Donors of the Walker Art Building as well as a significant collection of art and antiquities, Mary Sophia Walker (1839–1904) and Harriet Sarah Walker (1844–1898) were among the most significant benefactors in the development of the art collection at Bowdoin. Commissioned in 1891 in memory of their uncle, Theophilus Wheeler Walker (1813–1890), their Renaissance Revival building was to be “entirely devoted to art.” Inspiring donors and collectors since its completion in 1894, the Walker Art Building remains home to the Bowdoin College Museum of Art. In purchasing works in celebration of the new building, the Walker sisters sought the advice of Edward Perry Warren (1860–1928), an eminent American antiquities collector. Greek ceramics and Roman glass vessels were among the first ancient art objects the Walkers acquired for Bowdoin.
Mary Sophia Walker and Harriet Sarah Walker
- A new museum and ancient art
Left, Robert Gordon Hardie, Portrait of Miss Harriet Sarah Walker, 1900, oil on canvas, 1904.4 ; Right, Anna Elizabeth Klumpke, Portrait of Miss Mary Sophia Walker, 1895, oil on canvas. Bowdoin College Museum of Art, Bequest of Mary Sophia Walker, 1904.3.