Original Confederate Soldier Chromolithographs by Wm. L. Sheppard
Original Confederate Soldier Chromolithographs by Wm. L. Sheppard - William Ludwell Sheppard was born in 1833, in Richmond, Virginia. He was a prolific illustrator, painter, sculptor, and watercolorist, who studied in New York and Paris. During the Civil War he was a second lieutenant in the Richmond Howitzers and worked with the Topographical Engineering Department of the Army of Northern Virginia. He married Sallie McCaw on December 15, 1864 in Richmond. Early in his career he was known for designing tobacco labels, but achieved more notice for his drawings and paintings of Confederate soldiers. He continued to portray, as his primary subject, post-war life in Virginia. His work was published in Harper’s Weekly, Leslie’s Illustrated Newspaper, and included in several books, including Henry Watterson’s Oddities in Southern Life and Character. After the war he studied sculpting and at least three monuments by him may be found in Richmond today, including one paying tribute to the Richmond Howitzers, at Park Avenue and Harrison Street. Sheppard died in 1912 and is buried in Richmond’s famed Hollywood Cemetery.
These three, original chromolithographs, by Sheppard, entitled “The Artilleryman” , “The Cavalryman” and “The Infantryman” were taken from original paintings by W. L. Sheppard; the original paintings reside, today, in the Museum of the Confederacy, in Richmond, Va. These outstanding Civil War water-color paintings, were done by William Ludwell Sheppard (1833-1912), a distinguished illustrator, portrait and landscape artist of the period. Mr. Sheppard studied in Richmond, under the famous Colonel Crozet. He was in New York when the war began, but returned to Richmond immediately, to serve with the Confederate Army. Enlisting as a private, he soon was promoted to second Lieutenant, in the famed Richmond Howitzers. Later, he was appointed assistant Engineer, under the renowned Colonel Rivers, Confederate Army Engineer. After the war, Mr. Sheppard studied in Paris, under Paul Soyer. His Illustrations and paintings are among the finest and most authentic pictorial records of the era.”
These three chromolithographs have been reprinted many times, but this grouping is completely original, dating to their initial offering, in 1903. They were recently found in an old house in Bedford County, Virginia and are in their original, early 1900s period frames. On the back of two of the prints, is an old label from an art and music shop in Petersburg, Va. Also, written, on a bit of paper tape, on the back of one of the prints, is “Surry, Va.” These images show an artillery officer signaling his gunners to cease-fire while he surveys the enemy’s position with his field glasses; a Confederate cavalryman carrying a bridle; and a Confederate infantryman. Originally, Sheppard produced his detailed scenes of Confederate army life, based upon his own experiences, in watercolor. Prints were sold to raise money for a Jefferson Davis memorial. The artillery officer, it has been suggested, bears a very close resemblance to Sheppard himself.
These prints are in excellent condition, with only the most minimal of foxing; the colors remain vivid, as well. The frames have some surface scratches, which can be readily stained and masked. The glass is original to each print, although one pane was broken when we found the prints, so Perry Adams placed new glass in this frame. We have had all three lithos archivally mounted and matted, so these fine prints are ready to go on a wall. To find a complete original set of these famed and beautiful prints, in such fine condition, has always been a challenge.