How Did Lee Mallory, Panorama Artist, Entrepreneur and Photo-Artist, Die? A Monday Mystery

This is a post on another person I find fascinating who was associated with photography in Georgia. I know both “only a little” and “quite a lot” about him, if that’s possible. The fact that his name is that of a twentieth century author and also of a musician certainly made the research I’ve done on him during the past several years interesting.

Pugh, J.A. backmark detail6 fan

 J.A. Pugh, Macon GA cabinet card back mark detail, c1880

I have not been able to verify anything about this man’s background. One record I found online, when I was searching for him in 2007, I could not locate again. Luckily I had printed it – a marriage record for a man by that name to an Ellen Preston in about 1856 in Richmond, Virginia.

The marriage record gives Mallory’s date of birth as about 1831 in New Orleans, Louisiana, and both the date and place of his marriage and of his birth seem possible and likely. I found Ellen on an 1850 census there with her family, but I have not yet located Lee and/or Ellen anywhere in 1860, and Lee Mallory was dead before the 1870 census.

As an “artist” Lee Mallory traveled the South from the mid -1850s until his death in 1866. That he was known for differing reasons in the states of Virginia, Washington D.C., Louisiana, Georgia, Maryland and Mississippi I can verify. This notoriety centered sometimes on his artistic ability, sometimes his entrepreneur skills, and sometimes both.

In July 1855 he was working as a theatrical agent for shows at the Metropolitan Hall, Richmond, and in February 1858 as an agent for shows at the Melodion in Washington D.C. In March 1858 he was working shows in Baltimore, Maryland. At some point, he began leasing these halls himself.

Pugh, J.A. backmark detail5 cherib

 J.A. Pugh, Macon GA cabinet card back mark detail, c1880

From April to July 1861, Mallory was working as the Jackson, Mississippi agent for a New Orleans, Louisiana publisher named A. Daproment. The publisher was selling “flags adopted by the Southern Congress” in the shape of postage stamps (probably designed by Mallory) which were to be used for mailing packages. The advertisements naming these two appeared in the Gazette & Sentinel of Plaquemine Parish, Iberville, Louisiana for those four months.

In August, 1861 Lee Mallory painted, and signed, a flag for the Duncan Riflemen of Co. A (3rd Mississippi Battalion). He was hired by a Jackson, Mississippi merchant named C.H. Manship who was expanding his business to make flags. It is possible Mallory also painted a flag for a Louisiana unit but that is not verified. See Flag Makers of the Confederacy at http://tinyurl.com/o89ckye for more about this.

In December 1861 he was in New Orleans showing his “Pantechnoptomon, or War Illustrations” at the Academy of Music. This was his “elaborate and ingenious panorama — representing scenes and incidents of the war in Virginia – presented for the first time.” Unfortunately, his “machinery” was not working on that first try. This would be the gears that would move the series of paintings in front of the audience. (Times Picayune, New Orleans LA, 10 Dec. 1861)

Moving_panorama

Image of a moving panorama, showing cranks, from Scientific American, Vol. 4, Issue 13 (December 16, 1848), page 100

By February 1862 he was back in Richmond managing the Metropolitan Hall and donating proceeds to some shows to charities, including the Ladies Aid Society and the YMCA Army Committee, for comfort of wounded soldiers. That spring he was exhibiting his panorama there, including the Battle of Manassas.  It was “an hour or two well spent.” (Daily Dispatch, Richmond VA, 25 April 1862)

In May 1862 he was willing to sell all or part of his War Illustrations (“a sure fortune for any business manager”) and mentioned in the advertisement that he needed to go to Europe. He said he would deliver the exhibit to the buyer, in Columbia South Carolina. (Daily Dispatch, Richmond VA 19 May 1862)

I do not believe the exhibit was sold and it is doubtful Mallory went to Europe, considering the political situation. In July 1862 he was in Macon, Georgia as the lessee and manager of Ralston Hall and donating an evening’s receipts to the benefit of the “Sick and Wounded Soldiers.” In October 1862 he was back in Richmond exhibiting his War Illustrations, now showing “the soldier’s life in camp, the March, bivouac, and battle.”

The following month he was showing his Pantechnoptomon in Savannah, Georgia at the Masonic Hall. Now his paintings were described as those from sketches done by R. W. Armistead of “the great Naval Victory at Hampton Roads,” and the show included “wonderful Mechanical Figures of the Wounded Steed & Rider.” (Savannah Republican 13 Nov. 1862 p2c3)

By spring he was back in Virginia. In the South Carolina Charleston Mercury (23 March 1863 p1 c4), a Richmond correspondent wrote that Lee Mallory was “running a Pantechnoptomon – whatever that may be – at Metropolitan Hall.”  About a week later it was noted he had reopened the Metropolitan with his “Scenic Views and Automatic Diorama – with thousands of moving figures,” and with similar topics of his paintings in his Pantechnoptomon, but he now included Jackson crossing the Potomac. (Richmond Southern Illustrated News 28 March 1863 p8 c2)

