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Collection of Colonial Governor Portraits by William Ludwell Sheppard (1833–1912)

State Art Collection
1877
3 paintings. Oil on canvas. Dimensions: De La Warr – canvas 29 ¼ x 25 ½ in.; frame 36 x 32 in. Dunmore – canvas 29 ¼ x 25 ½ in; frame: 36 x 32 in. Effingham – canvas 30 x 24 7/8 in.; frame 39 ½ x 34 ½ in.

On June 2, 1877, the Daily Dispatch reported that “W.L. Sheppard, Esq., artist of this city, will sail from New York for Europe on the 12th, and will be absent in France one or two years.” It was not unusual for 19th-century American artists to take extended tours through Europe to study with masters or visit museums to refine their craft. However, Sheppard, a Richmonder perhaps best known for his Civil War sketches and depictions of postwar southern life, had an additional reason for his trip. The Commonwealth of Virginia had commissioned him to paint portraits of three of Virginia’s colonial governors: Thomas West, third baron De La Warr; Francis Howard, fifth baron Howard of Effingham; and John Murray, fourth earl of Dunmore.

William Ludwell Sheppard (1833–1912) started as a clerk in a Richmond merchant firm, but quickly realized that his true interest and talent lay in art. While he was initially a self-taught painter, he went to New York in the 1850s to work and study. On his first trip to Europe, in 1860, he visited museums … more