Library Catalog - Kentucky Historical Society

Object Record

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Object Name Portrait
Title Ethel Witherspoon Alexander Portrait
Catalog Number 1980.23.8
Creator Marschall, Nicola
Maker Marschall, Nicola
Date 1890
Material(s) Canvas
Dimensions H-24 W-20 D-0.75 inches
Description The portrait depicts Ethel Witherspoon Alexander as a young girl. She is depicted in a three quarter view to the left. She has golden blonde hair with bangs and blue eyes. She appears to be wearing a white lace, with a flower motif structure, top that is either a blouse or a dress. In addition, she has a brown band in her hair. The background is a mottle green-brown wash. There is a signature line on the bottom left edge that reads "Nicola Marschal, 1890."
Notes Ethel Witherspoon Alexander (1880-1974) Born April 28, at her family estate in Versailles, Kentucky, her great uncle was John Witherspoon, president of the College of New Jersey (later Princeton) as well as representative of New Jersey in the Continental Congress. Her mother's family, the Vileys, was a prominent family in Kentucky, namely Woodford County. In 1909 she married Oakley Logan Alexander. As he rose in leadership at the Pocahontas steamship companies she also helped collaborate with him the designing and maintaining of coal terminals, ships and properties under the company's ownership. It was through his leadership and likely her assistance that the companies were able to survive through the great depression. In her will she helped found the Oakley L. & Ethel Witherspoon Alexander Foundation which later becomes a fund in the New York Community Trust. This fund is to benefit works in the coal industry, their families and the communities in central Appalachia. Both are buried in the Lexington cemetery.

Nicola Marschall (1829-1917) was born in St. Wendel Rhenish Prussia, immigrated to Alabama in 1849. Marschall was credited with designing the first Confederate national flag. He moved to Louisville in 1873 and opened a portrait studio. He was a prolific painter, and studied both painting and music in Rome, Florence, Naples, Paris, London, Berlin, Dusseldorf and Munich before traveling to the Americas. He was credited with designing the Confederate uniform and with the design of the first confederate flag. He also served in the Confederate army. A decade after the Civil War, he moved to Louisville, Kentucky with his wife and three children and opened a portrait studio at the southwest corner of Fourth and Green Streets. It was here where he painted many of the prominent works of his career.

Media Links Oakley Logan and Ethel Witherspoon Alexander Trust
Collection Mrs. Marie A. Repetto Collection
People Marschall, Nicola
Alexander, Ethel Witherspoon
Subjects Art
Oil paintings
Portrait paintings
Young persons
Search Terms New York
Versailles (Ky.)
Woodford County (Ky.)
Physical Holder Kentucky Historical Society - KHS