Place of migration
Migrated to/Born in USA

The sculptor left Abbeyleix as a teenager during the Famine with his widowed mother aged 14 and became one of the United States' most sought-after sculptors. They settled in the Albany, New York area. He studied anatomy at the Albany Medical College. He was constantly sketching during his time as an assistant so much so that the professor showed his drawings to sculptor Erastus Dow Palmer who took him on as his apprentice.

After studying there for 9 years, he moved to NYC aged 25. There he established his own studio and even had a display at the National Academy of Design in 1829. Three years later, he was elected as an academician on the basis of his bust entitled Rocky Mountain Trapper.

In the wake of the American Civil War, a wave of public monuments were commissioned to remember the dead. Thompson was one of the most sought-after sculptors during this period creating the civil war memorial 'The Colour Bearer' in Pittsfield, Massachusetts. Thompson was one of the most important post-Civil War Sculptors in America, who exhibited in France and Italy who died in obscurity and was buried in an unmarked grave until recently. Following extensive periods from 1875 - 1881 in Italy he returned to New York in 1881 while his wife Maria Louisa Potter remained in Florence with their three children. 

It is said during his time in Italy his mental state deteriorated until he was placed in the State Homeopathic Asylum for the Insane at Middleton, New York where he died aged 61. 


A selection of his works include

Additional Information
Date of Birth 8th Feb 1833
Date of Death 26th Sep 1894

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