Art lovers are flocking to Middleton Place and the Edmondston-Alston House for a joint exhibition of rarely seen works by Alice Ravenel Huger Smith, a leading artist in the Charleston Renaissance movement that sparked economic revival and historic preservation in Charleston in the decades between the two world wars. An author, illustrator, printmaker, painter, teacher and historian, Smith’s work is found in major museums nationwide.
This incredible exhibit opened on October 23, 2016, and continues through June 17 of this year. Visitors will see, for the first time, the private family collections of Alice Ravenel Huger Smith’s art and poetry. This body of work provides a unique perspective on the artist’s life and work.
Born in 1876, Alice Smith was descended from Henry Middleton, who established Middleton Place, and his son Arthur Middleton, a signer of the Declaration of Independence. Smith referred to Middleton Place as “a jewel thrown down in the green woods” and her vivid depictions of the plantation’s magnificent oaks and gardens, its rice fields and lakes, its Ashley River vistas are among the works that will be on display. From pencil sketches to a wide range of watercolor and oils on mahogany, to a never before seen children’s book, her artistic output serves to preserve the past, record the present and remind future generations to conserve the swamps and marshes that egrets and herons call home in the Lowcountry, as well as the historic houses and buildings that give today’s Charleston so much of its character.
The exhibit of nearly fifty works will be displayed throughout the House Museum at Middleton Place and the Edmondston-Alston House Museum; they may be viewed at no additional cost to ticket holders. Smith’s childrens book, The Heron Book, and selected reproductions of her art will be available for sale at the Museum Shop at Middleton Place and at the ticketing desk at the Edmondston-Alston House.