Pugh, J.A. backmark detail4 plant

 J.A. Pugh, Macon GA cabinet card back mark detail, c1880

Ever the entertainer, by May 1863 he was exhibiting there his “Grand Combination of Art” which was “Classic, Scriptural, Domestic Statuary – Seven Beautiful Tableaux” with two songs, four dances and a vocalist, as well as some scenes from his War Illustrations (Richmond VA Daily Dispatch 16 May 1863)

Things were changing rapidly in the city of Richmond. In April 1863 Mallory, as lessee of the Hall was distributing, via the Ladies Benevolent Society, 2400 loaves of bread per month to the needy families of soldiers in the field. (Washington D.C. Evening Star 10 April 1863 p2 c2). But, possibly because the citizens needed the diversion, Mallory continued exhibiting his Pantechnoptomon for the next several months, at times adding musicians or vocalists, or a magician, and he continued to hold benefits for Richmond’s needy families.

Mallory was credited with “a new style of imitating the sinking and swelling of the sea” (21 May 1862 Daily Dispatch), and in July 1863 he was exhibiting the War’s naval battles (Richmond Whig) utilizing this process.  Before the end of spring 1864, Mallory had left Richmond.

He had exhibited his patriotic paintings, stereoscopic war illustrations, and/or his moving panorama of Confederate heroes and events since late 1861, not only in the Richmond, Virginia – Washington D.C. – Baltimore, Maryland areas, but before 1866 also in Augusta, Columbus, Macon, Milledgeville, and Savannah, Georgia.

In March 1864 he announced he would shortly be in Augusta, Georgia, with his “5th Series, Comprising the Confederate Generals, Illustrious Statesmen, and Prominent men and Women of the South.” This advertisement is the first I have found that mentions his use of photographs, in addition to his paintings. He was now exhibiting his pictures using his “Mammoth Stereoscopticon, or Great Mirror of Life!” (Augusta GA Daily Constitutionalist 26 March 1864 p2 c4, c6; 27 March 1864 p2 c6; 29 March p2 c7)

The following month, “the distinguished artist” Lee Mallory was in Macon, Georgia showing his War Illustrations, “in connection with the theatrical entertainment at Ralston Hall” (where he had been in July 1862). Again, Europe is mentioned in reference to Mallory. Apparently he thought he would be able to make enough money to publish his War Illustrations there (Macon Telegraph 2 April 1864 p2) as other panorama artists had done.

In December 1864, Lee Mallory was in Columbus, Georgia with his Exhibition. He was to be there several days, and the newspaper editor wrote that it “should be viewed by all who take an interest in the passing events of the times.” (Daily Columbus Enquirer, 22 Dec. 1864 p2)

Mallory MaconDailyTel6Dec1865p2

Macon Telegraph 6-10 Dec. 1865 p.2

In November 1865 “that accomplished artist, Lee Mallory” was in Georgia’s capital, Milledgeville, and he had opened a gallery. In his collection [of paintings] were “a number of prominent members of the convention.” (Macon Telegraph, 2 November 1865 p 3) In December he was back in Macon with an offer to sell photographs of “any General or prominent officer formerly in the Confederate or Federal Armies.” (see article reproduced above) I am curious to know which photographers’ negatives Mallory had collected to use. He had advertised for two years in Richmond for sketches, etc. to use in his War Illustrations, and apparently he was able to gather enough for his paintings.

I assume Mallory stayed in Macon for the next several months, although I find no documentation for that being true. Before the end of July 1866 he became a partner to Macon photographers John M. Lunquest and his son Magnus. The Photograph Gallery of Mssrs. Lunquest and Mallory opened on July 30th in the Arcade Building on Cotton Avenue.  By August 8th they were advertising Porcelain Pictures, Cartes de Visite, and life-size Portraits in oil, water or pastel – the latter to be executed by the artist Mallory.

Lunquest & Mallory Aug1866

Macon Telegraph 8 & 17 Aug. 1866 p.3

J. M. Lunquest (b. ca. 1812) began working as a photographer in Georgia as early as 1847 and his son Magnus (b. ca. 1844) began working with him about a year before they partnered with Mallory. The Lunquest & Mallory advertisements were signed by J. M. Lunquest, not Magnus.  See my prior post on Jeweler-Photographers at http://wp.me/p3wX4F-97  for more about John M. Lunquest and his son.

The newspapers were very flattering in their descriptions of the firm of Lunquest and Mallory. Two articles published in August 1866 recall visits to their “Temple of Art on the Avenue.”  One was entitled “An Hour Well Spent.”  It mentions young Mr. Lunquest, so Magnus was the photographer in charge “having studied for years under his father.” Regarding Lee Mallory, “the artist who was known from the Rio Grande to the Potomac” who was “not only the getter-up of the War Panorama, but who – endeared himself to the wounded and suffering soldier,” and that “art had been a life-long study with him — previous to the war he was one of the most sought after – portrait painters in the country.” The editor goes on to discuss Mallory’s “artistic touches” to their photographs and ivorytypes in the various galleries in Macon. This leads me to believe Mallory worked with other Macon photographers before joining the Lunquests.

