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the gibbes museum of art

Anna Heyward Taylor: Intrepid Explorer

January 18, 2019 - May 12, 2019

Gallery 9


A native of Columbia, South Carolina, Anna Heyward Taylor (1879—1956) is best known as one of the principal artists of the Charleston Renaissance, a period of cultural rebirth in the city from roughly 1915 to 1940. Prior to settling in Charleston in 1929, Taylor traveled and studied widely, including trips to Holland in 1903 and England in 1904 as a student of William Merritt Chase. During 1908 and 1909 Taylor toured Europe with her sister Nell and in 1914 she visited Japan, Korea, and China. Taylor’s travels also took her to the exotic locations of British Guiana in 1916 and 1920, the Virgin Islands in 1926, and Mexico in 1935 and 1936.

This exhibition focuses on Taylor’s visits to British Guiana as she created a substantial body of work during these trips. Taylor traveled to British Guiana as a staff artist for the scientific expedition led by naturalist William Beebe. There she created sketches and watercolor paintings of jungle foliage and animals. Once back in the United States she created batiks and woodblock prints based on her observations.

Drawn from the Gibbes Museum’s collection, this exhibition features stunning watercolor paintings that have never been on view to the public. Several paintings on loan from The Charleston Museum provide insight into Taylor’s scientific interests as well as her artistic pursuits. For the first time, this exhibition brings together Taylor’s watercolors, batiks, and woodblock prints inspired by her adventurous travels in British Guiana, marking the life of a truly remarkable artist, scientist, and explorer.

This exhibition is sponsored by BlueCross BlueShield of South Carolina, Gaylord & Dorothy Donnelley Foundation, South Carolina Arts Commission, The City of Charleston and Charleston Mercury.

Addition support provided by Mr. and Mrs. Henry T. Gaud Jr., Mariana Heyward Taylor Manning Family, John and Rebecca Shockley and Ellen Taylor Shockley Story, Dr. Edmund Rhett Taylor Family, and Reba and Dave Williams.


  • BCBS South Carolina
  • Gaylord & Dorothy Donnelley Foundation
  • South Carolina Arts Commission
  • City of Charleston
  • Charleston Mercury