Edward V. Valentine

A Quick Look: Edward Virginius Valentine was a sculptor and former president of the Valentine Museum. His art spread the Lost Cause myth created after the Civil War.

By Valentine Museum Staff

Edward V. Valentine was born on November 2, 1838, the youngest of Mann and Elizabeth Valentine’s nine children.  He began his education at the private Richmond Academy.  

His interest in art led him to work with a family friend, artist William James Hubard, and to take classes in anatomy at the nearby Medical College of Virginia. In 1859 at the age of 20, Valentine left for Europe to work with several artists, including German sculptor August Kiss, until 1865 when he returned home to Richmond.  

Entrance card that says "Medical College of Virginia: Dissections and Demonstrations by Theo P. Mayo, M.D. Admit Mr. Ed. V. Valentine, Session 1865-57, Richmond, VA"
MCV Dissections & Demonstrations Card, 1856, Edward Valentine Papers, The Valentine.

Valentine established a sculpture studio in an old carriage house (link to studio story) and made money making popular busts and sculptures of Confederate generals for public display and racist caricature statues that were sold for private home decoration. His work helped to spread the Lost Cause myth (link to Lost Cause story).  

As an older gentleman, Edward Valentine stands in his studio dressed in a a black suit with white shirt surrounded by his sculpture including a large bus of Robert E. Lee.
Edward Valentine in studio, Cook Collection, The Valentine.

It was in this studio where Valentine would make the majority of his works, including the Recumbent Lee for  Washington and Lee University (then Washington College), the classical sculpture Andromache and Astyanax based on a Greek epic poem that was displayed at the World’s Columbian Exhibition in Chicago in 1893, and the statue of Jefferson Davis for the Davis Monument on Monument Avenue in Richmond, VA (torn down by protestors in 2020). 

He served as the first president of the Valentine Museum (opened 1898), which was founded by his brother, Mann S. Valentine II. Edward Valentine died in 1930 and is buried in Richmond’s Hollywood Cemetery. 

Learn more about Edward Valentine.

Please explore our new exhibit Sculpting History: Art, Power, and the ‘Lost Cause’ American Myth.


Need to cite this?

Authors Valentine Museum Staff
Work Title Edward V. Valentine
Website https://thevalentine.org
Published October 6, 2023
Updated November 16, 2023
Copyright © 2024 The Valentine Museum