The second editorial “A Double-Barreled Six-Shooter” describes a visit to what was now called Lunquest & Mallory’s Gem Gallery. After sitting in front of “the (camera) instrument” he received from Mr. Mallory “one dozen perfect gem likenesses of our self, each on a separate card.”   He was amazed and called the Gem Photograph “the neatest thing of the season.” These images were cartes de visite photographs, not tintypes, although both were called “Gems” when the resulting small photographs were made using a multi-lens camera.

LunquestMallorySept.1866adv

Tri-Weekly Sumter Republican, 15 Sept. – 17 Nov., 1866 p.1

By September 1866 Mallory was listed in advertisements as Miniature Artist. In September and October Lunquest and Mallory ran an advertisement for their Gem Photographic Gallery in newspapers outside of Macon, including Albany and Americus, Georgia. Also in September, in addition to the regular Gems on cards, they advertised Vignette Gems on cards, and Porcelain Pictures on cups, vases, breastpins or any Chinaware – priced according to style of painting.

LunquestMalloryGemGallerySept1866adv

Albany Patriot 15 Sept. – Dec. 22, 1866 p2

During September the firm had advertised for a “first-class [camera] operator,” or photographer. In early October 1866 the firm announced the addition of Daniel Potter, a photographer who was recently in Columbus, Georgia. They now became “Lunquest, Mallory & Potter at the Gem Gallery.”  (Mr. Potter was murdered in 1869, over two years after he left Macon)

In late September an editorial appeared in the Telegraph mentioning that Mallory had his Panorama and “some beautiful dissolving views” there in Macon – would he be willing to exhibit it for the sole benefit of the poor? By mid-October an agreement had been reached between a new organization of women, the Soldiers’ Orphan Education Society, and Mallory, to use his exhibit for a benefit. Mallory would begin the exhibit for six evenings, as soon as all tickets were sold. The photo gallery was going to sell the tickets. (Sept. 29, Oct. 14, and Oct. 18, 1866 Macon Telegraph)

On October 30, 1866 a Funeral Notice was placed in the Telegraph requesting “Friends and acquaintances of Mr. Lee Mallory, and of Mssrs. Lunquest and Potter” to attend Mallory’s funeral at the home of Mr. Lunquest.

Gothic curtain & rod

Design for Gothic Curtain & Rod, C. Hindley & Sons, drawing, graphite with gouache, 1841-1888; Metropolitan Museum of Art accession no. 46.38.35

I have found nothing to indicate how or why Lee Mallory died. The news of his death was carried by other Georgia newspapers; as well those in other states. None of these reports give any more detail, only stating that he had died. Perhaps it was a heart attack, but why not mention his “sudden death”? One follow-up in the Telegraph was a question – what would happen to the Benefit for the poor? There would be no Exhibition, but “a fair might be gotten up” instead. That was it, the final curtain to an active career. Advertisements containing Mallory’s name continued to appear (already paid for) for two months after his death.

I believe there are probably materials in archives in Virginia and elsewhere, that would lead to more data on Lee Mallory and his interesting career. What happened to Mallory’s panorama and other paintings? I hope someone out there will want to take my challenge to research this man in much more depth. There are several panorama paintings still in existence, in various conditions. The panorama was an extremely popular form of visual entertainment, and Mallory had many competitors in the 1850s and 1860s. It would be fun to place him within that context.

For more information on Panorama Paintings see the two Wikipedia articles http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Panoramic_painting and http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Moving_panorama

For the Panorama in the Civil War see the 2012 Ivan David Ross dissertation for the University of Chicago Mediating the Historical Imagination: Visual Media and the Civil War, 1861-2011 at http://www.ivanross.com/images/diss.pdf

Several publications, including the Ross dissertation, have very brief mentions of Lee Mallory’s “War Illustrations” and his “Pantechnoptemon.” Among them is The Children’s Civil War by James Alan Marten (UNC Press, 2000), Negotiating Boundaries of Southern Womanhood: Dealing with the Powers That Be, by Janet L. Coryell (University of MO, 2000), and, a favorite book of mine, The Confederate Image by Mark E. Neely, Jr., Harold Holzer and Gabor S. Boritt (UNC Press, 1987).

The newspaper citations I give above came from the Library of Congress Chronicling America, the Digital Library of Georgia, Genealogy Bank, or from “Newspaper Research 1860-1865” http://tinyurl.com/kdsayxg maintained by Vicki Betts, a librarian at the University of Texas at Tyler who has a wonderful website full of great information http://www.uttyler.edu/vbetts/

© E. Lee Eltzroth and Hunting & Gathering, 2013. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without  written permission from this blog’s author is prohibited. The piece can be re-blogged, and excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to E. Lee Eltzroth and Hunting & Gathering, with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

3 comments

  1. David Upton · · Reply

    You may be interested in the following Charleston Mercury newspaper of Oct. 16, 1862, page 2, left hand column, near the bottom. “Lee Mallory’s War Illustrations.- The popular exhibition at Hibernian Hall continues to be thronged nightly. This evening a new and beautiful scene will be introduced- the Dying Soldier and his Comrade- a fine piece of mechanism.”

    1. Thank you. I know he was all over the place with his “show” so it is always nice to have additional documentation.

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