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posted May 17, 2020, 5:52 AM by David Brown   [ updated May 17, 2020, 1:14 PM ]


Tuesday, May 19, 2020 – 12:00pm to 1:00pm. Registration is requested. Free and open to the public. Read more and register at Boston Athenaeum.org

Merry Christmas 2019

posted Dec 28, 2019, 4:58 PM by David Brown

Victorian Christmas

A Victorian Christmas Card

    Merry Christmas to descendants and friends of the Eminent 19th Century Sculptor and Artist, Ball Hughes. I've been very busy the last 4 years and unable to add new material to the site. Today we went to see the new 2019 Little Women movie and it prompted me to write this update.

    I've continued to do research on the Ball Hughes family and have much to add. I've acquired the original letters: "A Ball Hughes Correspondence" previously reported on this website. It's amazing that personal letters like this have survived and been preserved. They are now back in the family.

    I also acquired an early model for the statue of Uncle Toby & the Widow Wadman. It was found in the back room of an antique store in Rochester, NY that went out of business a few years ago. More research has to be done since it appears from photographs on the Intenet that there was more than one model made.

    Two more Alti Metra Pelorus' by Ball Hughes have been found and will be added to the site. They are all signed "BH" and have slight differences from being hand engraved by Ball Hughes. How many more could there be?

    An 1834 bust signed by Ball Hughes has been discovered and may be of Alexander Hamilton.

    I discovered a photograph of Augusta Ball (Hughes) Brown from 1852, the year she was married to Benjamin Franklin Brown. It was in a suitcase of family papers that my cousin Larry Brown gave me a few years ago. I'm finally going through them!

    The family papers I have also contain letters between Mrs. Eliza Ball Hughes and the National Academy of Design about donating some Ball Hughes papers to the Academy where he was one of the founders in 1825–26.

    More Pokerworks have been discovered including another "The Monk" and "Gen. Winfield Scott."

    As you can see, I have a lot of material to add to the website.

Dave Brown

New Home for the Website

posted Oct 19, 2015, 11:01 AM by David Brown

Robert Ball Hughes finally has a new home at www.RobertBallHughes.com. The new website looks the same but will allow me to expand over the 100 MB limit of the old site. I was at 99 MB and in danger of running out of space. The old website is still accessible but you will get a pop-up notice if you visit it.

The new website can be reached at www.RobertBallHughes.com. The URL address of every page starts with "www.robertballhughes.com" so you will know that you are on the new site. Be sure to use the "www" prefix and bookmark the new address.

Now I can get back to the work of adding new pages!

David Brown

Happy New Year 2015

posted Dec 31, 2014, 8:16 PM by David Brown

This past year I have been preoccupied and unable to update the website. The work has continued behind the scenes though.

In 2014, I discovered another pokerism, The Roman Bagpiperby Ball Hughes after an engraving of a painting by J. Gilbert from the June 1861 edition of the Illustrated London News. This makes four copies of Gilbert's works by Ball Hughes. Perhaps there may be more to be discovered?

My cousin, Larry Brown, loaned me a suitcase full of Brown family documents dating back to the 1800's. I need to sort through them and scan the ones related to Ball Hughes.

I found B. F. Brown's passports from 1872, 1878, and 1888 in my Mother's apartment. This suggests that he may have accompanied his wife, Augusta, along with her sister, Georgiana Ball Hughes, and her mother, Eliza Ball Hughes, on some of their trips to England and France in the 1870's.

I also acquired the CDV photograph shown below of Mrs. Robert Ball Hughes from a dealer in England. It was taken by Franck of Paris in the late 1850's or 1860's.

Mrs. Ball Hughes
Photogr. Franck.

From Wikipedia: "The carte de visite (abbreviated CdV or CDV, and also spelled carte-de-visite or erroneously referred to as carte de ville) was a type of small photograph which was patented in Paris, France by photographer André Adolphe Eugène Disdéri in 1854." CDV's were popularized during the American Civil War era. Soldiers could easily carry the small 2.25" x 3.5" photos with them.

I hope to get back to work on the website conversion in 2015.

David Brown

2013: Year In Review

posted Feb 6, 2014, 8:23 AM by David Brown   [ updated Feb 6, 2014, 8:27 AM ]

2013 was another busy year here at RobertBallHughes.com.


A new page was created for the Bust of Charles Wilkes.

