“Here is the steed that saved the day…” Popular Imagery of Sheridan’s Ride (February 22-June 12, 2016)
General Philip H. Sheridan’s determination to secure a Union victory at the Battle of Cedar Creek in Virginia’s Shenandoah Valley on October 19, 1864 was well known during the second half of the nineteenth century. Relatively short in stature, General Sheridan (1831-1888) became larger than life through popular accounts of his heroic exploits during battle astride his stallion, Rienzi. As one account reported, “On he rode, his famous warhorse covered with foam and dirt, cheered at every stop by men in whom new courage was now kindled.” The subject of “Sheridan’s Ride” became immensely popular in art and illustration.
The Battle of Cedar Creek was decisive for the Union Army. General William Tecumseh Sherman had taken Atlanta on September 2, 1864. Sheridan’s victory in the Shenandoah Valley a month later helped solidify the Union’s hold over the South and propelled President Abraham Lincoln to re-election.
Capitalizing on the sensation of Sheridan’s victory in the popular press, poet and artist Thomas Buchanan Read (1822-1872) penned Sheridan’s Ride. Often read at political rallies, this poem and innumerable images of “Sheridan’s Ride” were used by the Republican Party to inspire patriotic sentiment. Read’s stirring poetry and his famous equestrian painting of General Sheridan spurred artists like Thomas Nast (1840-1902) and James E. Kelly (1855-1933) to create inspired images of this Union Civil War hero.
W. Parsons Todd (1877-1976), the founder of Macculloch Hall Historical Museum, was deeply interested in American History. Todd focused much of his collecting on historically significant artifacts, like the works on display.
Antique Carpets Through the Eyes of W. Parsons Todd (through May 1)
This exhibition features 17 carpets, rarely on display, from the Museum’s collection, with a selection of books and photographs that informed serious collectors during the first half of the twentieth century. W. Parsons Todd (1877-1976), founder of Macculloch Hall, was an esteemed carpet collector who had an eye for fine rugs. Todd was an early member and served as an officer of the Hajji Baba Club, a group of collectors and scholars dedicated to the study of fine textiles. During the course of his collecting, Todd amassed a library of fine books including, Oriental Carpets, a portfolio of photographs published in 1891 by the Imperial Royal Austrian Commercial Museum, Vienna, Austria, dedicated to antique carpet connoisseurship. Beautiful in their own right, these books and photographs are invaluable for the information they offer into patterns of collecting early in the twentieth century.
Programming for Antique Carpets Through the Eyes of W. Parsons Todd includes:
What Mr. Todd Collected with Dr. Patricia Pongracz, Executive Director MHHM, on January 24 at 2:00pm
Curator’s Choice: A Tour of the Exhibition with Ryan Hyman, F.M. Kirby Curator of Collections, on February 21 at 2:00pm
Art Underfoot; A Children’s Tour of Antique Carpets with Cynthia Winslow, MHHM Museum Educator, on March 13 at 2:00pm and March 23 from 10:00am – 12:00pm.
Additional lectures will be announced at a later date.
Antique Carpets Through the Eyes of W. Parsons Todd is made possible, in part, by the generous support of J&S Designer Flooring, Morristown, NJ.
This exhibition is supported, in part, by the F.M. Kirby Foundation. Macculloch Hall Historical Museum is a nonprofit educational affiliate of the W. Parsons Todd Foundation and received an operating support grant from the New Jersey Historical Commission, a division of the New Jersey Department of State.