Cavalry Camp SC Halcomb Legion Mar. 1863

  • Details

    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.

    Minor losses, abrasions, fine craquelure, very subtle bowing, minor surface grime.

    Monogrammed, inscribed, and dated "CWC…186…" l.l.,
    titled (Cavalry Camp SC Halcomb Legion....), 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.  Signed and dated on reverse Mar. 1863.    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

    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. Embossed stamp reads:
    "ROBERTSON & CO./Long Acre London", and the label reads: "CHARLES
    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. 

  • Biography

    Conrad Wise Chapman (1842 - 1910)

    Wise Chapman was born in 1842, in Washington, D.C. and is known for his
    depictions of the Civil War, in particular a series of thirty-one oil
    paintings depicting the forts and batteries in the area of Charleston,
    South Carolina.

    He was the son of John Gadsby Chapman, an
    Alexandria, Virginia artist and teacher, who moved his family to Rome in
    1850 when Conrad was eight.  While in Italy, Conrad was trained by his
    father.  Although he was raised in Europe, he was strongly attracted to
    the Southern United States, and returned in 1861 to Virginia at the age
    of nineteen to enlist in the Confederate Army as the Civil War began. 
    He was soon branded with the nickname of "Old Rome".

    participated in the Siege of Vicksburg and received head wounds at
    Shiloh. Upon recovery, he returned to Virginia, and then transferred a
    year later to Charleston.  There, on the recommendation of his father's
    friend General Henry A. Wise, he became part of the staff of General
    P.G.T. Beauregard.  He was soon given orders to create a pictorial
    record of the Confederate Army's defense of Charleston Harbor, and other
    forts and batteries of the city.

    Chapman completed a series of
    illustrations between September 1863 and March 1864, which laid the
    groundwork for thirty-one small paintings.  These historical documents
    are noted for their strong contrasts, deep perspective, and color
    clarity. In 1864, Chapman had moved to Richmond, Virginia, along with
    other artists such as portrait painter Edward C Bruce, landscapist John
    Ross Key, Adalbert Volck, and the political caricaturist, William
    Ludwell Sheppard.  Perhaps never again would Richmond experience such a
    concentration of creativity.

    Chapman's notable series of
    thirty-one paintings were painted, however, in Rome, where he had
    traveled on leave, due to family illnesses.  An example would be Fort Sumter Interior, Sunrise,
    December 9, 1864 (oil on board, Museum of the Confederacy, Richmond,
    VA).  In this work he underscored the tragic dimensions of the
    bombardment of the fort, contrasting the desolate destruction with the
    beauty of its natural setting.

    When Chapman returned to the
    Confederacy, the war was almost over. After Lee's surrender, he followed
    the Confederate General John B. Magruder to Mexico to serve the Emperor
    Maxmillian.  During the next seven years his paintings concentrated on
    that country's landscape, the first American artist to do so.  His
    paintings of the Valley of Mexico constitute his other most significant
    body of work.  His works there have been compared to Mexico's Jose Maria
    Velasco, a great nineteenth-century landscape artist.

    Chapman's works have great historical significance as Civil War record. 
    In addition, his art is included for the first time, in the category of
    Southern, as well as American art.

    He lived primarily in Rome,
    Paris, and Mexico for the rest of his life, though Conrad Chapman died
    in Hampton, Virginia, in 1910.

    son of the artist John Gadsby Chapman, Conrad Wise Chapman was born in
    Washington, D.C., but spent the majority of his youth in Rome, Italy.
    There, his art education was overseen by his father and nurtured by the
    extended community of American expatriate artists, notably the sculptors
    Thomas Crawford and William Wetmore Story and the painters George
    Loring Brown and Cephas Giovanni Thompson.

    Though living abroad,
    young Conrad was deeply versed in Southern tradition, so much so that
    in 1861 he felt compelled to join the Confederate cause, later writing
    that a “duty more sacred than even family ties rose to bid me move
    forward and meet whatever my fate might be.” As a member of Kentucky’s
    famous “Orphan Brigade,” Chapman suffered a serious head wound during
    the April 1862 Battle of Shiloh, an injury that would plague him for the
    rest of his life.

    During Chapman’s recuperation in the summer of
    1862, General P. G. T. Beauregard commissioned him to create a series
    of works illustrating the siege of Charleston. The resulting group of
    paintings provided the most detailed images of Confederate forces
    produced by a painter in the South.

    In March 1864, Chapman
    returned to Rome as secretary to Bishop Patrick Neeson Lynch, President
    Jefferson Davis’ commissioner to the papal states. Although he tried to
    rejoin Confederate forces in March 1865, a blockade resulted in a
    lengthy detour to Mexico, where he remained until 1866, painting several
    large panoramas of the countryside which account for some of his best
    received work. For the next few years, Chapman worked on commissions and
    speculation in Rome, Paris and London. While living in London in 1871,
    he suffered a mental breakdown—perhaps as a result of his war
    injuries—and was confined to an asylum. The expense of his
    hospitalization contributed to a sharp decline in the family fortunes.
    For the balance of his years, Chapman would alternate between periods of
    mental, physical, professional and financial instability, prompting a
    series of moves between Mexico and the United States, often relying on
    the generosity of others to support him.

    While in Italy, Conrad
    Chapman, along with his father and brother, enjoyed regular patronage
    from American tourists who were fascinated by local color and ancient
    ruins. In response, the family of artists executed landscapes and
    paintings featuring the terrain and inhabitants of the Roman Campagna
    and the Appian Way, ideal souvenirs of the rich Italian scene. Though
    numerous examples of his father and brother’s Campagna scenes survive,
    few by Conrad are known to exist. View of Italy exhibits the
    clear light and warm color contrasts between the verdure of the land and
    the costumes of the peasantry characteristic of the Chapman style.