Warren and Julie Payne


L o u i s v i l l e, K e n t u c k y

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12 x 18 3/4 inches



Jessie Cox Burgess (1880-1970)

In 2006 Payne Fine Arts was researching a Paul Sawyier oil of the High Bridge area. This brought us to the art library at the University of Louisville, which houses the papers of Sawyier biographer Willard Rouse Jillson.


In the files was a letter from Jessie Cox Burgess of Frankfort, in response to an inquiry from Jillson. In it Mrs. Burgess wrote the following: “I was a pupil of Mr. Sawyer (sic), and have many happy memories of him, while out sketching.” On the letter Jillson wrote 1897 and “Jessie Cox Burgess, Bertha Scott, Mary Belle Taylor.” We have since learned that all three Frankfort women were Sawyier students, and we have seen work by all three.


The same year we saw a large framed artwork in Versailles that we took to be a Sawyier print. It turned out to be the watercolor being offered on our site.


Mrs. Burgess (1880-1970) became a respected art teacher in the Frankfort public schools and  helped design the state flag.

Her watercolor bears an uncanny resemblance to the Sawyier watercolor illustrated except that the figure of the young woman is missing. Could that young woman have been Jessie Cox Burgess?

© 2019  Warren and Julie Payne