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Home:  >News & Events   >News Archives   >2002
Unique Faulkner portrait donated to University of Mississippi library

February 27 , 2002

By Tobie Baker
University of Mississippi News Services

OXFORD, Miss. — A one-of-a-kind portrait of Nobel Prize-winning author William Faulkner has been donated to The University of Mississippi.

One of six known paintings created from the same photograph of Faulkner in his red riding gear, the artwork is the smallest of all and the only one signed by both the photographer, Col. J.R. Cofield, and the artist, Laucene Clements.

The 13.5-by-11-inch portrait, circa 1969, was given to the University of Mississippi’s J.D. Williams Library by Oxford resident Ann Rayburn. It hangs in the library’s Special Collections.

University archivist Dr. Thomas Verich assessed the portrait as “the most important image we have added to the collection in more than 20 years.”

With the donation, the University now owns three of the six original Faulkner portraits. One hangs in the University of Mississippi Chancellor’s Office and another at Rowan Oak, Faulkner’s historic home, which was purchased by the university in 1972. Another, damaged in a fire at the Cofield Studio, hangs at Square Books in Oxford. Yet another was done for the West Point Military Academy, and the remaining copy is in a private collection.

Established in Oxford in 1928, the Cofield Studio was used first by Faulkner in 1931 when he needed a portrait to help promote his new book Sanctuary. He sat for his last portrait there in March 1962.

Rayburn has made other donations to the library, including movie posters, post cards, Victorian valentines and sheet music. “Mrs. Rayburn has been very generous to Special Collections,” said librarian Jennifer Ford.

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