October 27, 2021

Morven Acquires Portrait Bust of Sheila Johnson

“BUST OF SHEILA JOHNSON BRUTSCH” Alec Miller’s  1937 limewood work of Robert Wood Johnson’s daughter is now on view at Morven Museum & Garden on Stockton Street.

Morven Museum & Garden was recently gifted a small bust of Sheila Johnson Brutsch (Robert Wood Johnson’s daughter) as a child. “Commissioned by Maggi and Robert Johnson in 1937, this portrait bust of their 3-year-old daughter gives a glimpse of what Sheila would have looked like during her childhood living at Morven,” said Elizabeth Allan, Morven’s curator and deputy director.

The bust is on a Johnson desk and reflects the sweet relationship between father and daughter. Through oral histories it is known that the two shared breakfast together nearly every day during their tenure at Morven.

The limewood bust with walnut base was created by Scottish woodworker Alec Miller, who made numerous trips to America to complete commissions of children. While in Princeton, Miller sculpted Sheila Johnson and her best friend Alice Byrd, whose parents had her likeness done at the same time.

Robert Wood Johnson Jr. and his family resided at Morven from 1928 to 1944.

“Our newest acquisition is a great reason to visit Morven again, if you’re already a member, and an especially great reason to visit if you’ve never before,” said Jill Barry, Morven’s executive director.

Morven Museum & Garden is open Wednesday through Sunday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. and is located at 55 Stockton Street. For more information, visit morven.org.