UPDATE 11/8/15: Well, apparently the painting discussed below wasn’t the work of Lloyd Branson, after all. Although some sources attribute the Imperial’s King’s Mountain scene to Branson, contemporary reports claim it was the work of James W. Wallace, another Tennessee artist who was one of Branson’s students.
The good news is that—as you may have noticed—I managed to restore my nifty header image of the overmountain men’s muster at Sycamore Shoals, which kicked off the events leading to the Battle of King’s Mountain. I’ve discussed this painting and why I like it before, so I’m glad to have a segment of it gracing the top of the blog again.
Here’s the bad news. Lloyd Branson, the East Tennessee artist who produced this beautiful piece, also painted a scene of the actual battle, which decorated the lobby of Knoxville’s swanky Hotel Imperial. (An early travel booklet described the Imperial as “beautifully furnished,” and noted that the food was particularly good.) During WWI the hotel went up in flames and took Branson’s King’s Mountain painting with it. The loss of the Imperial inspired three Knoxvillians to build a brand-new hotel which opened shortly thereafter, but of course nobody could replace Branson’s canvas.
I’ve been unable to find a picture or description of it. It’s a shame we don’t have the other “bookend” of Branson’s visual depiction of the King’s Mountain expedition, especially since the muster painting is one of Tennessee’s definitive historical artworks.