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2024 Winter Fine Art, Antiques & Jewelry (Day 1)

Sat, Jan 27, 2024 09:00AM EST
Lot 541

James E. Taylor Civil War W/C, Zouave Battalion at Fortress Monroe, c. 1861

Estimate: $2,800 - $3,200

Bid Increments

Price Bid Increment
$0 $10
$100 $25
$500 $50
$1,000 $100
$3,000 $200
$5,000 $500
$10,000 $1,000
$20,000 $2,000
$50,000 $5,000
$100,000 $10,000

James Earl Taylor (Ohio/New York, 1839-1901) "Zouave Battalion at Fortress Monroe," c. 1861, watercolor on paper, depicting the National Zouaves of the 10th New York Infantry at Fort Monroe in Hampton, Virginia. Taylor--himself a National Zouave who was stationed at Fort Monroe between June 1861 and May 1861--records the distinctive uniforms of these soldiers as they read the newspaper, doze, and lean against a large tree, and engage in other leisure-time activities. Signed in pencil, lower right. With Kennedy Galleries, New York, label affixed to backing. Housed under plexiglass in a giltwood frame with cream textile mat, gilt reveal, and brass nameplate. Sight: 12 1/2" H x 13 3/4" W. Frame: 20 1/4" H x 21 1/4" W.

Literature: Catalog number 17 in Harold Holzer and Frank J. Williams, "The Grand Review: Lincoln, Grant & The Civil War in Art and Artifacts," Orange, VA: Publisher's Press, 2014, p. 35.

Biographical note: James Taylor was born in Cincinnati and graduated from the University of Notre Dame at the age of 16. By 18, he had painted a panorama of the Revolutionary War. He enlisted in the Tenth New York Infantry (National Zouaves) in 1861. While a soldier, he sent his battlefield drawings to Frank Leslie's Illustrated Newspaper and was hired as a "special artist" when he left the army in 1863. For the remainder of the war, he traveled with the Union Army in Virginia, West Virginia, South Carolina, and North Carolina focusing particularly on panoramas of battles and the settings of the war. Leslie's published 61 of his wartime drawings.

After the war, Taylor traveled to the West with the Indian Peace Commission, and his drawings of the Medicine Lodge Council of the Peace Commission were published in Leslie's in November 1867. His drawing "Branding Cattle on the Prairies in Texas," published in Leslie's in June 1867, was the first illustration of the western cattle industry printed in the national press. He also produced numerous drawings of the aftermath of the Great Fire in Chicago in 1871, several of which appeared as engravings in Leslie's reports on the relief and recovery process of late October-November 1871. In 1883, he left Leslie's to be a freelance illustrator. He died in New York City. (sources: The Becker Collection: Drawings of the American Civil War Era (; Peter Hastings Falk, ed., Who Was Who in American Art).


Overall very good condition. Minor surface abrasion with retouching to ground at left of central soldier, 2 1/4" L, plus areas of retouching to wall at left of rifles, 1 1/2" x 1/2", and to ground at right of rifles, 1" x 1/4". Negligible fading to edges of sheet. With erased accession number, lower left. Frame with abrasions and losses.

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Private South Carolina Collection; ex-Heritage Auctions, Nov. 12, 2011 lot 52132; Kennedy Galleries.