Low Country Still Life
Limited Edition Print
Edition of 450 S/N
Image: 16″ x 30″
Overall: 21″ x 34″
75 Artist Proofs available with original watercolor remarques.
This painting grew out of my fascination with the history and lore of the ‘Low Country’ of South Carolina, as well as the rich sporting traditions that are evident even today. I wanted to build the composition around the late Poet Laureate and beloved outdoor writer Archibald Rutledge. I used several of his classic books as well as a photo of “Old Flintlock” (as he was called) himself. The photo that I used appears in the wonderful book HOME BY THE RIVER, in which Rutledge describes his renovation of Hampton Plantation, his ancestral home. I also used a couple of books by another great South Carolina outdoor writer, Havilah Babcock, as well as some books on the ‘Low Country’ plantations and plantation life. The oyster can is also from the region depicted.
Perhaps the most interesting story to come out of this painting concerns the marvelous Black Duck decoy. I wanted to include a great decoy from the region and a good friend was kind enough to lend this all-time classic. It was made by one of the five Caines brothers (Hucks, Sawney, Pluty, Ball, and Bob), most probably by Hucks. The brothers were tenants on a piece of land acquired by the Hobcaw Barony, the plantation (near Georgetown) owned by the famous financier Bernard Baruch. Tired of constantly having the brothers arrested for poaching game on his property, Baruch struck an agreement with the Caines brothers, whereby they became his hunting guides when he entertained guests on the plantation. These guests included the likes of Winston Churchill, the Rockefellers, Firestones and even President Grover Cleveland.
While I was in the drawing stages of the painting, with the books, oyster can, decoy and Rutledge photo sitting in front of me in my studio I found in a flea market an old album of photographs, including several photos of duck hunting at Hobcaw Barony, two of which featured the Caines brothers, and one of which was captioned “Sawney Caines putting out decoys”. I like to think that the decoy in the painting was in the pile of decoys in the skiff in the old photo. Although tedious and difficult to paint, the photos were a perfect addition to the painting, which I am pleased to share with you here.