110 Stebbins St. Ashland, VA 23005 , United States Call Seller 703.299.0800


Watercolor of “Randolph Macon College”, Virginia, 1840-45

$ 2,650
  • Description
    ARTIST: Signed by Edith A. H. R. Simmons (b. ca. 1828 - d.1864) of Surry County, Virginia, November 11, 1849

    ORIGIN: Mecklenburg County, Virginia

    COMMENTARY: This schoolgirl watercolor from Tidewater Virginia is a rare survival of the period and an early rendition of the original Randolph College. Randolph-Macon College stands today as the oldest Methodist College in the United States. John Wesley, founder of the religion, believed that all men should strive to expand their intellect for as long as they have lived, and his followers in Virginia founded the college in 1830, near Boydton, in Mecklenburg County, Virginia. Named for congressmen John Randolph of Roanoke, Virginia and Nathaniel Macon of North Carolina, these statesmen embraced the popular concept of religious diversity that was welcome at the time, and in the college though neither were affiliated with Methodism. The founders constructed the Boydton campus from the ground up, with new buildings such as those seen here completed by the school’s opening in 1830. However, increasing isolation and devastation brought by the Civil War led the board to close the campus, in 1868 and relocate to Ashland, Virginia, where the school remains today. Presently, the only building that remains on the original Boydton campus is the President’s House. The drawing is a poignant reminder of the school's early history, for its Boynton buildings today stand in a ruinous state or are completely gone.

    The artist and owner, “Edith A. H. R. Simmons” (b. ca. 1828 - d.1864) inscribed her name twice beneath a stanza on the reverse. She was a native of Surry County, Virginia, who in 1849 married Joseph S. Judkins (ca. 1818- 1871) of that county.

    INSCRIPTION: The back of the papers bears a cursive inscription in pen and ink:

    “Tis religion that can give
    sweetest pleasure while we live
    ‘tis religion must supply
    solid comfort when we die.”

    The stanza hails from the anonymous hymn “Walk in the Light, Thy word is a lamp” published in "The Tract Magazine; or, Christian Miscellany." (London, the Religious Tract Society, 1841) and subsequently reprinted by the American Tract Society. By 1850, it had appeared in "The Methodist New Connexion Magazine" and "Evangelical Repository," but how much earlier it may have appeared in Methodist literature is presently uncertain.
  • More Information
    Origin: United States, Virginia
    Period: 19th Century
    Materials: Watercolor with pen and ink on paper in a replica frame of painted poplar
    Condition: Good. This watercolor survives with bright color and minor discoloring to the paper commensurate with age with minor tearing to the top and right edge of the paper, which otherwise maintains crisp, clean edges. Conservation report available upon request
    Creation Date: 1845-1850
    Styles / Movements: Other
    Dealer Reference #: PT2015001
    Incollect Reference #: 126974
  • Dimensions
    W. 17.75 in; H. 14.375 in;
    W. 45.09 cm; H. 36.51 cm;
Message from Seller:

Sumpter Priddy III, Inc. maintains superb relationships with an active group of collectors, as well as private and public institutions. Among its clients are the Museum of Early Southern Decorative Arts; the Colonial Williamsburg Foundation; the White House; the Maryland Historical Society; the Philadelphia Museum of Art; and Historic Deerfield, Inc.

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