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Lessons in LikenessPortrait Painters in Kentucky and the Ohio River Valley, 1802-1920$

Estill Curtis Pennington

Print publication date: 2010

Print ISBN-13: 9780813126128

Published to Kentucky Scholarship Online: September 2011

DOI: 10.5810/kentucky/9780813126128.001.0001

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(p.222) (p.223) Appendix An Index of Artists in Edna Talbott Whitley’s

(p.222) (p.223) Appendix An Index of Artists in Edna Talbott Whitley’s

Kentucky Ante-bellum Portraiture

Lessons in Likeness
University Press of Kentucky

Although a large number of sources were consulted in the writing of this book, Edna Talbott Whitley’s Kentucky Ante-bellum Portraiture needs to be singled out as pivotal to the study of portraiture in Kentucky and the Ohio River Valley. Whitley was born in Paris, Bourbon County, Kentucky, one of the oldest settlements in the Bluegrass. She was educated in the genteel tradition of home schools, which stressed the reading of classics, the practice of music and dance, and the acquisition of a strong moral, spiritual, and intellectual discipline. At the time of her birth, Bourbon County thought of itself as old, venerable, and resistant to change. The atmosphere in which she matured, married, and began her career as an amateur writer and antiquarian encouraged an almost religious devotion to the history of buildings, objects, and leading personalities from what was regarded as a golden era “before the war.”

Her motivation may also be attributed to her mother, Sally Grimes Talbott, a founding member of the local Daughters of the American Revolution, whose aid Edna sought in rolling bandages for the Spanish-American War. Mrs. Talbott also collected antiques at a time when most locals thought of them as used furniture. In an interview with the Lexington Herald Leader in October 1972, Whitley said that “she bought back furniture that had been given to servants and from relatives who wanted golden oak. She collected five sideboards, one for each of her children, and stored them in the stable and basement” of her large Victorian house on Duncan Avenue.

Edna married a local attorney, Wade Hampton Whitley, whose family included several revered Confederate veterans. After his early death she taught piano and wrote various articles for local papers until she was inspired to undertake a project on Kentucky portraiture. In 1938 her friend and fellow Colonial Dame Katherine Stout Bradley of Georgetown, Kentucky, presented the historical activities committee of the state organization with a scrapbook of photographs of portraits. These photographs provided the basis for a much-needed and far more sweeping inventory of extant portraiture in the commonwealth than existed at the time.

In the preface to her book, Whitley stated that her goals were “threefold: the preservation of the known history of each painting, artist, portrait subject, which in the process of oral transmission, was in danger of becoming vaguer with successive generations; the preservation of photographs as insurance against complete loss, since most of the portraits were housed in private homes and thus subject to destruction by fire; the opportunity afforded for study of a number of works by known artists, at given periods of their productivity, as well as those of unknown painters who might be identified in the process” (vii). With this well-considered approach to artist, sitter, and object in mind, she began to collect information.

Although this process was driven by the genealogical interest in the sitters on the part of the Colonial Dames, who tracked down portraits and commissioned photographs, it soon became apparent that there was also a need for information on the artists themselves. To identify these portrait artists, their biographies, and their places of activity, Whitley consulted a vast range of sources. In downtown Paris she was able to read the complete record of the Kentucky Citizen, one of the first papers in the state, from whose pages she gleaned information from advertisements and notices of portrait services available. She also read all the published secondary sources, both national and regional, with particular attention to William Dunlap, Lewis Collins, and Charles Cist.

In the course of this study I also discovered that she had (p.224) access to the artist files of the Works Progress Administration, which were stored at the Louisville Public Library. During the depression the WPA hired people to abstract information from newspapers and write biographical accounts of local artists. It was from these files that she collected many of the anecdotes she reports as having been published in a certain paper on a certain day. While in Louisville she also worked at the Filson Club, reading archival material to enhance her biographies. In a letter to Mabel, the Filson librarian, on October 1, 1952, Whitley states that after nearly fifteen years she is “down to ‘W’ in my first draft, but of course there will be lots of revisions, corrections, etc. But I begin to feel some hope.”

