Auctioneers and Appraisers

Conrad Wise Chapman (American, 1842-1910) Cavalry Camp of the So. Ca. Holcomb Legion, New Kent, Co. Va. Mar., 1863






American & European Works of Art - 2673B
Date / Time :
September 20, 2013 10:00AM


Conrad Wise Chapman (American, 1842-1910)

Cavalry Camp of the So. Ca. Holcomb Legion, New Kent, Co. Va. Mar., 1863
Monogrammed, inscribed, and dated "CWC…186…" l.l., titled, dedicated, and
signed "…for Revd. Dr. Lyman/by C.W.Chapman" in whiting on the reverse, also with the embossed stamp and label of Charles Robertson & Co., London, on the reverse.
Oil on paperboard, 10 x 14 in. (25.4 x 35.6 cm), framed.
Condition: Minor losses, abrasions, fine craquelure, very subtle bowing, minor surface grime.

Provenance: Probably Reverend Thomas Benedict Lyman, fourth bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of North Carolina, then descended within the family; through to Joseph Valentino Toschi, JV Fine Arts Gallery, San Francisco, private Illinois collection, c. 1960s.

N.B. Chapman's path to becoming an official artist of the Confederacy came full circle by way of Rome, Italy. Chapman was born in Virginia, but in 1850, his artist father, John Gadsby Chapman, moved his family to Rome to pursue the booming market for works to Americans on the Grand Tour. Subsequently, J.G. Chapman, who had trained professionally at the National Academy of Design, apprenticed both of his sons as painters in Rome.

Despite having been raised abroad, Chapman retained a deep sense of loyalty to his Southern roots. At the outbreak of the Civil War, the nineteen-year-old Chapman enlisted with the Confederacy, and sold what works he could to pay for a return trip to America.

Chapman saw battle in the years between 1861 and 1863, first in the Company D, 3rd Kentucky Infantry Regiment, where he fought in the Battle of Shiloh in Tennessee, and later in the 59th Virginia Infantry Regiment. He made the switch from soldier to artist in 1863, when he was recommended as a fine artist to the Department of South Carolina, Georgia and Florida and headed to Charleston to assist General P.G.T. Beauregard to document the city's fortifications for the general's memoir.

The present work, previously known only from an etching by J.G. Chapman, depicts a day of respite in the Confederate army encampment of the Holcombe Legion. The Legion, which saw battle in the defense of Charleston and elsewhere in South Carolina, was formed on November 13, 1861, and named for Lucy Petway Holcombe Pickens, the spirited wife of South Carolina Governor Francis W. Pickens.

Though now indistinct, it can be surmised that the inscription and date lower left read "ROMA 1864" which was the year that Chapman was given leave to return to Italy to attend to his ailing mother.

The work is dedicated to Dr. Lyman, believed to be Reverend Theodore Benedict Lyman, D.D. (1815-1893), the fourth Bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of North Carolina. Dr. Lyman traveled extensively in Europe and the Middle East in the 1860s, serving as chaplain at the American Embassy in Rome in 1865, and leading the St. Paul's Episcopal Church in Rome from 1866 to 1879.

Estimate $400,000-600,000

Embossed stamp reads: "ROBERTSON & CO./Long Acre London", and the label reads: "CHARLES ROBERSON & CO./ARTISTS' COLOURMEN,/MANUFACTURERS OF WATER AND OIL COLOURS,/Materials for Drawing & Painting,/99, LONG ACRE, LONDON." on the reverse; A copy of a conservation report from Kuniej Berry Associates, dated August 7, 2009, provided upon request.

The absence of a condition statement does not imply that the lot is in perfect condition or completely free from wear and tear, imperfections or the effects of aging. Condition requests can be obtained via email (lot inquiry button) or by telephone to the appropriate gallery location (Boston/617.350.5400 or Marlborough/508.970.3000). Any condition statement given, as a courtesy to a client, is only an opinion and should not be treated as a statement of fact. Skinner Inc. shall have no responsibility for any error or omission.


Conrad Wise Chapman, Benedict Lyman, London, Reverend Theodore Benedict Lyman D.D., Cavalry Camp, New Kent Co., Italy, Charles Robertson & Co., JV Fine Arts Gallery, private Illinois collection, J.G. Chapman, official artist, John Gadsby Chapman, Virginia Infantry, National Academy of Design, South Carolina, Tennessee, 3rd Kentucky Infantry Regiment, 59th Virginia Infantry Regiment, Department of South Carolina, Georgia and Florida, fine artist, P.G.T. Beauregard, Holcombe Legion, Confederate army, Lucy Petway Holcombe Pickens, Francis W. Pickens, Protestant Episcopal Church, chaplain, American Embassy in Rome, American Embassy, ROBERTSON & CO., CHARLES ROBERSON & CO., Kuniej Berry Associates