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James Batterton

Bradford, Alexander __Attributed to
Place Made:
Millersburg Bourbon County Kentucky
Date Made:
oil on canvas
__27 3/8 __ __22 3/8
Accession Number:
SITTER: James Batterton was born in 1793 in Loudoun County, Virginia. His family was part of the major post-Revolutionary migration of Virginians westward to Kentucky, where they settled in Bourbon County. He married Laura Lavison Varnon (1708-1843) in 1826 and may have had this portrait painted soon thereafter. Batterton is listed in the History of Bourbon County as an original member of the Christian Church of Millersburg, Kentucky. This church was a branch of the Baptists, who held different views on some points, and which organized a society about 1831-2. Two houses built by James Batterton survive in the town of Millersburg.

ARTIST: For many years this portrait was attributed to Matthew Harris Jouett (1788-1827). New research by Catherine Carlisle and discussion with Kentucky art historian Estill Curtis Pennington now suggests that the painting is actually by Alexander Bradford (1791-1827). Bradford was a contemporary of Jouett who was born in Culpepper County, Virginia, and emigrated to Kentucky as a child. According to the 1810 and 1820 censuses he was a resident of Georgetown. In 1825 Bradford was commissioned to paint the family of Martha Chandler Prewitt (1762-1833). The commission totaled a dozen portraits, all but one of which remain in family hands. The Prewitt paintings provide a basis for comparison upon which the Bradford attribution of Batterton’s portrait is based.

DESCRIPTION: Painting, oil on canvas, showing a man facing half left, with dark hair and eyes, a dark suit with brass buttons, white stock and tie.

Credit Line:
Gift of Frank L. Horton