She worked at the Frick Art Reference Library in New York. Several times a year she would take the train north and stay at the Barbizon Hotel for Women so she could walk the few blocks to the Frick on Fifth Avenue. Helen Clay Frick and Dr. J. Hall Pleasants of Baltimore had been collecting photographs of southern portraits for more than twenty years, and these were carefully cataloged and stored on mounts with added information. Whitley’s appreciation for the Frick was unbounded. “Without the pioneer work done in Kentucky by that Foundation,” she told Justus Bier, the Louisville Courier-Journal art critic, “I doubt if the book would have been undertaken.” Through the tedious method of verisimilitude of detail, Mrs. Whitley began to sort through the photographs, in search of likeness in like things. As a result of this work she was able to define and illustrate the work of more than 125 artists in Kentucky. At the back of the volume she published notes on over 600 portrait artists active in the region.

When Kentucky Ante-bellum Portraiture was published in an edition of one thousand volumes in 1956, Justus Bier, in the June 10 Louisville Courier-Journal, praised it as “a monumental work. It is a documentation of the most important phase in the early art life of a state where portraiture for a long time overshadowed all other types of art.” After that publication, Edna Whitley continued to give lectures and write articles, and she published two directories of cabinetmakers in Kentucky, again gleaned from newspaper reading. At her eighty-fifth birthday celebration she said that “not having a purpose causes wrinkles in the soul.”

On a personal note I can recall Edna Whitley as a fixture of my childhood, someone my grandmother would point out to me as a highly intelligent person who published books and whom I could call on and ask questions about Kentucky history if I would promise to be very nice and quiet (difficult for me). She was a very serious and formal person who was not especially fond of precocious children, as she made clear, but she did guide my reading and tolerated my enthusiasms. When I became a regional representative for the Archives of American Art in 1981, I went to Kentucky with the express purpose of doing an oral history with her. Being self-conscious about her amateur status, she was very reluctant to be taped, although she consented to let me sit with her in the afternoon and take notes on what she said. From those conversations came my first work on William Edward West and my increased appetite for portrait study.

It is now more than fifty years since the publication of Kentucky Ante-bellum Portraiture, and although there are no glaring errors in Whitley’s work, there is more recent information to be incorporated into the biographical accounts. Furthermore, the efforts of the compilers of the Catalog of American Portraiture at the National Portrait Gallery have resulted in a much larger volume of visual material than Edna Whitley could ever have seen or consulted. It is to be hoped that building on her work only furthers her goal to perpetuate the lives and works of portrait artists who have given these lessons in likeness to illuminate an ever-receding past.

The following is a list of the artists she included in her biographical notes. Only those artists considered to be of note, as defined in my introduction, are included in the biographical section of the present study. In many instances Whitley included artists whose names turned up in city directories or newspaper advertisements, and for whom no extant works have been found. In the years since her publication several birth and death dates have been altered on the basis of new information. They are given here as published as yet another signpost for successive generations.

