Tag Archives: Virginia

Collection of Busts of Virginia-Born Presidents (State Art Collection)

State Art Collection 1931.3-7, 9-10
1931
7 busts. Marble.
Average: 35” high x 24” wide x 17” deep

Today’s visitors to the rotunda at the Virginia State Capitol are unlikely to consider how the seven marble busts depicting Virginia-born presidents came to sit in niches along the walls. The busts seem to be a natural addition to the space, complementing the design and decorations around them. Unlike most works in the State Art Collection, however, the busts are the result of a single act of legislation and the efforts of one governor, John Garland Pollard, who made their acquisition an objective for his new administration.

The rotunda of the Virginia State Capitol has housed two important pieces of statuary since 1796—the full-length marble statue of George Washington and the marble bust of the Marquis de Lafayette, both by French sculptor Jean-Antoine Houdon (1741–1828). Prior to 1930 there was no clear policy or plan to fill the eight architectural niches. The State Art Commission attempted to create some guidelines in 1917 when proposals to add commemorative bronze plaques to the rotunda came before the General Assembly. The commission stipulated that only busts should go in the niches, and that only marble should be used, as bronze would “detract from the beauty of the rotunda interior.”

In 1926 the General Assembly asked the governor to appoint a committee to create a list of names of “Virginia’s most … more

Jeanne Hunton Witt Cabell Family Scrapbooks

C1: 199
c. 1920s–1950s
Four scrapbooks containing an assortment of photographs, letters, ephemera, telegrams, enclosure cards, stationary, and newspaper clippings.

The Cabell Family Scrapbook Collection was organized and arranged primarily by Jeanne Hunton Witt Cabell. The four scrapbooks detail Cabell’s debutante ball, marriage to lawyer Robert Gamble Cabell, hobbies, and the early education of her son, John C. Cabell.

C1:199

A graduate of Episcopal High School, Jeanne Hunton Witt Cabell (1907–1976) was deeply involved in Richmond’s arts and culture scene as society editor of the Richmond Times-Dispatch in the late 1920s. Cabell was the daughter of Judge Samuel Brown Witt, of Richmond’s Hustings Court, and Mariana Foster Witt. Her earliest items include clippings from the society pages of the Times-Dispatch, dance cards, telegrams and written correspondence, and enclosure cards from floral arrangements.

The later portions of the collection focus on Cabell’s sculpting hobby and interest in the work of Baroness Suzanne Silvercruys, a prominent sculptor and political activist. Clippings from her husband’s roles as president of the Country Club of Virginia and president of the Board of Collegiate School are included. Cabell also created a scrapbook for her son, John C. Cabell, which includes his birth, first drawings, and items from the early years of his education at St. Christopher’s School. A fourth scrapbook, which appears to have been created by John C. Cabell himself, includes football and baseball ephemera from the 1954–1955 academic year.

Between … more

Collection of Commonwealth of Virginia Governors’ Portraits (State Art Collection)

2nd quarter of the 19th century–2014
82 paintings. Oil on canvas, oil on wood, pastel on paper.
From 21″ H x 18″ W framed to 69″ H x 51″ W framed.

Patrick Henry, by George B. Matthews, 1883Governors were initially elected by the General Assembly, with gubernatorial vacancies being filled by members of the Council of State. Five of these acting governors have portraits in the collection: William Fleming, Wyndham Robertson, John Mercer Patton, John Rutherfoord, and John Munford Gregory. The Constitution of 1851 established the popular election of governors and also set a four-year term limit. While governors cannot serve consecutively, they can be re-elected, and a portrait is commissioned at the end of each term. Currently, Gov. Mills E. Godwin Jr. (1966–1970, 1974–1978) is represented by two portraits in the Governors’ Gallery. The collection lacks portraits of governors Beverley Randolph (1788–1797), Robert Brooke (1794–1796), and James Wood (1796–1799), and acting governors Hardin Burnley (1799), John Pendleton (1799), and Peyton Randolph (1811–1812).

The first set of governors’ portraits came into the state collection in 1873, when the Library of Virginia (then the Virginia State Library) acquired portraits of James Barbour, Robert Brooke [1], John Floyd, John Buchanan Floyd, William Branch Giles, Joseph Johnson, John Rutherfoord, George William Smith, William Smith, John Tyler Sr., and John Tyler Jr. Over the next few decades, portraits came to the Library as gifts from governors and their family members or were purchased by the … more