In the presence of art, we have the opportunity to see inside someone’s heart, mind, and soul and feel what they felt.

Bombardment of Fort Sumter, Charleston Harbor, South Carolina, 1863, 1886, by William Aiken Walker (American, 1838 – 1921)


Bombardment of Fort Sumter, Charleston Harbor, South Carolina, 1863, by William Aiken Walker

Bombardment of Fort Sumter, Charleston Harbor, South Carolina, 1863, 1886
William Aiken Walker (American, 1838 – 1921)
Oil on canvas; 20 x 35 1/2 inches
Gibbes Museum of Art, Museum Purchase with funds provided by a gift or bequest from Mr. and Mrs. Lockwood Tower, Mrs. Dorothy Vaness Pihl, Mr. and Mrs. Andrew B. Wardlaw, Mr. and Mrs. J. Francis Brenner, Jr., Dr. Charles R. Anderson, Mrs. Jean R. Yawkey, Mr. Pascal Cucaro, Mr. and Mrs. Charles Woodward, Miss Anna Heyward Taylor, Miss Alice Ravenel Huger Smith, The Allen Tucker Memorial Fund, Miss Laura Bragg, Mrs. Ashby Farrow, Mrs. A.G. Brown, Miss Martha R. Singleton. Financial contributions provided by Benefactors – 2001 opening night gala at Cypress, Gibbes, etc., The Samuel Freeman Charitable Trust, Mr. William E. Murray, Mr. and Mrs. Thomas J. Parsell, Mr. and Mrs. Charles E. Volpe, Dr. and Mrs. Anton Vreede; Patrons – Ms. J. E. Bradham, Mr. and Mrs. Wilbur J. Prezzano, Dr. James G. Simpson; Friends – The Albert Sottile Foundation, Dr. and Mrs. James C. Allen, Mrs. David Alterman, Anson, Mr. and Mrs. Bill Antonetti, Mr. and Mrs. Andrew Barrett, Mr. and Mrs. B.T. Batsch, Mr. Bennett Baxley, Mr. James R. Beeler, Mrs. Paul A. Belknap, Mr. and Mrs. Edward G. R. Bennett, Mrs. Margaret Blackmer, Mr. Ralph E. Blakely and Mr. Wilmer H. Welsh, Ms. Hilary Cadwallader, Mr. and Mrs. Ray Castello, Mr. and Mrs. Wayland H. Cato, Jr., Charleston Fine Art Dealers Association, Mr. and Mrs. Edward Eve Crawford, Mr. and Mrs. Walter S. Crone, Mrs. Joyce Carolyn Long Darby, Mr. and Mrs. Belk Daughtridge, Ms. Susan Griffitts Dickson, Dr. and Mrs. Richard L. Dobson, Mrs. Gaylord Donnelley, Mr. and Mrs. Irenee du Pont May, Ella R. F. Porcher Acquisitions Fund, Elizabeth C. Rivers Lewine Charitable Trust, Dr. and Mrs. Sandy Estes, Fidelity Investments Charitable Gift Fund, Mr. and Mrs. Paul C. Figueroa, Mr. and Mrs. William A. Finn, Frank & Mary Lee McLain Foundation, Mr. and Mrs. Eric G. Friberg, Gallery Two Queen, Garibaldi’s, Mr. Eugene Glowny, Mr. Sanford Goin, The Honorable Lindsey Graham, Mrs. Roger Hanahan, Mr. and Mrs. F. James Hodges, Mrs. Richard W. Hutson, Mr. and Mrs. F. Ronald Jenkins, Jr., John Carroll Doyle Art Gallery, Mr. Thomas Kenan III, Mrs. Broyles Kerr, Dr. and Mrs. M.F. La Via, Mr. and Mrs. Richard M. Lilly, Mr. and Mrs. David Maybank, Jr., Margaret Petterson Gallery, Dr. and Mrs. Layton McCurdy, Ms. Anne McPherson, Mr. and Mrs. Bill Medich, Mr. and Mrs. Douglas D. Milne, Jr., Mr. and Mrs. Harry W. Mohlmann, Mr. and Mrs. B. A. Moore, Ms. Geraldine Murphy, Mrs. deRosset Myers, Mr. and Mrs. Charles Patrick, Mrs. Margaret M. Peery, Mr. and Mrs. Felix C. Pelzer, Vice Admiral and Mrs. Douglas Plate, Mr. and Mrs. I. Mayo Read, Jr., Dr. and Mrs. J. W. Rhodes, Small Fund of The Community Foundation Serving Coastal South Carolina, Smith Coleman Fine Art, Mr. and Mrs. Heyward Siddons, Mr. and Mrs. James H. Small, Mr. and Mrs. O. Johnson Small, Smith-Killian Fine Art, Ms. Ethel S. Swartz, The Wells Gallery / Killian Arts LLC, Ms. Mary Elizabeth Van Every, Virginia R. Dwight Acquisitions Fund, Mr. and Mrs. Thomas M. Walkley, Mr. and Mrs. David Wallace, Mrs. Mary Ellen Long Way, General and Mrs. W. C. Westmoreland, and Dr. and Mrs. George W. Williams (2001.032.0001)

While Charleston native William Aiken Walker is primarily known for his depictions of former slaves, he also did a number of landscapes and paintings of his native city. During the Civil War, Walker was commissioned by the Confederate States Corps of Engineers to render drawings of the Union’s navy attack on Fort Sumter. The painting recreates the unsuccessful attack of April 12, 1863. The view is from East Battery and shows Castle Pinckney and the Confederate gunboat, ”Juno,” to the left, Fort Moultrie in the distance, Fort Sumter in the center and Fort Johnson to the extreme right.

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