A recent image of Little Nell was discovered on the Boston Athenæum website. Read what David B. Dearinger of the Boston Athenæum wrote about it.

The images for two different busts of Washington Irving have been replaced with better quality images.

A new page was created for the Bust of Chief Justice John Marshall.

A new page for the unique Chinaman statue that Ball Hughes carved in stone for the Redding & Co.'s main Tea Store in Boston around 1852.

The new page was created for the Bust of T. H. Perkins, with images of the bust from the Perkins School for the Blind.

A previously unknown wax miniature portrait of Nathaniel Ingersoll Bowditch, Jr. (1805-1861) was sold to a private owner in early 2013.

Another new pokerism was been discovered! See the new page for The Grapeseller.

Read the amazing story of how two new pokerisms of Daniel Webster were discovered in 2009 in the trash about 1.5 mile from Ball Hughes's former home, Sunnyside.

A third pokerism of Senor Don Sancho Panza Governor of Barataria, ca 1862, was discovered in May 2013.

Ten new pages were created in 2013. RobertBallHughes.com now has about 125 web pages and I'm using 99% of my free Google Sites 100MB storage capacity. I need to look into alternative web hosting next. 

I greatly appreciate all the descendants and friends of Robert Ball Hughes who provided information, images, and material to use on the site. See the Please Help page to see if you to can help! Thank you.

Watch for more announcements in 2014!

David Brown

New Dickens Movie Released

posted Dec 24, 2013, 3:50 PM by David Brown

The Invisible Woman (2013) by director Ralph Fiennes and starring Ralph Fiennes and Felicity Jones will be released on December 25, 2013. 
Movie Info
Nelly (Felicity Jones), a happily-married mother and schoolteacher, is haunted by her past. Her memories, provoked by remorse and guilt, take us back in time to follow the story of her relationship with Charles Dickens (Ralph Fiennes) with whom she discovered an exciting but fragile complicity. Dickens - famous, controlling and emotionally isolated within his success - falls for Nelly, who comes from a family of actors. The theatre is a vital arena for Dickens - a brilliant amateur actor - a man more emotionally coherent on the page or on stage, than in life. As Nelly becomes the focus of Dickens' passion and his muse, for both of them secrecy is the price, and for Nelly a life of "invisibility".(c) Sony Classics

See IMDB for more details about The Invisible Woman.

This movie may help to visualize the personality of Charles Dickens and the times he lived in. I assume the movie will show Dickens reading one of his books in a theatre like he did with A Christmas Carol in Boston on December 2, 1867.  See the Charles Dickens page on this site to learn about Ball Hughes' relationship with Dickens.

Merry Christmas
David Brown

Senor Don Sancho Panza

posted Sep 5, 2013, 6:44 AM by David Brown

A third pokerism of Senor Don Sancho Panza Governor of Barataria, ca 1862, was discovered in May 2013. See the new page for Senor Don Sancho Panza.

Mount Auburn Cemetery honored with Preservation Award

posted Jul 13, 2013, 5:32 PM by David Brown   [ updated Jul 13, 2013, 5:33 PM ]

Posted Jul 13, 2013 @ 04:17 PM

Cambridge —

The Victorian Society of America/New England Chapter recently recognized Mount Auburn Cemetery with a Preservation Award.

The Victorian Society honored the cemetery for conservation of the Robert Gould Shaw Monument by Hammatt Billings (1848); conservation of the statue of Nathaniel Bowditch by R. Ball Hughes (1847), conservation of the statue of Hygeia by Edmonia Lewis (1872); and the reconstruction of the entrance way to Story Chapel.

The award was received by Gus Fraser, director of preservation, and Meg L. Winslow, Cambridge resident and curator of historical collections, at the 40th annual awards event held June 27 at Story Chapel.

Read more: http://www.wickedlocal.com/cambridge/news/x606641034/Mount-Auburn-Cemetery-honored-with-Preservation-Award#ixzz2YyWoR0v4 

Breaking News: Two new Pokerisms Found

posted Jul 7, 2013, 3:55 PM by David Brown   [ updated Jul 8, 2013, 4:09 AM ]

Read the amazing story of how two new pokerisms of Daniel Webster were discovered in 2009 in the trash about 1.5 mile from Ball Hughes's former home, Sunnyside.

Equestrian Statue of George Washington

posted Jul 4, 2013, 6:38 AM by David Brown   [ updated Jul 4, 2013, 6:39 AM ]

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