Gallery of Historical Figures – Gallery Guide

Table of Contents

George Stuart. artist, historian, entertainer

Fifty years of communicating history through art and entertainment.

Artist, Historian, Entertainer

For more than fifty years George S. Stuart has been capturing the essence of history's most famous and infamous personalities. Rarely have art and history been melded so exactly in works of such breathtaking realism. See also this recent magazine article (pdf).

To date, he has created more than four hundred Historical Figures that have been exhibited in the Smithsonian and private collections. For more about Mr. Stuart and the Historical Figures, see the book and DVDs in the Shoppe .

George Stuart portrai

George Stuart performing an historical monolog

Entertaining Historical Monologs

Viewing a Group of Historical Figures gained special significance when accompanied by Mr. Stuart's informative, entertaining monologs about the personages and their times. Mr. Stuart presented monologs several times each month at the Museum of Ventura County and other venues until his retirement in 2015.

The Studio

In his Ojai, California studio Mr. Stuart continues to model Historical Figures in mixed media.  In quarter life size, his portraits are closer to figurative art, yet are often mistakenly called miniatures, figurines – or worse, dolls. Mr. Stuart is also very active in preservation and restoration of existing Figures.
George Stuart in his Ojai, CA studio


Modeling a Historical Figure


Once a subject is selected for an Historical Figure, George Stuart carefully studies the personality, contemporary texts, paintings drawings, anatomy references, even autopsy reports and death masks.


With the Historical Figure and its times understood, Stuart sketches how to best represent the Figure - clothing, position and demeanor. Accessories such as jewels, and weapons are selected and designed.

Historical Figure research Historical Figure planning


Figures are made of mixed media. Modeling begins with an articulated skeleton of iron wire sized to the best anatomical data. Heights can vary from Queen Victoria less than 5 feet tall to Abe Lincoln at nearly 6 ½ ft.

Bones and Muscle

The wire skeleton is carefully wrapped in clay tape to form bones. Cotton is added and modeled to form the muscles and shape.

Historical Figure skeleton Historical Figure bones and muscle


Next a "skin" is sewn of felt and the Figure is covered. Muscles are articulated with needle and thread.


The hands are carefully sized and shaped in wire, often to hold objects or to portray a gesture. The final hands and feet are then sculpted in modeling material.

Historical Figure skin sculpture Historical Figure hands sculpture


A preformed plastic skull is shaped to the anatomy of the Figure. Then clay is modeled in several steps that results in the likeness of the Figure.

Hair and Scalp

Hair and scalp of Icelandic sheepskin is carefully modeled and applied. The hair is colored and styled to the Figure's likeness.

Historical Figure head sculpture Historical Figure hair and scalp

Assembly and Make Up

The body parts are assembled; the head and hands are carefully painted and colored. Undergarments of the times are added so that outer garments lie properly.

Clothing and Accessories

Finally outer garments, shoes, jewelry, weapons, accessories, etc. are set. The Figure is attached to a base.

Historical Figure assembly
Historical Figure clothing

More about George S. Stuart on Wikipedia!

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Images © copyright 2006 by Peter d'Aprix