The Makers of the Sacred Harp

by Bethanne Hill

[ cover art, 2010 ]

The original painting by Bethanne Hill was commissioned in 2010 by the University of Illinois Press for the cover of The Makers of the Sacred Harp by David Warren Steel, with Richard H. Hulan. The painting is an imaginative representation of the 1880 Chattahoochee Musical Convention at Mt. Zion, Georgia. The scene represents the appearance of 26-year-old schoolteacher Sidney Burdette Denson as the first female songleader at this convention since its founding in 1852, an event that attracted the attention of singers and visitors inside and outside the church. Another important element is the provision of water for the large crowd, especially with the memory of the 1866 session, which exhausted the local supply of drinking water. Notice the spring (with courting couple), the transport of buckets, and the filling of a tub of water for dinner on the grounds. In the background, a man tries to locate additional water with a dowsing rod.

See also Bethanne Hill's 2003 painting Sacred Harp Singing and Dinner on the Grounds.

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