Rimmer, William,1816–79, American sculptor and writer, b. Liverpool, England. He was brought up in the United States and after working as a cobbler in Brockton, Mass., at the age of 30 began the study of medicine. He practiced medicine for a number of years, at the same time painting occasional portraits and religious subjects. In 1855 he began to carve in granite. Among his early works are Despair (Mus. of Fine Arts, Boston) and the Falling Gladiator (Metropolitan Mus.). His knowledge of anatomy and his imaginative power are apparent in the few pieces that survive. He completed statues of Alexander Hamilton (Boston) and Osiris in 1864. Other remaining sculptures are The Dying Centaur and Fighting Lions (Metropolitan Mus.). In 1876, Rimmer became professor of anatomy and sculpture at the School of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston. He was director and chief instructor (1866–70) of the School of Design for Women, Cooper Union, New York City. He wrote Elements of Design (1864) and Art Anatomy (1877).
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Rimmer, William(1816–79) painter, sculptor; born in Liverpool, England. His family emigrated to the Boston area (1818), and his father claimed he was the lost Dauphin of France, a claim William also made. William grew up in poverty, and after working as a typesetter, cobbler, and self-taught doctor, he became a sculptor, painter, and respected teacher in New York and Boston. He is best known for his publication, The Elements of Design (1864), and for his mystical and enigmatic paintings, such as Flight and Pursuit (1872).
The Cambridge Dictionary of American Biography, by John S. Bowman. Copyright © Cambridge University Press 1995. Reproduced with permission.