Where is the Portrait of Maj Gen Joseph B Kershaw painted by William Preston Hix?

Fewer ads. Lots of American Civil War content!
JOIN NOW: REGISTER HERE!

lelliott19

Captain
Forum Host
Silver Patron
Joined
Mar 15, 2013
1578967990410.png

....a large portrait of Gen. Kershaw, standing on a battle-field, in full Confederate uniform....The concentrated thought written in the commander's face, the vivid expression of eye, cheek and lip, the well-poised figure of the soldier, are all so faithfully portrayed, that it scarcely needs the Southern-cross, warriors in the distance, or the "war clouds rolling down"...

While researching a regiment in Kershaw's division, I ran across an 1874 account of the Richard R Kirkland story - you know, "The Angel of Marye's Heights." Evidently, the account is not well-known so I posted it in it's entirety in @War Horse 's thread https://civilwartalk.com/threads/the-angel-of-marye’s-heights.167413/

Besides the significance of the account, I became fascinated by William Preston Hix, the man who wrote it. Hix was an artist - specifically a "portrait painter." I wont repeat all the background I posted in that other thread, but suffice to say, William Preston Hix is reported to have painted a portrait of Maj Gen Matthew C Butler (1871); a full-length post-war portrait of PGT Beauregard; and a large oil-on-canvas entitled "The Women of the South Decorating the Graves of the Confederate Dead" (1866.) But the one that caught my eye was a full-length portrait of Maj Gen Joseph Brevard Kershaw.

Here's the description of William Preston Hix's 1873 painting of General Kershaw, viewed during a tour of the art gallery of Messrs. Wearn & Hix, Main Street, Columbia, SC, and reported in The Daily Phoenix. (Columbia, SC), November 30, 1873, page 2.

...But the picture considered by Mr. Hix himself as his chef d'oeuvre, is a large portrait of Gen. Kershaw, standing on a battle-field, in full Confederate uniform. Here we linger. The concentrated thought written in the commander's face, the vivid expression of eye, cheek and lip, the well-poised figure of the soldier, are all so faithfully portrayed, that it scarcely needs the Southern-cross, warriors in the distance, or the "war clouds rolling down," to carry us back to the days when Kershaw's Division was always among the foremost in the ranks of our immortal heroes; and the memories which come welling up are too sweet and too painful to be dwelt upon in the Columbia of to-day.​

So where are all these paintings today? I have been unable to locate any of them!

The portrait of J B Kershaw at the South Carolina State House is a full-length portrait. The subject is older; has grey hair; and is dressed in a full Confederate uniform, but it has none of the background described in Hix's portrait and is reported to be by the artist P. P. Carter.

The Kershaw portrait in the collection of the American Civil War Museum (formerly known as the Museum of the Confederacy) is an oil-on-canvas, waist-up version, reported to be by David Silvette, circa 1930-1950, so that's not the Hix painting either.

Does anyone know where any of the Hix paintings are located? Wouldn't it be grand to find this portrait of Kershaw in a dusty attic somewhere? @Package4
1578968462084.png

The Daily Phoenix. (Columbia, SC), November 30, 1873, page 2.
Images of Joseph Brevard Kershaw used atop this post are from public domain.
 
Last edited:

War Horse

Captain
Member of the Year
Regtl. Quartermaster Gettysburg 2017
Joined
Sep 4, 2014
Location
Lexington, SC
View attachment 342127
....a large portrait of Gen. Kershaw, standing on a battle-field, in full Confederate uniform....The concentrated thought written in the commander's face, the vivid expression of eye, cheek and lip, the well-poised figure of the soldier, are all so faithfully portrayed, that it scarcely needs the Southern-cross, warriors in the distance, or the "war clouds rolling down"...

While researching a regiment in Kershaw's division, I ran across an 1874 account of the Richard R Kirkland story - you know, "The Angel of Marye's Heights." Evidently, the account is not well-known so I posted it in it's entirety in @War Horse 's thread https://civilwartalk.com/threads/the-angel-of-marye’s-heights.167413/

Besides the significance of the account, I became fascinated by William Preston Hix, the man who wrote it. Hix was an artist - specifically a "portrait painter." I wont repeat all the background I posted in that other thread, but suffice to say, William Preston Hix is reported to have painted a portrait of Maj Gen Matthew C Butler (1871); a full-length post-war portrait of PGT Beauregard; and a large oil-on-canvas entitled "The Women of the South Decorating the Graves of the Confederate Dead" (1866.) But the one that caught my eye was a full-length portrait of Maj Gen Joseph Brevard Kershaw.

