"Mural Study for The Governor’s Reception Room, Pennsylvania State Capitol"   Lot no. 2115

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By Violet Oakley (1874-1961)

1904 (Estimated)
19.00" x 37.00"
Charcoal, Chalk and Gold Paint on Mid-Toned Paper
Signed Lower Left



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“The Answer to Tyndale’s Prayer” and “Anne Askew Before the Lord Chancellor.” Preliminary study for mural series “The Founding of the State of Liberty Spiritual” for the Governor’s Reception Room in the Pennsylvania State Capitol Building, circa 1904

Literature (related to the finished work): The Century magazine, June 1905; “The Holy Experiment” by Violet Oakley Carter: “The Red Rose Girls”

Exhibited: 1984-5: “America’s Great Women Illustrators” Society of Illustrators, Brandywine River Museum; Hudson River Museum

Explore related art collections: 1900s / Black & White / Historical / Drama / Brandywine School / $20,000 - $50,000 / Women Artists

See all original artwork by Violet Oakley



Violet Oakley came from a family of artists: two grandfathers were members of the National Academy, and she was always encouraged in her own artistic efforts. She attended classes at the Art Students League and spent several months in England and France where she was a pupil of Edmund Aman-Jean. She returned to the States to enroll in the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, studying under Cecilia Beaux, then switched to Drexel to study with Howard Pyle. While Pyle helped her to gain illustration assignments, she preferred to work in stained glass and at a larger, decorative scale.

    Pyle’s encouragement was the beginning of her long career as a designer of stained glass windows and murals. Her largest commission was for the murals in the Governor’s Reception Room in the new Capitol building in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. Edwin Austin Abbey, who was painting another, larger portion of the mural decorations, died in 1911, and Oakley completed his commission as well, taking another nineteen years to finish.

   When the League of Nations was being formed in 1927, Oakley spent several months in Geneva, Switzerland, recording the sessions and making portraits of the participants. Her work won her many awards and an honorary degree of Doctor of Laws from the Drexel Institute in 1948.