Henry Hudson Kitson

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Sir Henry Hudson Kitson
Born(1863-04-09)April 9, 1863
DiedJune 26, 1947(1947-06-26) (aged 84)
Known forSculpture
SpouseTheo Alice Ruggles Kitson (m.1893-div.1909)

Henry Hudson Kitson (April 9, 1863,[1] 1864 or 1865[2] – June 26, 1947) was an English-American sculptor[3] who sculpted many representations of American military heroes.

Romania's Queen Elisabeth knighted him after he sculpted a marble bust of her in the early 1900s.

His student and first wife, Theo Alice Ruggles Kitson was a sculptor as well, and his brothers, John William Kitson, Samuel James Kitson, and Robert Lewellen Kitson, also had art careers in the United States. He is perhaps best known in the U.S. for his sculpture of the "Minute Man" on Lexington Green, in Lexington, Massachusetts.


Kitson migrated to the United States about 1877/8 where he apprenticed with his oldest brother John William Kitson. William Kitson was in business with another Englishman Robert Ellin; their firm, Ellin & Kitson, were identified as architectural sculptors. They specialized in interior carving and wood work in commercial structures and churches. Some buildings they worked on were the Equitable Building, the Tilden Mansion, the Astor Memorial Redos and the William K. Vanderbilt House.

Kitson and Samuel James Kitson the next oldest brother were both associated with Ellin & Kitson doing sculptural work. According to family oral history, William now quite successful encouraged and financially provided for Harry Kitson to move to Paris 1n 1882 where he studied at the École des Beaux-Arts under the sculptor Jean-Marie Bonnassieux and sculptor Dumont. Kitson also was enrolled in the École nationale supérieure des arts décoratifs studying under Millet and Ganter. He returned first in 1884/5 to NYC to his eldest brother William's business but in 1886 removed to Boston where his sculptor brother Sam had established a studio. Once there Kitson received numerous commissions and began teaching. His students included portrait sculptor Leila Usher.[4] John William Kitson died in 1888[5] and Samuel James had returned to Boston after a stay in Washington, DC. The youngest brother, Robert Lewellen Kitson, a water-colorist, joined his older brothers in Boston about 1902.

In 1893, Kitson married Theo Alice Ruggles, a former student of his, who went on to have a successful career of her own as Theo Alice Ruggles Kitson. Theo and Harry had three children: Theo (called Babs), John, who became a civil engineer, and Dorothy. None of the children had issue. The noted sculptor Gaston Lachaise worked in his atelier. Many of Henry Hudson Kitson papers are in the Archives of American Art in Washington, D.C., as well as the New York Historical Society. Kitson only carried a British passport.

He was the author of numerous public monuments, and left behind his home, Santarella, in Tyringham. The home, which Kitson modified extensively, was recently restored and now operates as a special events venue as well as providing overnight accommodation.


Vicksburg National Military Park[edit]

Selected works[edit]


  1. ^ Greenthal. Kozol, Ramirez, ‘’American Figurative Sculpture in the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston’’, Northeastern University Press and the Museam of Fine Arts, Boston., 1986 p. 299, 301
  2. ^ Taft, Lorado, ‘’The History of American Sculpture’’, The Macmillan Company, New York,1925 p. 489
  3. ^ Greenthal. Kozol, Ramirez, ‘’American Figurative Sculpture in the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston’’, Northeastern University Press and the Museam of Fine Arts, Boston., 1986 p. 300
  4. ^ "Leila Usher, Sculptress, 95". New York Herald Tribune. OCLC 785729899. Retrieved July 31, 2017 – via OCLC.
  5. ^ "The Late Mr. John William Kitson". The Building News and Engineering Journal. Vol. 54. February 24, 1888. p. 309. Retrieved July 31, 2017 – via Google Books.
  6. ^ "Self-Guided tour of Notable Art" (PDF). Rhode Island Foundation. The Roger Williams Park Consevancy. Archived from the original (PDF) on 20 August 2016. Retrieved 19 April 2017.

Family letters, business letters, photos and other documents held by family historian

  • Frank Torrey Robinson, "Living New England Artists: Biographical Sketches...", S. E. Cassino, Publisher Boston 1888 pgs 113-119
  • Columbia Publishing Company, MA {(Massachusetts Of Today: A Memorial of the State, Historical and Biographical)}, 1892 by Toomey & Juinn, Page 172

External links[edit]