Harriet Goodhue Hosmer’s father, a Massachusetts physician, noticed her talent with clay and enrolled her in an anatomy course at St. Louis Medical College. She sailed for Italy in 1852 to study with sculptor John Gibson. Hosmer specialized in life-sized marble sculptures of tragic heroines. She was the first North American sculptor to receive a commission from any church in Rome, Italy. Hosmer invented machinery and devised processes such as converting limestone into marble. After an affair with writer Matilda Hays, Hosmer became the companion of Louisa Caroline Stewart-Mackenzie, Lady Ashburton, for 25 years.