Charleston, SC: The artist, 1908 and 1910. Oblong folio. 24 watercolor sketches on card stock, each 4 ¾ x 6 ¾ inches and signed by the artist, each mounted to a larger sheet with a pen-and-ink lettered title on tissue bound ahead of the painting. With the bookplate of H.C. Groome on the front pastedown. Accompanied by a second album, also with Groome’s bookplate: Oblong folio. Two watercolors on paper, each signed by the artist, Phosphate Warehouse—Ashley River above Charleston (8 ¼ x 12 inches), picturing a large sailing vessel docked next to the warehouse, and Sketch of Adger Smyth’s Gates (10 ½ x 7 ½ inches), and 155 photographs, some hand colored or chromos, of Charleston buildings, historic sites, and scenes, mounted on 71 leaves, including 39 large photos (6 x 8 to 7 ½ x 9 inches) mounted one to a page, 18 medium size (4 ½ x 6 1/4 inches) mounted two to a page, and 98 smaller images (3 x 5 inches) mounted four or six to a page, all mostly rectos only. The first work with a little foxing, not affecting the watercolors, otherwise fine; the second album very good. Original gilt-stamped green cloth housed in its original green cloth two-part box lined with a flora-patterned paper and contemporary reverse calf album, tied. (9837). Item #63124
The watercolors included in the first album are (1) The Old Cathedral Wall, Broad Street (includes two African-American women in the foreground), (2) The Miles Brewton Gates, King Street (includes two African-American women in the foreground), (3) The Simonton Gates, Legare Street, (4) The Servants Entrance, Simonton House, Tradd Street (includes an African-American woman balancing a loaded basket on her head in the foreground), (5) The Geddings Gates, George Street, Near Meeting Street, (6) Gates of the George Edwards House, Legare Street, Residence of J. Adger Smyth Esq., (7) Old St. Peters Churchyard Wall, Logan Street, (8) Old Gates Riverside Infirmary, Rear of Roper Hospital, (9) The Manigault Gate House, Ashmead Place Corner of Meeting Street, (10) Gates of St. Philip’s Church, Church Street, (11) The Sass Gates, Legare Street, (11) The De Saussure Gates, South Battery, (12) The Phillips Gates, Meeting Street Below George Street, (13) The Drayton Gates, South Battery, (14) Gates No. 18 Bull Street (includes two African-American children in the foreground), (15) Wall and Gates South Battery, Residence of Mrs. Walter Green, (16) Wall and Gates on Drake Street, (17) St. Michaels Churchyard Gates, Broad Street, (18) The Eason Wall and Gates, Drake Street, (19) The General Wm. Washington House, Stable Gates, Church Street (includes an African-American woman balancing a loaded basket on her head in the foreground), (20) St. Philips Churchyard Gates, Church Street, (21) The Heyward Gates, East Bay, Corner Society Street, (22) The Bennett Gates, Corner of Gadson and Montague Streets, (23) The Jervey Gates, Corner of Coming and Green Streets, and (24) The Holmes Gates, East Battery. In addition to the two watercolors, the second album includes both commercial and vernacular photographs, all captioned in white ink; among the commercial images are ones published by Lanneau’s Art Store in Charleston (7 images), the Detroit Photographic Company (9), Clark Photo (7); it’s not unreasonable to assume that Willis was responsible for some, if not all, of the vernacular images (cf. “The Eola Willis Cuba Photograph Collection,” ca. 1905-1915, held by the College of Charleston library). The second album provides an excellent architectural study of Charleston for the period covered. Willis studied voice and art in New York City during the 1890s, participated in a wide range of artistic endeavors in Charleston during her long life and was a founding member of the Sketch Club of the Carolina Art Association, the first woman and first artist to serve on the Charleston Art Commission, and a member of the Society for the Preservation of Old Buildings; she was accomplished in both oil and watercolor and usually depicted impressionistic landscapes near Charleston. Willis provided illustrations for promotional material for low country South Carolina, designed a number of illustrations for early 20th-century cloth bindings and published two books, The Charleston Stage in the Eighteenth Century and a biography of Henrietta Johnston, a South Carolina artist of the colonial period. The South Carolina Historical Society holds an archive of her papers. Harry Connelly Groome (1860-1941) was an army officer and horseman from northern Virginia who published Fauquier during the Proprietorship (1927); we have been unable to find any information concerning a possible relationship between Willis and Groome.