Lot 80 of 435:
Architectural drawings by VMI student 1856-7  

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Lot closed - Sold For (Includes Buyers Premium):$1,200
$2,000 - $3,000

Confederate military officer’s original architectural drawings done when he was a student at the Virginia Military Institute

Hardin, Col. Mark Bernard

Lexington, VA




15 pen and ink with watercolor student architectural drawings on paper. 23.3x36.2 cm. (9¼x14¼"), mounted on backing boards (however, they gently lift off the backing board leaving little residue).

Architectural drawings on paper, done while the young Hardin was a student at Virginia Military Institute, from which he graduated in 1858, at the head of his class of nineteen. Although Hardin (1838-1916) would ultimately become a professor of chemistry and a practicing chemist, he had a terrific talent as a young student draftsman and watercolor artist, as these pieces attest. These drawings and watercolors are all finely done works of railroad bridges of all designs, track configurations, an early railroad engine, elevation perspectives, brick structures, trusses and a great patriotic eagle and American shield. Each individual drawing has his name M.B. Hardin beautifully lettered on the top, with the initials V.M.I. and the date ’56 or ’57 (1856/1857) on the bottom. All are colored in watercolor, and some have small watercolor scenic vignettes. One elevation of a brick bridge has a view that looks under the bridge following a rock stream with a forest background that is in itself exquisite. They are nice enough to be called American folk art, but expertly accomplished to be finished works of fine art. After Hardin graduated in 1858, he taught at V.M.I. until the beginning of the Civil War. At that time he met General “Stonewall” Jackson as his student there and as his co-professor. A friendship sprung up and he was offered a position on Jackson’s staff, which he declined, preferring the front line. He became a Major in the 33rd Virginia Regiment and fought with Jackson’s brigade at Manassas. In 1862 he was appointed Major of Artillery in the Confederate Army, and had an active career in battle until taken prisoner in Washington. After Lincoln was assassinated, for safety, he and other Confederate officers were taken to Johnson’s Island , Lake Erie until the war’s end in 1865. In 1867 he returned to Virginia Military Institute as Professor of Chemistry until 1890. He was then appointed Chemistry Professor at Clemson University, President of the Agricultural College and Hardin Hall at Clemson is named in his honor.

Lot Amendments

The drawings are uniformly yellowed from being displayed, although the original paper may have been off-white to start. Very good condition.

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