Draughon Center celebrates gift of George Fuller drawing

Published: November 16, 2020

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The Caroline Marshall Draughon Center for the Arts and Humanities at Pebble Hill is the recipient of a charcoal drawing titled “Negro Funeral (Memory Drawing)” by artist George Fuller from the collection of David and Frances Robb. The drawing will be displayed in the library of the historic Scott-Yarbrough House.

“This unique drawing will enhance our interpretation of the lives of enslaved people in Alabama,” said Mark Wilson, the center directior.

George Fuller was a portrait painter and native of Deerfield, Massachusetts. In the 1850s, he traveled to the South to seek portrait commissions. During his travels to Montgomery, Alabama, he kept a sketchbook of his impressions of the lives of enslaved people. The charcoal drawing dates to the early 1880s and is based on his memory of an event he had seen near Montgomery in the late 1850s. Fuller developed this theme further in an oil painting with a similar title, now in the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston.

David and Frances Robb are residents of Huntsville. David Robb has served as a curator at art museums in Washington D.C., Minneapolis and Fort Worth; and most recently as museum director in Savannah and Huntsville. Since retiring from the Huntsville Museum of Art, he has become involved with history programs at the Alabama Department of Archives and History and the Alabama Historical Association. Frances Robb is the author of "Shot in Alabama: A History of Photography, 1839–1941," and "List of Photographers." She has spent 25 years researching Alabama photographers and photographs while serving as a consultant on the state’s cultural history and historic photography for museums, archives and libraries.

"Since 1965, when Elizabeth Fuller, the artist's granddaughter, gave this drawing to us as a wedding present, we have been privileged to live with this unusual drawing in our home for more than several decades," said David Robb. "Now, we are very pleased to be able to share it with the many future visitors of Pebble Hill, its new home."

The Caroline Marshall Draughon Center for the Arts and Humanities in Auburn University’s College of Liberal Arts creates opportunities for people to explore individual and collective experiences, values and identities through the creativity of the arts and the wisdom of the humanities.

The center is located in the historic Scott-Yarbrough House, known as Pebble Hill, is an 1847 Greek Revival style cottage that illustrates the important lives of Creek Indians, enslaved persons and founders and builders of the town of Auburn.

Pebble Hill is open for self-guided tours during business hours, and guided tours are available by appointment. To make a reservation, email cmdcah@auburn.edu. For more information about the center and Pebble Hill, click here. 


Submitted by: Maiben Beard