William L Couper (1853 – June 23, 1942) was an American sculptor.
Life and career
Born in Norfolk, Virginia, Couper studied in Munich and Florence, and remained in the latter city for 22 years before returning to the United States and establishing himself in New York in 1897 as a portraitist and sculptor of busts in the modern Italian manner. He and Ball purchased a three-story brick building on 17th Street in Manhattan to serve as shared studio space.
He married Eliza Chickering Ball, daughter of sculptor Thomas Ball (1819–1911), in Florence in 1878. He was also a colleague of Daniel Chester French.
He sculpted the figure of the Roman goddess Flora for the exhibit of the Apollinaris Company at the Chicago World's Fair in 1893. At the Pan-American Exposition in Buffalo in 1901 his work won a bronze medal.
Couper retired from sculpting in 1913.
Couper is well known for his winged figures, such as the Recording Angel at the Couper family plot in Elmwood Cemetery in Norfolk and allegorical figures, such as Psyche and A Crown for the Victor, in the collection of the Montclair Art Museum.
Couper lived much of his life in Montclair, New Jersey, where he built a large neoclassical villa he named Poggioridente or "laughing knoll". He had a home in Cortland, New York, as well. His wife died in 1939. They had several sons, one of whom, Thomas Ball Couper, lived in Montclair. His son Richard Hamilton Couper, also sculptor, died in 1918 at the age of 33.
He spent his last year at his other son William's farm in Bozman, Maryland, and died in an Easton, Maryland, hospital after a brief illness on June 23, 1942.
Confederate Monument in downtown Norfolk, VA 1906
Doctor John Witherspoon, Washington, D.C. 1909
Bronze statue of Dr. Hunter Holmes McGuire at the Virginia State Capitol, Richmond, Virginia
Statue of Captain John Smith overlooking the James River at Jamestown
Statue of John A. Roebling in City Park, Trenton, New Jersey
Statue of Abram Hewitt, New York City mayor
Statue of Morris K. Jessup, head of the New York Museum of Natural History (1910)
Bronze bust of Charles Darwin, created NY 1909 and presented to the American Museum of Natural History. A replica of this piece was also presented to Christ's College, Cambridge where Darwin had been an undergraduate.
Statue of Joseph Bryan, Monroe Park, Richmond, Virginia (1910)
Marble Sphinxes at Stanford Family Mausoleum at Stanford University, Palo Alto, California 1908
Memorial statue of poet Henry Wadsworth Longfellow in Washington, D.C. (1909)
Bust of John D. Rockefeller