Historical Society Presents the Darlington County Historical Commission with a $4000.00 Donation.
Darlington, SC, May 26, 2016 – The Darlington County Historical Society presented the Darlington County Historical Commission with a $4000.00 donation today for the full restoration of a portrait within their collection. This donation is in honor of the Commissions most audacious undertaking since it was created in 1965 – a “Year of Conservation.”
The portrait is believed to be by the renowned southern painter – William Harrison
Scarborough. Being in poor condition, and having faced years of neglect, the portrait is at a critical point in its existence. The portrait was marred with a very thick layer of grime. At some point it had been removed from its stretcher, several holes had been punched through the portrait, and it had suffered several major abrasions. The condition of the portrait was consistent with the lack of care it had received in the location it was reportedly found – the loft of a farm outbuilding.
We know that Scarborough set up shop in Darlington and Cheraw and painted many portraits of our most elite citizens. His subjects were the Southern Planter Aristocracy and noted key South Carolina figures such as Vice President, John C. Calhoun.
The work is attributed to William Harrison Scarborough. Scarborough typically did not sign his work. He did have certain things relating to context, subject and composition that are markers indicative of his works.
The Historical Commission acquired the portrait through a local donor that was connected with the Brunson, Porcher, Alston, Weston & Gregg families. At the time of the donation in early 1999, the value and the painter were both unknown. Through recent developments, the identity of the painter has become more clear and we are relatively confident that the work is by Scarborough. This painter is interconnected with Darlington County and you may remember his local works being covered in “Darlingtoniana, A History of Darlington County.”
This restoration would coincide with the “Year of Conservation” campaign being sponsored by the Darlington County Historical Commission. This marks a major shift in their operations and places direct and focused attention on conservation within their collections.
“Year of Conservation” will mark the beginning of an exciting new chapter in the Commission’s goals of preserving, protecting and promoting our rich history. They will systematically scan, catalog, clean, stabilize and add protective archival polyester sleeves to the quarter of a million photos houses in their photo collection. The decision to begin this process with the Photo Collection was based out of its significance. It stands as the most iconic representation of who we are as Darlington County citizens. These photographs illustrate our history in ways that words cannot begin to express. From the quiet relaxed photos of fishing on the Great Pee Dee River to the bustle of industry – our county is well represented. So, where better to start?
The campaign is being funded by a $4000 private donation and The Darlington County Historical Society is honored to support this endeavor with a matching donation of $4000.