CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- The West Virginia Mansion Preservation Foundation will unveil a significant painting marking the Mountain State's history when the organization hosts a Sesquicentennial-themed fundraiser at the Governor's Mansion from 6 to 9 p.m. Sept. 12.
Proceeds from the reception, which is open to the public, will benefit the nonprofit foundation's mission to maintain and to furnish the interiors of the first-floor public rooms of the mansion, adhering to aesthetic and historical standards established by the organization's committee.
The public rooms include the foyer, ballroom, formal dining room, drawing room, library, living room and sun porch. Throughout the year, these rooms host international and national dignitaries, legislators and the visiting public, including scores of school children and Scout troops.
First lady Shelley Moore started the nonpartisan 501(c)(3) foundation in 1986, during her husband Arch A. Moore Jr.'s third term as governor. She established the foundation to raise funds for the maintenance of the mansion's public areas after observing that the 1925 building's architectural integrity needed to be preserved in its original style.
The Governor's Mansion was designed by Charleston architect Walter F. Martens. The designer worked closely with Cass Gilbert, architect of the Capitol. The building is a Georgian-style structure featuring dual staircases. The arched entry portal and restored chandelier in the foyer are Georgian.
Elizabeth Chilton, president of the foundation, announced earlier in the week that during the reception, the foundation will reveal the painting "Harpers Ferry," by respected early American painter Francis Guy (1760-1820).
The 27- by 41-inch oil on canvas painting is on loan to the state of West Virginia for one year from Michael F. Meyer, owner of Michael Meyer Fine Art Inc., in Yonkers, N.Y. He will attend the foundation event.
"It's a very important historical painting. It was painted in 1808. There were very few landscape painters at that time. I thought the state curator should know of its existence. ... It's a major find," Meyer said.