Monday, August 16, 2010

Rediscovering Nineteenth Century Kentucky Artist, Thomas J. Scott

This weekend I visited the opening of THE HORSE IN DECORATIVE AND FINE ART at the Headley-Whitney Museum. It was an interesting and well attended opening. If you haven't visited the exhibit I would highly recommend doing so before it closes on December 23rd.

My interest in the exhibit was sparked by the fact that a friend of mine was heavily involved in the research on Thomas J. Scott that lead to this nineteenth century Kentucky artist reemerging into the art scene. Scott would have been a contemporary of my detective, so I was very pleased to be given copies of some of the historical information about him. Who knows? One day he may show up in one of my stores. However, this post is the story of how a local artist came back into the spotlight in Lexington.

Some years ago, a friend and co-worker of mine, Carolyn Burnette, discovered an old painting discarded for trash pickup. The painting had suffered years of neglect, but she thought it was interesting and began looking into getting it professionally cleaned. Her painting turned out to be an original 1882 Thomas J. Scott painting titled Miss Russell and Foal.

Carolyn's interest in getting the painting cleaned took her to the Henry Clay estate, where a similar painting was discovered. That discovery led to her husband Gordon developing an interest in Thomas Scott which turned into countless hours of research into the artist and his work. Gordon now owns a second Scott painting and has built a website ( ) where his research into the artist's works is documented.

Those of us who love Kentucky history owe Gordon Burnett a debt of thanks for taking on the monumental task of bringing this piece of our past to light. Thanks, Gordon.

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