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While this in not the portrait of the former South Carolina first lady, George Whiting Flagg painted 'Lady Jane Grey Preparing for Execution,' 1835. Image courtesy Wikimedia Commons.

High tech helps restore historic portrait of S.C. first lady

While this in not the portrait of the former South Carolina first lady, George Whiting Flagg painted 'Lady Jane Grey Preparing for Execution,' 1835. Image courtesy Wikimedia Commons.
While this in not the portrait of the former South Carolina first lady, George Whiting Flagg painted ‘Lady Jane Grey Preparing for Execution,’ 1835. Image courtesy Wikimedia Commons.

NORTH CHARLESTON, S.C. (AP) – A Clemson University scientist is helping restore a portrait of a former South Carolina first lady.

The school says Benjamin Rennison is using 3-D scanners and digital X-ray equipment to examine a painting of Harriet Lowndes Aiken at a North Charleston lab.

Rennison is working with the Historic Charleston Foundation this week to plot a digital image of the 9-foot-by-5-foot painting.

The school says Rennison will use the scanner to see how the surface of the painting has broken down over the years.

Conservators will use his work to look at the different layers of paint and figure out a plan for restoring the piece painting by George Whiting Flagg.

Aiken was married to Gov. William Aiken, who was South Carolina’s governor in the 1840s.

George Whiting Flagg (June 26, 1816-Jan. 5, 1897) from New Haven, Conn., was a painter of historical scenes and genre pictures.

Barbara K. Nork wrote in the South Carolina Historical Magazine in 1982 that when Flagg died his obituary in the National Cyclopedia of American Biography stated that “many of his best works are in the South” including the portrait of first lady Aiken. Nork added, “Today, however, this artist and his works are almost totally forgotten.”

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ADDITIONAL IMAGE OF NOTE


While this in not the portrait of the former South Carolina first lady, George Whiting Flagg painted 'Lady Jane Grey Preparing for Execution,' 1835. Image courtesy Wikimedia Commons.
While this in not the portrait of the former South Carolina first lady, George Whiting Flagg painted ‘Lady Jane Grey Preparing for Execution,’ 1835. Image courtesy Wikimedia Commons.