Painted portrait of Edmund Kirby-Smith


Legacies Classification
Memorial Artwork
Memorial Type
Visual Work of Art
Memorial Context
Memorialized Subject
Painted portrait of Edmund Kirby-Smith
Background and Context
This posthumous portrait of Edmund Kirby-Smith as an elderly man attired in his Confederate uniform was among the historical portraits of the founders and officials of the early University of the South hanging in Convocation Hall. It was removed to the University Special Collections in 2018 and replaced by a portrait of Wylie Blount Miller, a post-Civil War benefactor. The reason for the exchange is unknown.

The artist was Narcissa Owen (1831-1907), a self-trained portraitist living in Lynchburg, Virginia. According to her published memoir, Owen painted it at the suggestion of Kirby-Smith's brother-in-law, William Selden, after Kirby-Smith's death in 1893. Selden recommended she produce the portrait for the collection of “Confederate historical memorials” then being assembled in Richmond. However, once she finished it, she decided instead to give it to Kirby-Smith's widow. (Memoirs of Narcissa Owen, 111). The details of how it came into the possession of the University of the South are unknown.
Physical Description
Oil on fabric. Framed: 38.25" x 33.25".
Creator/Participating Person(s)
Owen, Narcissa (1831 -1907)
Date Modified
Campus Location
Location: Institution, City, State

Position: 81 (22 views)