Here's the description of William Preston Hix's 1873 painting of General Kershaw, viewed during a tour of the art gallery of Messrs. Wearn & Hix, Main Street, Columbia, SC, and reported in The Daily Phoenix. (Columbia, SC), November 30, 1873, page 2.

...But the picture considered by Mr. Hix as his chef d'oeuvre, is a large portrait of Gen. Kershaw, standing on a battle-field, in full Confederate uniform. Here we linger. The concentrated thought written in the commander's face, the vivid expression of eye, cheek and lip, the well-poised figure of the soldier, are all so faithfully portrayed, that it scarcely needs the Southern-cross, warriors in the distance, or the "war clouds rolling down," to carry us back to the days when Kershaw's Division was always among the foremost in the ranks of our immortal heroes; and the memories which come welling up are too sweet and too painful to be dwelt upon in the Columbia of to-day.​

So where are all these paintings today? I have been unable to locate any of them!

The portrait of J B Kershaw at the South Carolina State House is a full-length portrait. The subject is older; has grey hair; and is dressed in a full Confederate uniform, but it has none of the background described in Hix's portrait and is reported to be by the artist P. P. Carter.

The Kershaw portrait in the collection of the American Civil War Museum (formerly known as the Museum of the Confederacy) is an oil-on-canvas, waist-up version, reported to be by David Silvette, circa 1930-1950, so that's not the Hix painting either.

Does anyone know where any of the Hix paintings are located? Wouldn't it be grand to find this portrait of Kershaw in a dusty attic somewhere? @Package4
View attachment 342128
The Daily Phoenix. (Columbia, SC), November 30, 1873, page 2.
Fascinating what now catches our eye as a point of interest. I think I’m safe to say we @lelliott19 have been around a couple of days. We’ve run the gamut of battles, high ranking individuals among all the other fascinating popular topics that draw us to the ACW. Now we seek out the caveat stories that we’ve never read before the thrill of the unknown story. Lol
This particular story I may be able to help with. I live in Columbia, SC and know several CW art gallery owners as well as a couple of estate auctioneers. Let me put some feelers out and see if we can’t solve this little mystery. No promises other than I’ll try :smile:
 

lelliott19

Captain
Forum Host
Silver Patron
Joined
Mar 15, 2013
Fascinating what now catches our eye as a point of interest. I think I’m safe to say we @lelliott19 have been around a couple of days. We’ve run the gamut of battles, high ranking individuals among all the other fascinating popular topics that draw us to the ACW. Now we seek out the caveat stories that we’ve never read before the thrill of the unknown story. Lol
This particular story I may be able to help with. I live in Columbia, SC and know several CW art gallery owners as well as a couple of estate auctioneers. Let me put some feelers out and see if we can’t solve this little mystery. No promises other than I’ll try :smile:
That would be amazing! Thank you so much! I also wonder if Hix ever finished that painting of Richard Kirkland the "Angel of Marye's Heights" in action? described as having life-sized figures? It must have been a very large painting...like a mural? I wonder what ever became of that one? All I can say is try your best not to pass up any estate sales in Columbia or Camden. :D
 
Fewer ads. Lots of American Civil War content!
JOIN NOW: REGISTER HERE!

War Horse

Captain
Member of the Year
Regtl. Quartermaster Gettysburg 2017
Joined
Sep 4, 2014
Location
Lexington, SC
“Linda, I wonder if you might be able to help me with a little project I’m working. I need to find a full length portrait painted by Willam Preston Hix of Maj Gen Joseph Brevard Kershaw painted in 1873. The work was originally displayed in the art gallery of Messrs, Wearn & Hix on Main St, Columbia, SC 1873. If you could put some feelers out and help me locate this work, I’d be eternally grateful.”

Linda’s family goes back many generations. She is a valuable resource when seeking local historical information. It’s a good start.

EDIT: Above is a copy of a message I sent to a local and very connected and knowledgable person
 
Last edited:
Fewer ads. Lots of American Civil War content!
JOIN NOW: REGISTER HERE!
Top