Patsy Daigrepont visited the Smokies in East Tennessee 16 years ago and she now lives in the foothills of the nation’s most visited national park,and off the beaten path.
While married to her first husband who was in the U.S. Navy, the couple was stationed in Scotland for 18 months, and Daigrepont fell in love with the terrain and the Scottish people. She cried when her husband was was transferred back to the States.
But when she visited the Smokies, she felt at home.
“The visit was so beautiful, and I was doing well and living alone, so I thought I could get a camper and visit the Smokies every so often, because I loved it here. It reminded me of Scotland” she says.
While living in Louisiana, she had worked with Bob Christmas an art collector for 24 years. She had served as his caretaker for the last year of his life and when he died nine years ago, Patsy inherited his collection of antique prints.
In the collection are a large number of Civil War lithograhps.
Daigrepont started collecting antique prints 35 years ago. “I got started when my daddy brought me old calendars. He suggested I frame the pictures and sell them, and they sold well.” She later began collecting hand-painted antique prints.
But after 35 years in Louisiana, the storms on the coast became too much and so Ms. Daigrepont decided to make a move to the Smokies. “I was too old to keep boarding everything up, and evacuate my collection, every time a storm came,” she explained.
So she moved to Cocke County in 2008 but didn’t begin selling her inherited collection untill last year.
At the center of the treasure trove of prints are the original five volumes of Harper’s Weekly newspaper, that cover the Civil War from 1861 to 1865.
Harper’s Weekly was the definitive newspaper of record from 1857 till 1912 , and it had broad national and international distribution.
The publication included artist’s renditions of a wide array of Civil War activities, including the complete coverage of the assassination of Abraham Lincoln as it was reported at the time. There are lithographs of a number of battles, including the Battle of Murfreboro. Daigrepont has a collectible Stonewall Jackson coin to go with the print of the Confederate General.
Another print features the “bloodiest” battle of the Civil War; Frank James, a brother to Jesse James, fought in The Battle of Wilson’s Creek.
The Declaration of Independence lithograph is available, as well as many collectible maps, including a topographical map of “Eastern Virginia from “Fredericksburg” to “Richmond.” Other maps from the newspaper show the layout of planned battle assaults.
Another very rare lithograph by James Yeager, features the Battle of New Orleans and Death of Major General Packenham in 1815.
Also available are woodblock prints by Winsler Homer, featuring Civil War scenes from Harper’s Weekly. And she has a collection of books featuring lithograph prints, as well as original woodblock prints of Harper’s Weekly.
Other lithograths feature a number of famous political figures including, Ben Franklin, John Hancock, Daniel Boone etc., from 1862, by Alonzo Chappel. He was an American painter, best known for his depiction of personalities and events from the American Revolution and early 19th-century American history.
Included in the collection also are original prints from McKenney & Hall’s, History of the Indian Tribes of North America.
She even has playing cards featuring Civil War scenes and McKenney and Hall artistry.
Daigrepont also has thousands of original Audubon prints for which she offers a certificate of authenticity for each one that is sold. Also available is the complete set of the First Edition of “History of British Birds” by Rev.F.O. Morris published in 1852, and many other books of similar antique lithographs.
A number of the prints are hand colored, but to color a lithograph correctly, “you must crawl into the print”, she explains.
Also included in the collection are prints from La Moda Elegante, a magazine published in Spanish in Mexico. She also has prints from Le Bon Ton, another publication aimed at the female audience. Both magazines were popular in the 1800’s, and featured period attire. Available prints are limited because each magazine printed only the number of issues for which there was a subscription.
Her collection includes re-prints of uncut sheets of $100 bills from several Louisiana banks and the more recently issued U.S. stamps that feature the Civil War.
Daigrepont also is available to do framing in her shop and is skilled in the restoration of collectible lithographs.
She can be contacted at https://www.facebook.com/Civil-War-Bear-Den or by calling 985-788-2115.
-By Ray Snader