About the Artist: Edward Everett (1818–1903)

Edward Everett was a soldier enlisted to fight in the War with Mexico. He was from a distinguished family whose members included the great orator of the same name, the patriot Nathan Hale, the short story writer Edward Everett Hale, and the novelist Nathaniel Hawthorne. Everett arrived in Texas in 1846 as a member of the First Illinois Volunteers, posted to San Antonio. His drawing skills were clearly known to his commander, who, upon arrival in San Antonio, assigned Everett the task of drawing the city’s monuments, landmarks that reflected the local life and culture.

Everett was attracted to the city’s Spanish missions: San Antonio de Valero (the Alamo), Mission Concepción, and Mission San José. His feeling for the Alamo extended to more than just a fascination with early Spanish architecture, however. Like many Americans, Everett revered the Alamo as a symbol of Texans’ love of liberty, for it was here that a small band of insurgents stood against the Mexican army in 1836. His detailed drawing of the façade and interior of the chapel is a rare illustration of the building before restoration altered it completely, changing the structure into the distinctive scroll-top façade that is so well known today. By his skillful use of watercolor, Everett also captured in his drawings a sense of Texas light and heat. His works impart beautifully a sense of the spirit of this place, San Antonio, and not just the look of its Spanish buildings.

Everett’s informative watercolor renderings became the basis for prints produced in 1850 to accompany the U.S. government report on the Mexican campaign. Moreover, the images he gathered from his short sojourn in Texas in 1847–48 remained indelibly on his mind, and decades later, near the end of his life, he wrote a detailed account of those years.

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