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From his studio in Rome, William Story passionately denounced the continued existence of slavery in 1860 through a series of letters published in Europe, England, and America. He presented this sculpture at the 1862 World Exposition in London as his “anti-slavery sermon in stone.”
Its subject, the Libyan Sibyl, is an ancient prophetess who foresees the fate of the African people. Story embellished her with a talismanic hexagram pendant and an ammonite shell headdress that symbolically links her to the ancient Egyptian sun god, Amun.