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Peace and Vigilance

By Daniel Chester French
Category: Sculpture


During the construction of the 1874 Federal Customs House and Post Office (now the Old Post Office), French was commissioned to execute a sculptural group for the front pediment. The architect called for a sculpture at the base of a quadrangular dome five stories above ground, but gave no other directive. The result was Peace and Vigilance, two female figures with an eagle between them. Vigilance holds a sword; Peace, an olive branch. The artist made models that were reproduced in marble by the acclaimed stonecutters, William Struthers & Sons of Philadelphia.

The sculpture was removed in 1989 from the facade of the building for restoration. It was determined to be too fragile for continued outdoor display. A replica was cast and installed outside, and the original work was placed on display in the building’s entry rotunda.

Dimensions: 13′ x 26′ x 5′
Year Completed: 1877
Material: Marble
Owner: U. S. General Services Administration
Donor: Federal Public Project (building’s construction budget)

About the artist: