Edward Valentine’s Sculpture Studio

A Quick Look: For thirty-nine years, Edward V. Valentine created some of his most well-known sculptures in the carriage house turned studio at 809 East Leigh Street in Richmond.

By Valentine Museum Staff
Edward Valentine's sculpture studio small rectangle building with a flat roof.
Edward Valentine Studio Exterior, Cook Collection, The Valentine.

Valentine purchased the twenty-two by fifty-six feet building in August of 1871 to remodel as his workspace while living there briefly. The 1830s carriage house was part of the Hayes-McCance property and was originally constructed for Thomas Green. Given its function and size, it is likely that enslaved laborers built the structure and lived inside it until 1865.  

It was in this studio where Valentine sculpted the Recumbent Lee for Washington College  (now Washington and Lee University), 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). 

In 1926, he sold his studio to his great-niece, Ann Valentine Kelly, who then sold the property to Charles S. Valentine in 1932 after Edward Valentine’s death in 1930. 

The City of Richmond marked the building for destruction in 1936 to make way for athletic fields for John Marshall High School. At that time, a group from the Valentine Museum worked alongside city and school board officials to relocate the studio building to the Valentine Museum to be used for exhibit space and educational programming.  

From the late 1930s into the 1990s, the museum used the space as storage, an exhibit where visitors could peak in and see the workspace of a professional artist from Richmond’s past, and then as an exhibit where visitors could get a fuller picture of Edward Valentine’s life, process and historical context.  

In 2015, the museum begins to change the visitor experience of the space through conversations and questions surrounding the artist and his work during post-Civil War Richmond.  

After the social justice protests in 2020 that reignited conversations and actions surrounding our city’s Confederate monuments, the museum decided to reinterpret the Edward Valentine’s studio using the space to ask questions about how the Lost Cause myth became so dominant across American culture.  

Learn more about Edward Valentine’s Studio.

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 Valentine’s Sculpture Studio
Website https://thevalentine.org
Published October 6, 2023
Updated May 24, 2024
Copyright © 2024 The Valentine Museum