  • Alexander, Francis (1800–1881)
  • Allen, Thomas (in Louisville 1843/44)
  • Andrews, Eliphalet Fraser (1835–1915)
  • Armstrong, Arthur (1798–1851)
  • Aubrey, Jean (1810–1893)
  • Audubon, John James (1785–1851)
  • Audubon, John Woodhouse (1812–1862)
  • Bancroft, G. F. (ca. 1848)
  • Bancroft, Spencer T. (1828–1857)
  • Baumgardner, Peter (1834–post-1873)
  • Beard, James Henry (1812–1893)
  • Beck, George (1750–1815)
  • Bingham, George Caleb (1811–1879)
  • Boccasini, Rudolph (1885 receipt to Filson Club)
  • Bogle, James P. (1817–1873)
  • Boll, Nancy (Louisville, 1860)
  • (p.225) Bradford, Alexander (1791–1827)
  • Bradford, John (177?–1824)
  • Brenner, C. C. (1838–1888)
  • Brown, Thomas (Louisville, 1860)
  • Brown, William Henry (1808–1882)
  • Buckley, Reuben H. (1814–ca. 1889)
  • Bush, Joseph Henry (1794–1865, in Louisville 1850s)
  • Campbell, Thomas (d. ca. 1851, in Louisville 1844–1851)
  • Carson, James (Louisville, 1844)
  • Clarke, Richard T. (1820–post-1867)
  • Cogswell, William F. (1819–1903)
  • Cooke, George (1793–1846)
  • Cooper, Washington Bogart (1802–1888)
  • Cooper, William Brown (1811–1890, in Louisville 1869–1870, 1877)
  • Copman, Pierce (Louisville, 1848)
  • Corwine, Aaron Houghton (1802–1830)
  • Craft, R. B. (pre-1839–post-1865)
  • Crump, Richard (Louisville, 1836–1841, 1844–1845, 1846–1852)
  • Curwin, J. (1837–post-1860, in Louisville 1860)
  • Davenport, Patrick Henry (1803–1890)
  • Dearborn, Samuel H. (pre-1800–post-1845)
  • Dodge, John Wood (1807–1893)
  • Douglas, Alonzo (ca. 1848)
  • Duncanson, Robert Scott (1821–1871)
  • Dury, George (1817–1894)
  • Duveneck, Frank (1848–1919)
  • Earle, Ralph Eleasar Whiteside (1788–1837)
  • Eaton, Joseph Oriel (1829–1875, Louisville, 1860)
  • Eckstein, F. J. (Louisville, 1851–1852)
  • Edwards, Clement R. (1820–1898)
  • Eichbaum, George Calder (1837–1919)
  • Elliott, Charles Loring (1812–1868)
  • Elrod, J. C. (ca. 1825–?, Louisville, 1860 dauguerreotypist)
  • Eshelman, A. (ca. 1826–post-1878)
  • Fahrenburg, Albert (Louisville, 1859–1860)
  • Falquet, Alexander (ca. 1856)
  • Farrer, Joseph (ca. 1821–post-1850)
  • Felt, John (Louisville, 1860)
  • Flagg, George Whiting (1816–1897)
  • Flagg, Jared B. (1920–1899)
  • Ford, Alexander (1820–post-1844)
  • Fourcade, Anarcharsis (1813–post-1860, Louisville, 1850s)
  • Fowler, Joseph (Louisville, 1850)
  • Fowler, Trevor Thomas (ca. 1829–post-1871)
  • Franca, Manuel Joaquim de (1808–1865)
  • Francis, John F. (1808–1888, Louisville, 1856)
  • Frankenstein, Godfrey Nikolaus (1820–1873)
  • Frankenstein, John Peter (1817–1881)
  • Frazer, Oliver (1808–1864)
  • Frye, George Wilhelm (1812–1872)
  • Funk, Francis (Louisville, 1860)
  • Fuqua, William J. (1839–1901)
  • Ganter, Daniel (ca. 1847)
  • Ganter, J. M. (ca. 1825–post-1857)
  • Garrett, John W. B. (ca. 1820–post-1857)
  • Gengembre, C. (1790–post-1850)
  • Goodard, Edwin F. (ca. 1800–1855)
  • Goodwin, J. B. (ca. 1845–1850)
  • Gorbut, William B. (Louisville, 1867–1868)
  • Gorham, John D. (ca. 1837–post-1865)
  • Goulding, Thomas (Louisville, 1843–1845)
  • Grimes, John (1799–1837)
  • Hankins, Cornelius (1863–1946)
  • Hansel, T. M. (Louisville, 1860)
  • Harding, Chester (1792–1866)
  • Hart, James M. (McDougall?) (1828–1901)
  • Haskins, Joseph (ca. 1818)
  • Heade, Martin Johnson (1819–1904)
  • Healey, George Peter Alexander (1813–1894)
  • Hervieu, Auguste (1814–1858)
  • Hicks, Thomas (1823–1890)
  • Hite, George Harrison (ca. 1835–1888)
  • Hobbs, J. W. (ca. 1860)
  • Hooper, Simon (ca. 1822)
  • Housel, T. M. (Louisville, 1860)
  • Huntington, Daniel (1816–1906)
  • Ingham, Charles Crowell (1796–1863)
  • Inman, Henry (1801–1846)
  • Irwine, Benoni (1840–1896)
  • Jackson, Moses (Louisville, 1844–1845)
