In 1859, Bishop Stephen Elliott, one of the University’s founders, invited Bishop of Vermont John Henry Hopkins to Sewanee to create a campus plan and map. While in Sewanee, Hopkins painted up to 28 watercolors that constitute the earliest recorded images of the Domain. After the chaos of the Civil War, the University was able to reclaim five of the original paintings. Four of these paintings are landscapes of familiar natural features on the Domain, and one is of an imagined campus building. The location of the remaining paintings in the Hopkins collection remains a mystery.
Last summer, the University commissioned noted South Carolina artist Nancy Rhett – a direct descendant of Bishop Elliott – to revive several of the original Hopkins scenes in watercolor. As a result, Rhett created these stunning reimaginings of the original works and two additional Sewanee scenes.
Prints of Nancy Rhett’s work are on sale at the University Bookstore.