Perhaps created at the same time as Mother and Child, the similarity in the bony structure and features of the child suggests that the baby is one and the same. It is the sculptor’s first child, daughter Barbara Mildred.
Allen taught that the skull and neck were the most important part of a portrait to get right. Once those were correctly proportioned and positioned from all views, the details of the flesh, the face and ears and the hair would add the distinctive features that clarified the likeness. Here the skull structure is strong and square, the flesh is chubby in the chest and cheeks. Fine tooling can be seen detailing the thin hair around the ears, the curling tuft above the wide forehead and the clear eyebrows. Babies are always moving. Here one arm is raised and the face is lively, the eyes wide, the mouth parted and beginning to smile. She is an animated child and totally charming.
Barbara Mildred Allen was born 5/17/15, here she appears to be about a year old.
Signed and dated F.W.Allen 1916 on the back between the shoulders and the base.
Original and posthumous copy, both in plaster in private collection.
Original tinted in pale flesh tone.
Silicone mold and plaster copy made in 1912 by New England Sculpture in Chelsea, MA. Original kept by Barbara in a closet in her home in Utah, along with the Allen self-portrait, both now in a private collection.
Exhibition: St. Botolph Club, Boston, April 1916
Newspaper article: Boston Evening Transcript review by Marian P Waitt, April 7, 1916.”the head of a baby” is mentioned in the list of 18 pieces of sculpture.