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Wilton Symposium: Thomas Sully and Early Republic Richmond

February 6, 2015 @ 8:30 am - 5:00 pm

Gov. Peyton Randolph

In celebration of Wilton House Museum’s Most Recent Acquisition

Friday, February 6, 2015

One of the nineteenth-century’s greatest portrait painters, Thomas Sully (1783 – 1871) spent three formative years Richmond receiving commissions from some of the Old Dominion’s most prominent citizens such as Governor Peyton Randolph (1779 – 1828), until a romance with his sister-in-law forced the artist to leave the state.  Noted speakers from across the country will present a cross-disciplinary exploration of the artist and his times and recreate the journey one canvas took from Richmond to Tinseltown and back again.

Symposium fees include the presentations, coffee, boxed lunch, and optional tour of Wilton House Museum.


8:30  Registration and Coffee

9:15  Welcome, Keith D MacKay, Executive Director, Wilton House Museum

9:30  Thomas Sully’s Painted Performance, William Rudolph

Coffee Break

11:00  Setting the Presidential Model: Thomas Sully’s Portrait of Thomas Jefferson, Craig Reynolds

Noon  Lunch

1:00  Miraculously Saved: The Richmond Theater Fire of 1811 and the Transformation of Virginia’s Capital City, Meredith Henne Baker

2:00  The British Aspects of William Randolph Hearst’s Activities as a Collector Mary Levkoff

Coffee Break

3:30  Sully, Unsullied, Scott Nolley

Conclusion, Keith D MacKay  

Optional Tours of Wilton House Museum


Meredith Henne Baker graduated summa cum laude from Hillsdale College (MI) and received her graduate degree in American History and a museum studies certificate from the College of William and Mary. Professionally, Meredith has held positions as a museum educator, an administrator at a public charter school, and a history instructor at St. Margaret’s School, in Tappahannock, Virginia. She currently works as a history curriculum developer. Her book, The Richmond Theater Fire: Early America’s First Great Disaster, is the winner of the 2012 “Jules and Frances F. Landry Award,” bestowed annually to the most outstanding book on a southern topic published by LSU Press. It also garnered the Phi Alpha Theta History Honors Society’s “Best First Book Award” for 2012.

Mary Levkoff is Hearst Castle Museum Director.  Prior to her appointment in California last year, Levkoff was the head of the department of Sculpture and Decorative Arts at the National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C. (2009-2014); before that, she was curator of European sculpture and classical antiquities at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (1989-2009).  There she realized the exhibition “Hearst the Collector” and the book of the same title (2008), which won Sotheby’s Prize for the History of Collecting in America.  Levkoff, a graduate of Princeton University, did her graduate work in art history at the Institute of Fine Arts, New York University and received her curatorial training at the Metropolitan Museum of Art (New York).  Her other publications include Rodin in his Time (1994; 2ndedition 2000) and a number of scholarly articles in her primary field of expertise, Renaissance sculpture.

Scott Nolley is an objects and paintings conservator who heads the Richmond based firm of Fine Art Conservation of Virginia. Mr. Nolley received his undergraduate degree in Art Conservation from Virginia Commonwealth University and earned his master’s degree in Art Conservations from the program at Buffalo State College formerly the Cooperstown Program. Before establishing Fine Art Conservation of Virginia, Scott Nolley served for five years as the conservator of Painting and Objects for Colonial Williamsburg Foundation. Along with speaking and publishing widely, Mr. Nolley has worked with a number of private and public collections including the Virginia Capitol Building, the Virginia Museum of Fine Art, the Chipstone Foundation, and the Flagler Museum.

Craig A. Reynolds is a PhD Candidate at Virginia Commonwealth University, specializing in the architecture of Thomas Jefferson and the Early American Republic.  Under the direction of Dr. Charles Brownell, Craig is presently at work completing his dissertation on Jefferson’s influences over designs for the United States Capitol.  His work has been supported by the Centro Internazionale di Studi di Architettura Andrea Palladio (Vicenza, Italy); University of Virginia; Monticello; United Sates Military Academy; Office of the Architect of the United States Capitol where he was a Fellow in residence, and Research Travel Grants from the Dean’s Office at VCU.  Within the last year Craig has retraced Jefferson’s European tours through England, France, and Italy, and is now in the final stages of co-curating a major international exhibit on Jefferson as the preeminent American Palladian, set to open in May 2015 at the Palladio Museum in Vicenza, Italy.  His most recent essay covering Jefferson’s influences on public architecture is included as part of an edited volume titled Light and Liberty: Thomas Jefferson and the Power of Knowledge published by the University of Virginia Press (2012).

William Keyse Rudolph is the Chief Curator of the San Antonio Museum of Art.  He has organized the exhibitions, “Thomas Sully: Painted Performance” (2013-2014), “In Search of Julien Hudson: Free Artist of Color in Pre-Civil War New Orleans,” (2011-2012), “Bluebonnets and Beyond: Julian Onderdonk, American Impressionist” (2008-2009), and “Charles Sheeler’s Power Series” (2006).  Publications include “Masterpieces of English and American Painting and Decorative Arts from the Julian Wood Glass Jr. Collection” (2011) and “Vaudechamp in New Orleans” (2007).  A specialist in Colonial and Federal American art, Dr. Rudolph is a Trustee of the Association of Art Museum Curators.



February 6, 2015
8:30 am - 5:00 pm
Event Category: