The portrait of James Bowie, by G.P.A. Healy, currently in the State Capitol, at Austin. While yet in the possesion of the Bowie family, in Louisiana, the portrait was meticulously restored by Joseph Musso to its current condition. Prior to that, the portrait--which had hung over a fireplace for many years---had been marred by grime and soot.
Here is how the portrait appeared in most history books before Joseph Musso restored it: in black and white and with the background blending in with the outline of Bowie's head.
The first color photo ever of the painting was supplied to me by Gwendolyn Moore Burke, Rezin Bowie's great granddaughter, back in the early Eighties when she herself was in her eighties. I will try to post the photo of the portrait in color showing how it looked before the restoration. Ms. Moore Burke has since passed on, but I will always be grateful to her for how helpful she was to me with Bowie family (painting) photos and information on both Jim and Rezin Bowie.
Last Edit: Apr 23, 2011 13:03:36 GMT -5 by neferetus
As promised, here is a scan of the very first color photo ever of the GPA Healy portrait of Bowie that was provided to me by Gwendolyn Moore Burke, a descendant of Rezin Bowie. The photo shows just how bad in shape the painting was before Joe Musso restored it.
I feel very priveleged to have received the photo from that gracious lady and would ask only that it not be copied for publication anywhere. (Note: a version of the photo appeared in a 1981 edition of THE ALAMO SOCIETY JOURNAL)
Do you know if there are any cartouch markings on the blade?
I took a look at a photo of the blade itself, but could not determine anything, due to the almost black patina it has developed, over the years. I will try to enlarge the photo, lighten it and then let you know. What is the significance of 'cartouch markings' on the blade?
Bowie was supposed to have been in the militia during the war of 1812 and even fought in the battle of New Orleans.
Still, it's only a dress saber, I think, and not meant for hard use. I seem to recall how J.E.B. Stuart had hacked at John Brown with a similar dress saber during the capture of the engine house at Harper's Ferry. Had it been a regular saber, Brown would've likely died of the wounds inflicted by such a weapon.
Post by highplainsman on Mar 28, 2007 14:29:44 GMT -5
Wow ! I like both of these knives for obvious reasons. The Moore knife seems the more practical for a man that spent a lot of his time on the road and in rough country as it was of a little handier size for regular camp chores as well as a defensive weapon in a pinch. Just take a look at modern combat knives ans see some of the same things such as general shape and size and weight. It's interesting to speculate--but like the death of Crockett, we will probably never know!
Here is a detail photo of the sword seen in the Bowie portrait that was also sent to me courtesy of Gwendolyn Moore Burke. Again, it is not for publication anywhere.
I could be wrong, but the handle on the sword does´nt look like the handle on the painting. It could be a Bowie knife that Bowie is holding on the painting. There were made Bowie knifes with handles like that. Juan Seguin had one with such a handle (known as The Seguin Bowie). I´ve seen a picture of it, as I said in another post ...
The sword was Bowie's so it may have been used as inspiration for the painting. That being said, the knife below is probably close to what you are talking about, yes?
Indeed! It´s VERY close to the picture of "The Seguin Bowie" found in the back of the album version of Jaxon´s "Los Tejanos"! And I think this handle looks a lot like the handle on the painting. The handle on the sword looks different to me. Here´s the full text that goes with the pictures of the knife and painting in the album:
"James Bowie, painted from life by Benjamin West in New Orleans 1834. Note the eagleheaded object in Bowie´s right hand and compare it with the knife shown, known as "The Seguin Bowie" because Juan Seguin´s name is engraved on the handle side of the quillon. It surfaced near Monterey, Mexico in the 1930´s and the blade is inscribed, "Searles of Baton Rouge, Louisiana" (Daniel Searles made several other existing Bowie´s during the 1830-40`s). It´s blade is almost 14 inches long; overall the knife is over 17.5 inches - an impressive weapon and one of the most elegant specimens known. (Texas State Archives, The Alamo - Office of the Curator)"
I had posted these photos on the Alamo Film site so I thought I would post them here. The backsmiths shop at Washington, Arkansas. The reason I made a visit there was because that was the capital of Arkansas during the War Between the States.