius, III, Robert Cornelius' great grandson.
Gift of John C. Cornelius III
General Collection, Museum Collection, The Athenaeum of Philadelphia