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Today's Featured Biography

Thorwaldsen

      It was in Copenhagen, on November 19, 1770, that a carver of figures for ships' heads, by name Gottskalk Thorwaldsen, was presented by his wife, Karen Groenlund, the daughter of a clergyman in Jutland, with a son, who at his baptism received the name of Bertel, or Albert.

      The father had come from Iceland, and lived in poor circumstances. They dwelt in Lille Groennegade (Little Green Street), not far from the Academy of Arts. The moon has often peeped into their poor room; she has told us about it in "A Picture-book without Pictures":

      "The father and mother slept, but their little son did not sleep; where the flowered cotton bed-curtains moved I saw the child peep out. I thought at first that he looked at the Bornholm clock, for it was finely painted with red and green, and there was a cuckoo on the top; it had heavy leaden weights, and the pendulum with its shining brass plate went to and fro with a 'tick! tick!' But it was not that he looked at; no, it was his mother's spinning-wheel, which stood directly under the clock; this was the dearest piece of furniture in the whole house for the boy; but he dared not touch it, for if he did, he got a rap over the fingers. While his mother spun, he would sit for hours together looking at the buzzing spindle and the revolving wheel, and then he had his own thoughts. Oh! if he only durst spin that wheel! His father and mother slept; he looked at them, he looked at the wheel, and then by degrees a little naked foot ...

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