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Born in Carrara, Italy, in 1757, sculptor Giovanni Andrei started his career in Florence. He came to the United States in February 1806, with his wife, under an agreement to do sculptural work at the Capitol. His services were secured through the aid of Philip Mazzei, a friend and correspondent of President Jefferson. Andrei modeled the capitals for the Hall of the House of Representatives, destroyed by the British in August, 1814.

In August, 1815, he was commissioned by the Commissioner of Public Buidings to return to Italy to engage sculptors and carvers for the work of rebuilding the Capitol; also to make arrengements for the carving in Italy of the capitals for the Hall of the House of Representatives (now Statuary Hall). His wife accompanied him again on the journey. As a result of this trip, Andrei secured Carlo Franzoni, a younger brother of Giuseppe Franzoni, and Francesco Iardella for the work at the Capitol.

He continued in charge of the sculpture until the time of his death on in Washington, D.C., on October 21, 1824. His wife then returned to Italy, and descendants of Andrei are reported as being residents of Florence. Charles Bulfinch, architect of the Capitol at the time of the death of Andrei, states in his report of December 8, 1824: "His ability and refined taste are fully evidenced in the ornamental parts of the Capitol, modeled by him, and executed under his inspection."

Between 1807 and 1809, Andrei executed sculptural work in Baltimore, Maryland, for the Chapel of St. Mary's Seminary of St. Sulpice, and his connection with that of Giuseppe Franzoni in the execution of a medallion for the home of Thomas Jefferson at Monticello is shown by a letter from Jefferson to Latrobe, January 25, 1812.


United States Congressional serial set, 1913