“To Bind in Admiration All Who Gaze”
Lydia Sigourney’s Sentimental Ekphrasis
Pages 321 - 333
This paper examines some of Lydia Sigourney’s poetic descriptions of artworks to argue that her work is concerned with the changing place of the visual arts in Americans’ lives in the middle of the nineteenth century. Sigourney’s ekphrastic poems guide the reader through a process of emulating the visual forms that they describe, encouraging readers to embody the emotional experience of the works. Such experience trained Americans to approach the increasing number of reprinted art images in books and periodicals, as well as preparing the ground a growing gallery culture later in the century.