Washington Worthy

On my walking tours of historic Charleston, we typically go by this house on South Battery Street that was the home of William and Jane Washington. William was a cavalry officer and George Washington’s cousin, who came to South Carolina from Virginia to fight the British during the Revolution, and fell in love with Charlestonian Jane Elliott. Jane was in the city during its occupation by the British from 1780-82, living on Legare Street with her family, while William was still outside the city, carrying on the fight. The Elliott’s, like numerous Charleston families, were forced to have British military officers use their house for quarters and entertainments, and one of these social gatherings occured only a few weeks after William’s cavalry had chased the vaunted British cavalry off the field at the Battle of Eutaw Springs, and news of the battle spread throughout the city. Some of the same British officers who had faced William were now looking at the attractive Jane and making improper comments when she reminded them that she was engaged to Col. Washington. Apparently one of the British soldiers acted dismissively to her reply, saying disdainfully, “I would like to see this Colonel Washington” Jane responded by telling the group of British officers that they had seen Col. Washington, reminding them that he was the cavalry officer chasing them off the field at Eutaw Springs. After that, the British were more respectful of Jane, who married William and occupied this house until his death in 1810. <img.src=”Charleston History” alt=”William Washington House”

Singularly Simmons

Learning the iron trade as a teenaged apprentice in a blacksmith’s shop around the turn of the century, the acclaimed Charleston ironsmith Philip Simmons became a household name in #Charleston during a career that spanned nearly a century. Mr. Simmons started out hammering wagon wheels and other working iron parts as an apprentice iron worker at only 13 years old, but quickly fell in love with the historic wrought iron craftsmanship he saw in the streets of Charleston. Fashioning his first decorative gate in the 1930’s, a gate that we pass by daily on my walking tours.  Mr. Simmons showed a keen understanding of the possibilities of shaping iron, and became one of the most sought-after artisans in Charleston history. This gate pictured is the essence of Philip Simmons – a delicate beauty that incorporated both the nature scenes he liked to depict with the image of the heron, as well as personalizing it by adding a crucifix for the owner of the house, an ordained minister. We sometimes wander St. Michael’s alley on the tour, going past  the Simmons gate. <img.src=”Charleston Ironwork” alt=”Philip Simmons Gate”

Artistic Ancestor

This painting, entitled “The Hundred Pines”, was painted by my great-great-great grandfather, Auguste Paul Trouche circa 1830. He was of French heritage, and  was trained in a method landscape realism that was made famous at the Barbizon School near Fontainebleau outside Paris. The painting is part of the collection at the #Gibbes Museum of Art in #Charleston, where curators have told me that his obvious skill in the exceptional lighting in this  oil on canvas may indicate that he was actually trained in France. The Hundred Pines was a cluster of large trees used as a landmark for ships entering Charleston Harbor, and a great example of the natural settings around Charleston in those days. I have some of my ancestor’s paintings in my private collection. <img.src=”Charleston Artists” alt=”Auguste Paul Trouche

Brand’s Brand

Charleston Artist Hampton Brand can paint on canvas or paper, but his preferred surface is slate. From his little shop in a colonial-era building on #East Bay Street, Brand creates amazing likenesses of historic, houses, gates, windows and doorways on the slates he uses. He is a natural, who had no formal artistic training, but clearly has an eye for detail and beauty in capturing some of Charleston’s most memorable landmarks and hidden gems.  <img src=”Charleston Arts” alt=”Slate Paintings ”>

Memorable Mother

This oil on canvas image is my great great great grandmother, Caroline Poincignon Trouche, the first American-born mother my family, born in 1808 here in Charleston SC to French immigrant parents. Her delicate face was captured for eternity by her artist husband, Auguste Paul Trouche, whose work is featured in the #Gibbes Museum of Art in Charleston. <img src=”historic images” alt=”Charleston artists”>