United States Senate
United States Senate Senators HomeCommittees HomeLegislation & Records HomeArt & History HomeVisitors Center HomeReference Home
United States Senate
Origins & Development
Historical Minutes
Special Collections
Graphic Arts
Oral History

  Senate Vice Presidential Bust Collection

 Millard Fillmore
(Modeled 1894, Carved 1895) by Robert Cushing
 Millard Fillmore 

New York sculptor Robert Cushing executed this bust of Millard Fillmore for the Senate’s Vice Presidential Bust Collection in 1895. Although little documentation on the commissioning exists, it can be assumed that the Joint Committee on the Library contacted Cushing under the auspices of the 1886 resolution authorizing the collection. Born in Ireland, Cushing studied with New York sculptors John Q.A. Ward and Randolph Rogers before establishing his own studio in New York City.

Noted in his day for his sculpture of prominent men, Cushing sculpted a bust of New York politician John Kelly that once occupied a place of honor in Tammany Hall. The artist is also known for his public statues, which included abolitionist Garrett Smith and mission priest John Drumgoole.

According to Cushing’s correspondence, preserved at the Capitol, the artist searched extensively for direct visual information to inform and guide his likeness of Millard Fillmore. Ultimately he relied on engravings dating from the former president’s lifetime and on a “scientific bust” of Fillmore borrowed from the New York firm of Fowler and Wells. This firm led the American phrenological movement, which touted the careful examination of the conformation of a person’s skull as a means of reading character traits and presumed mental capacity.

Cushing’s clay model was translated into marble in Italy and placed in the Senate Chamber in 1895.

Previous Next
[an error occurred while processing this directive]

Senate Art

Explore the Senate's Art with the Office of the Senate Curator.


Have questions about Senate art? E-mail the curator, curator@sec.senate.gov.

Virtual Capitol Tour

Take a look inside the Capitol with our 360 degree virtual tour!