  • Jarvis, Charles Wesley (1812–1868)
  • Jarvis, John Wesley (1780–1839)
  • Jenkins, P. O. (ca. 1818–post-1880)
  • Jenks, B. W. (Louisville, 1841–1842)
  • Jerome, Orien (Louisville, 1832)
  • Johnstone, William (ca. 1790–post-1860)
  • Jouett, Matthew Harris (1788–1827)
  • Kellogg, Miner Kilbourne (1814–1889)
  • King, Charles Bird (1785–1862)
  • Krementz, Joseph (Louisville, 1864–1865)
  • Kyle, Joseph (1815–1863)
  • Lambdin, George Cockran (1830–1896)
  • Lambdin, James Reid (1807–1889)
  • Leonard, S. (Louisville, 1842–1844)
  • Leonard, Samuel (ca. 1850)
  • Letton, John Wesley (ca. 1777–ca. 1845)
  • (p.226) Letton, Ralph (1778–post-1840)
  • Locke, P. S. (ca. 1848)
  • Lockwood, Rembrandt (ca. 1840)
  • Lowery, H. (ca. 1860)
  • Lyon, Sidney S. (ca. 1806–post-1863)
  • Lyons, William (ca. 1826–1850)
  • Macey, Reuben J. A. (ca. 1830)
  • Marion, John C. (ca. 1822–ca. 1870)
  • Marrs, William R. (ca. 1859)
  • Marschall, Nicola (1829–1917)
  • Marsh, Peter (Louisville, 1840)
  • Marshall (? Montgomery Co.?)
  • Mason, Joseph R. (1807–1883)
  • Mayr, Christian (1805–1851)
  • McAbee, John W. (Louisville, 1848–1849)
  • McCann, William Penn (1830–1906)
  • McDowell, Magdalen Harvie (1829–1918)
  • McGarvey, John (ca. 1821–post-1850)
  • Mentelle, Waldemard (1769–1846)
  • Merine, J. C. (Louisville, 1848)
  • Merritt, John (ca. 1860)
  • Miller, Alfred Jacob (1810–1874)
  • Miller, Charles G. (ca. 1800–post-1852)
  • Moise, Theodore Sidney (1806–1883)
  • Moody, F. B. (ca. 1827–post-1870)
  • Moore, Rob? Bob? (ca. 1816–1869)
  • Morgan, Louis (1806–1851)
  • Morgan, Thomas W. (Louisville, 1838–1839)
  • Morton, Edmund (ca. 1861)
  • Mosler, Henry (1841–1920)
  • Moss, John (ca. 1860)
  • Myers, Daniel (Louisville, 1822)
  • Neagle, John (1796–1865)
  • Noble, Thomas Satterwhite (1835–1907)
  • Owen, David Dale (1807–1860)
  • Park, Asa (17?–1827)
  • Parker, C. R. (1799–1849)
  • Paul, Jeremiah, Jr. (Louisville, 1819)
  • Pering, Cornelius (1806–1881)
  • Perkins, S. (ca. 1860)
  • Peters, Alexander L. (1799–1835)
  • Phul, Anna Maria Von (1786–1823)
  • Poindexter, James Thomas (1832–1891)
  • Porter, W. S. (1824–post-1860)
  • Price, Samuel Woodson (1828–1918)
  • Rafinesque, Constantine Samuel (1783–1840)
  • Redin, William H., Jr. (1824–post-1865)
  • Reinhart, Benjamin Franklin (1829–1885)
  • Revenaugh, Aurelious O. (1840–1908)
  • Rive, Lean (Louisville, 1852–1853)
  • Robinson, Josiah (1805–post-1860)
  • Rogers, Williamson S. (1838–1864)
  • Rubel, Jessie (Louisville, 1866–1867)
  • St. Leger, Lewis (Louisville, 1845–1846)
  • Saunders, Xantippe (1837–1922)
  • Sawyer, Samuel T. (Louisville, 1841)
  • Shackelford, William (1815–post-1878)
  • Smith, A. C. (1815–post-1860)
  • Smith, Allan, Jr. (1810–1890)
  • Soule Family (Charles Sr., 1809–1869; Charles Jr., 1835–
  • 1897; Clara, 1834–1902; Olivia, 1844–1908)
  • Spence, Samuel S. (Louisville, 1840)
  • Starr, J. B. (Louisville, 1845–1846)
  • Strauss, Raphael (1830–1901)
  • Stuart, Charles P. (ca. 1870)
  • Stuart, James Reeve (1834–1915)
  • Tarbell, Ruth Shute (ca. 1803–1882)
  • Towell, T. (ca. 1834)
  • Troye, Edward C. De (1808–1874)
  • Turner, J. T. (ca. 1816–1817)
  • Vaughn, Charles A. (ca. 1844–1845)
  • Venable, John W. (ca. 1836–1851)
  • Ver Bryck, William Francis (1823–1899)
  • Vogel, M. (Louisville, 1845–1846)
  • Vorhees, James Paxton (1855–post-1900)
  • Warrell, James (ca. 1780–1854)
  • Webber, Charles T. (1825–1910)
  • West, John Brown (1786–post-1858)
  • West, William Edward (1788–1857)
  • West Family, including mythic “first portraitist” Whipple, H. S. G. (Louisville, 1851–1852)
  • Whitelock, E. P. (Louisville, 1860)
  • Wise, James M. (Louisville, 1842)
  • Wright, Thoams Jefferson (1798–1845)
  • Wyant, Alexander Helwig (1836–1892)