The East Tennessee Historical Society just opened a special exhibit on Lloyd Branson, one of this region’s most prominent artists of the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. The exhibit runs through March 20 and then heads to the Tennessee State Museum in Nashville.
If you’re a regular reader of this blog, you’ve encountered Branson’s work before. The banner image running along the top of this website is from his painting of the Overmountain Men’s muster at Sycamore Shoals, the event that started the march leading to the Battle of King’s Mountain. The original painting is part of the Tennessee State Museum’s collection, but it’s on loan to ETHS for this exhibit.
Some sources—including yours truly—have reported that Branson also painted the Battle of King’s Mountain itself, but that this work went up in flames when a Knoxville hotel burned down in 1916. But it looks like the lost King’s Mountain canvas wasn’t a Branson work after all. Adam Alfrey of ETHS tells the Knoxville News-Sentinel that contemporary newspaper reports attributed the painting to James W. Wallace, one of Branson’s students.
That’s not much consolation for the torched painting, though, because Wallace was a fine artist, too. He did a number of works on regional and historical themes, including a really nice painting of the signing of the Treaty of Holston. I’m dying to know what his depiction of King’s Mountain looked like.