Gwyn Turner, resident Demopolis historian, long-time preservationist and National Trust for Historic Perservation Advisor Emerita, was recently honored for her long record of service. A reproduction of the scenic wallpaper depicting the foundation of the Vine and Olive colony near present-day Demopolis was installed in her honor at the Alabama Department of Archives and History. The installation, funded by a group of her friends, recognizes Mrs. Turner's lifework supporting history in Marengo County and across Alabama.
The wallpaper is a photographic reproduction of a panoramic painting done about 1820 in France and depicts the founding of Aigleville, a settlement of French exiles who were forced to flee France after Napoleon's defeat at Waterloo in 1815. The group of exiles is one of the best-known representations we have today of this remarkable story.
The original wallpaper remained in France until just before World War II, when it was shown in an exhibit in Philadelphia. It was purchased and donated to the state of Alabama by Mr. and Mrs. Thomas Martin. Mr. Martin was president of the Alabama Power Company, and he placed the paper on display in the Alabama Department of Archives and History, where it is housed today.
Recently, when the protective glass was removed for a conservation assessment, a photogorapher took careful shots of all the panels. The newly mounted prints that honor Mrs. Turner allow the scenes to be viewed up close and in a more unified flow. The panels were mounted in the hallway leading from the new Ocllo S. Malone Lobby to the E. E. Hale Room. They can be viewed Monday - Friday, 8:30 a.m. - 4:30 p.m. and the first Saturday of each month, 8:30 a.m. - 4:30 p.m.
Among those attending the unveiling of the newly installed wallpaper were Bradley and Anne Hale, Mrs. Ocllo S. Malone, president of the Alabama Archives and History Foundation; Robert Gamble of the Alabama Historical Commission; Bob Cason and Ed Bridges of the Department of Archives and History; architect Katie Williams; and guest of honor Gwyn Turner who was accompanied by her daughter, Penny Coleman.
For more information, please contact Bob Cason at 334-353-.4697
Alabama Department of Archives & History
624 Washington Avenue
Montgomery, Alabama 36130-0100
Phone: (334) 242-4435