This statue depicts an incident in the life of one of the sculptor's daughters, who had avidly followed the hatching and rearing of a nest of birds, only to be overcome with grief when the fledglings departed. Palmer, who was self-taught, was among the first American sculptors to break with the prevailing neoclassical style and adopt a more naturalistic approach.


  • Title: First Disappointment
  • Creator: Erastus Dow Palmer (American, 1817-1904)
  • Date Created: 1861
  • External Link: For more information about this and thousands of other works of art in the Walters Art Museum collection, please visit art.thewalters.org
  • Roles: Sculptor: Erastus Dow Palmer (American, 1817-1904)
  • Provenance: William T. Walters, Baltimore, by purchase, 1861; Henry Walters, Baltimore, 1894, by inheritance; Walters Art Museum, 1931, by bequest.
  • Object Type: statues; sculptures
  • Medium: marble
  • Inscriptions: [Signature] E. D. Palmer SC. 1861
  • Exhibitions: From Rye to Raphael: The Walters Story. The Walters Art Museum, Baltimore. 2014-2016.
  • Dimensions: H: 46 3/4 in. (118.7 cm)
  • Credit Line: Acquired by William T. Walters, 1861
  • Classification: Sculpture
  • Accession Number: 28.11

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