Mrs. Benjamin N. Duke (Sarah Pearson), in crystal anniversary dress, 1894, Oil on canvas, 36" x 50", by Norval H. Busey
Mrs. Benjamin N. Duke wears the crystal anniversary dress which is now on display at the Washington Duke Inn. In 1960, this portrait was transferred with three other Duke family portraits from Four Acres, Benjamin N. Duke's home in Durham. This portrait hangs behind the Public Services Desk in Lilly Library's Main Lobby. Another portrait of her hangs in the north foyer of the second floor.
Mrs. Benjamin N. Duke helped establish the Sarah P. Duke Gardens located on the West Campus of Duke University. For more information about the Gardens, see a "Brief History of the Sarah P. Duke Gardens." She also joined with Trinity faculty to establish literary clubs comprised of community and campus members.
Norval H. Busey, the artist, was born in 1845, in Christiansburg, Virginia. He studied painting with Bouguereau in Paris. Around 1871 he became a member of the Salmagundi Club in New York, an early important art club that held regular exhibitions and formed a collection. The club's influence waned by the 1940s. Busey also painted portraits of Benjamin N. Duke, Master Angier B. Duke, and Miss Mary Duke, which hang in Lilly Library's Main Lobby, and The Reapers, which hangs in the south foyer on the second floor.
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