Finance and Administration Cabinet
Historic Properties acquires original Sawyier watercolor of Berry Mansion
FRANKFORT, Ky.— The Finance and Administration Cabinet’s Division of Historic Properties recently acquired an original Paul Sawyier watercolor of Frankfort’s historic Berry Mansion. The painting will be unveiled on Monday, June 5 at 11 a.m. at the Berry Mansion, 700 Louisville Road, Frankfort, Kentucky.
The original artwork was restored by renowned paper conservator Christine Young of Nashville, Tenn. A limited number of prints have been produced for the Division of Historic Properties by Gerald Printing of Bowling Green, Kentucky. The prints are $30 and may be purchased at the open house; online at www.kentucky.gov/mall/store; or by calling the Division of Historic Properties at 502/564-3000, ext. 228.
The painting, which features a west view of the mansion, was completed by Sawyier between 1904-1908. It is one of 11 paintings of the Berry Estate at Juniper Hill commissioned from Sawyier by Mr. and Mrs. George Franklin Berry, who built their stately mansion overlooking the Kentucky state Capitol in 1900. The painting is preserved in its original frame with a label from Brower’s furniture store in Lexington. Brower’s served as the exclusive agent for Paul Sawyier paintings from 1908-1910 when there were no private galleries in the area to represent local artists.
Upon Mrs. Berry’s death in 1950, her niece, Cornelia Gordon Roberts, inherited the Berry Mansion property and its contents. Six of the 11 original Sawyier paintings of the Berry’s Juniper Hill estate became part of a collection later owned by George Berry Roberts, one of Roberts’ sons, who sold the painting to the Division of Historic Properties in October 2005. Although the painting remained in the family until its recent sale to Historic Properties, it has traveled through several states, including Florida and North Carolina.
The artist, Paul Sawyier, was born in Table Rock in Madison County, Ohio on March 23, 1865. Sawyier, whose artistic talents were evident from a young age, moved to Frankfort with his parents when he was five. He studied his craft at the Cincinnati Art Academy before moving to New York City for further training. He then moved to Covington, Kentucky to study under Frank Duveneck, a famous oil painter. Sawyier returned to Frankfort upon completion of his studies. He made a living primarily by painting portraits commissioned by well-to-do families, as well as scenes of the Elkhorn Creek and Kentucky River. He died on November 8, 1917 at the age of 52 and is buried in the Frankfort Cemetery.