this longevity member co-authored a must-read for those who appreciate charleston's beauty and history
As we look out at the vistas of Charleston from our studio every day, we can't help but feel grateful to be anchored in a place with so many layers of beauty and history. Alice, a recently released book co-authored by Longevity member Caroline Palmer, captures all of those layers and more. Caroline is the great-great-niece of Charleston Renaissance Artist Alice Ravenel Huger Smith; she shares her ancestor's legacy and story, her own path to publication, and her experience at Longevity in our Q&A.
Alice is the story of a pioneering artist whose beautiful watercolors captured the mystical spirit of the Lowcountry’s coast, marshes, and woodlands. A leader of the Charleston Renaissance of the 1920s-1930s, she helped spark Charleston’s historic preservation movement and propel the city into an important destination for tourism. Alice is a personal account of the artist’s life and work that draws on unpublished papers, letters, and interviews, told from the perspective of Dwight McInvaill, a close family friend, and her family—Anne Tinker (Alice’s great-niece) and Caroline Palmer (Alice’s great-great-niece). The beautifully illustrated hardcover volume includes over 200 paintings, prints, sketches, and photographs, many shared for the first time.
Is there one piece of art that speaks to you most?
I love Alice's watercolor painting "House Tops: View from 69 Church Street" because it usually hangs on a wall in my house! (It's on loan right now to Middleton Place Foundation; you can see it in the exhibition at the Edmondston-Alston House through January 10, 2022.) Alice lived her entire life at 69 Church Street, and I live just a few houses down now with my family! One of the reasons I love this work is because it's personal; Alice painted it from the top floor of her home. It shows her view across the neighboring rooftops to First Scots. It also reflects her respect for Charleston's unique historic architecture. In the 1920s and 30s, Alice played a major role in the forming of the city’s cultural identity and the effort to save historic buildings from destruction. In her 60-year career, she captured the rare character and natural beauty of the Lowcountry like no other artist.
Tell us about your experience & fitness journey at Longevity
Ever since moving to Charleston a few years ago, Longevity has been an important community for me. I love all of the amazing staff, the welcoming and supportive community, and the beautiful facilities. I've met terrific friends there and always feel supported in my wellness goals. During the pandemic I've been grateful to stay connected (and somewhat in shape!) via virtual workouts. Plus, I love that Jennie is an Ashley Hall grad and woman entrepreneur. My two daughters, Claire and Alice, both attend Ashley Hall - I enjoy peeking into their campus from the Pilates studio!
You can learn more about Caroline's book and upcoming events at www.aliceravenelhugersmith.com. Caroline and co-authors will be hosting a virtual book talk through the Charleston Library Society on Tuesday, March 16 from 6:00-7:00pm. You can RSVP for this free event here.
Alice is available for purchase at local bookstores and gift shops including: Middleton Place and the Edmondston-Alston House, Buxton Books, Gibbes Museum of Art, Historic Charleston Foundation, Preservation Society of Charleston, and The Village Bookseller. All proceeds support Middleton Place Foundation.