Born in Jackson, New York, Horatio Stone (1808-1875) worked as a medical doctor before turning his attention to sculpture in the 1840s. He moved to Washington D.C. in 1848, and in 1856 co-founded and became President of the Washington Art Association. While he maintained studios in D.C., he spent much of his later life in Carrara, Italy, an area known for its marble quarries; the portrait bust offered here was carved whilst Stone was in Italy.
On June 11, 1866, Stone received a $10,000 commission for a full-length, oversized marble statue of Alexander Hamilton, first Secretary of the United States Treasury, for the U. S. Capitol in Washington D.C. Completed in 1868, the sculpture has remained in the Rotunda of the National Statuary Hall since 1900. The bust offered here, dated 1867, was perhaps part of the preparatory work for this public commission. Stone used a bust by Giuseppe Ceracchi (1751-1801/2) as inspiration for Hamilton’s countenance, as Ceracchi had created a terra cotta work of Hamilton from life in Philadelphia in 1791 or 1792 (David Bernard Dearinger, Paintings and Sculpture in the Collection of the National Academy of Design: 1826-1925 (Manchester, Vermont, 2004), p. 90).