Monday, March 18, 2013

Women's History and Conservation: Harriot Horry Ravenel

Recently, the Library Society gained ownership of a Charles Van Dyke portrait of Harriott Horry (Rutledge) Ravenel that was previously housed at the Gibbes Museum.  Finished in 1912, this painting needs your help to be fully restored!

Harriott Horry Rutledge was a talented Charleston novelist, biographer, and historian. With a sterling pedigree, she was born in 1832 to Edward Cotesworth Rutledge (1798-1860) and Rebecca Motte Lowndes (1810-1893).  Perhaps even more renowned, her maternal great-great grandparents were Eliza Lucas Pinkney (1722-1793) and Charles Pinckney (ca.1699-1738).  In 1851, she married Dr. St. Julien Ravenel, a prominent Charleston physician. In addition to her busy life as a wife and mother, Mrs. Ravenel pursued her love of literature.  She wrote a biography about her great-great grandmother, Women of Colonial and Revolutionary Times: Eliza Pinkney in 1896, followed by a novelette focused on southern history and manners called “The Days That Are Not.”  She also wrote numerous memoirs, poetry, and essays, finishing her writing career with a final piece, Charleston: The Place and the People, six years before her death in 1912.

The proposed cost of conservation for the portrait has been estimated to be $7,000 and board member Susan Friberg has generously offered a challenge gift of $3,500 if it is matched by others who would like to see the first portrait of a prominent female figure in the literary arts adorn our walls.

Help ensure this historic figure is restored by taking part in the conservation challenge!

Jessica Short
Cataloging Librarian
Charleston Library Society

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