Georgetown: Dazzled by Alexander Bradford

Judge William Monroe Warren (1775-1824) and Maria Watkins Faultleroy Warren (1780-1841) Alexander Bradford, c. 1822

Judge William Monroe Warren (1775-1824) and Maria Watkins Faultleroy Warren (1780-1841). Alexander Bradford, c. 1822

529 miles, 7 hours 50 minutes.  No, Siri, not THAT Georgetown (University)!  How about directing me to the most obvious one for someone who lives 25 miles and 31 minutes from Georgetown, KENTUCKY?!  SMH.

Once I got Siri straightened out about my destination, I headed north on a day trip to MY Georgetown.

Georgetown & Scott County Museum

Georgetown & Scott County Museum

Always the procrastinator, I waited until the final day of a cool art exhibit at the Georgetown & Scott County Museum–Alexander Bradford:  Artist of the Early Antebellum Scott County.  This first-class exhibit showcased portraits of prominent Scott, Bourbon, and Fayette County families painted by Kentuckian Alexander Bradford.  It also featured West Rifles, Tansel Powder Horns, and Coin Silver by early Kentucky artisans.

A little bit about Alexander Bradford (1791-1827):

  • Painter known for his “acute, penetrating portraiture”.
  • Born in Culpeper County, Virginia.
  • Lived in Scott County, Kentucky. Migrated from Virginia to Newtown with his parents, c. 1807.  Federal censuses show him as a resident of Georgetown in 1810 and 1820. 
  • His work can be found at the University of Kentucky Art Museum and in private collections
  • He worked in both Indiana and Kentucky.  His painting has been compared to that of fellow Kentucky artist Matthew Harris Jouett.

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The museum is located in the historic 1905 Post Office building.  It was started by members of the Scott County Historical Society in 1992.




Other stops on my day trip:

I’ll have to return another time to explore more of Georgetown–too much for just one afternoon!


3 thoughts on “Georgetown: Dazzled by Alexander Bradford

  1. Fascinating portraits! Did he always paint his subjects unsmiling? Or was it not fashionable to smile for portraits in those days? They all appear so somber, and some of the women seem downright unhappy, with the cares of the world on their shoulders. But oh, how I would love to see those portraits up close. Thanks so much for sharing your tour with us.


  2. Oh! It occurred to me to enlarge the screen (CTRL +). With the larger images, I could see nuances in the faces of the subjects. Some look as if they are just about to break into a smile, run off the portrait chair and dance around the artist! Such interesting names too. Some of the women have several surnames, signifying perhaps multiple marriages and widowhood, or merely a custom?

    Then I look at the faces and wonder if these individuals owned slaves. If so, how did they go to their graves, knowing what they had done to other flesh-and-blood humans? And I can’t help wondering whether Maria Watkins Fauntleroy Warren is by any chance related to the fabled Little Lord Fauntleroy!


  3. I have a hard time staying on track with my research because my curiosity about these very questions takes me off on all sorts of tangents! If I had gone to the exhibit opening, I could have heard a scholar talk about Alexander Bradford’s portrait style: “that penetrating and sidelong gaze.” Wish I had! I’m sure some of the women’s extra surnames are because they’ve remarried, but others, like Maria Watkins Fauntleroy Warren, simply have family surnames as part of their birth names. I think that’s probably an indication of their elevated social status. I only did very superficial research on these people, but it’s likely they were slaveholders. Scott County was a stronghold of southern sympathizers during the Civil War.


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