Artist Luce completes painting
for Oldham County Courthouse
Historical scene pays tribute
to founding of Harmony Landing
LA GRANGE, Ky. (July 2014) – Richard Luce has a passion for depicting specific time periods in history. This Oldham County resident has recently painted a scene of the founding of Harmony Landing after the conclusion of the Revolutionary War in 1783.
Through his realistic artwork that often places the onlooker right into the middle of the scene, Luce has the ability to transport viewers into another time period.
Richard Luce’s painting for the Oldham County Courthouse depicts the founding of Harmony Landing after the conclusion of the Revolutionary War in 1783.
He said he was approached last year by Oldham County Judge-Executive David Voegele about creating a painting of a historical nature to hang in the courthouse. The result was “The Founding of Harmony Landing,” a 36x64-inch oil on canvas.
Luce unveiled this painting June 7 during the Oldham County History Center’s Colonial Trade Faire and Arts on the Green Juried Fine Arts & Crafts Festival.
Luce said he met with Voegele and Nancy Theiss, Executive Director of the Oldham County History Center, to come up with the subject matter for his artwork. Once the initial idea was in place, he was able to conceptualize his work. The painting depicts the Harmony Landing area of Oldham County, founded after the Revolutionary War ended.
Capt. Francis Snowden, a resident of Baltimore, Md., and a descendant of a prominent English family, settled in Kentucky after the war. He had encouraged a group of adventurous men to travel with him down the Ohio River by flatboat from Pittsburg to Kentucky.
Seven families came to Harmony Landing prior to 1800 to establish lives and build homes in an area that was still inhabited by Native Americans. These settlers chose the name “Harmony Landing” for the fact that for the first time in many long weeks, they experienced a day of peace and harmony from danger on the day they landed.
Snowden chose 450 acres a half mile from present-day Harmony landing, where he settled with his wife and son, Richard. He also brought slaves with him to cultivate the farmland he intended to develop.
Photo by Helen McKinney
From left, artist Richard Luce poses with Nancy Thiess, executive director of the Oldham County Historical Society, and Oldham County Judge-Executive David Voegele during the unveiling of the new painting.
Eventually, he built a brick home that became known as the finest in the growing community. A Presbyterian Church was organized in the area around 1806 of which Snowden and his wife were active members. They also helped organize The Academy, a neighborhood school for children in the area. A post office was established in 1833.
Even before the town sprang up, there was a tremendous amount of travel back and forth by ferry between Harmony Landing and Charlestown Landing on the Indiana side of the river. McDonald’s Ferry is said to have operated as far back as 1790, a time when many people were pouring into Kentucky. McDonald’s Crossing was known as the safest route over the river to the Indiana Territory.
The Snowdens, who lived to be almost 90, were eventually laid to rest in the family cemetery on their property. Their home has since become the Harmony Landing Country Club.
Voegele said he had been to art shows (such as Arts on the Green) sponsored by the Arts Association of Oldham County, and saw “the high level of talent in the community.”
He knew “Richard’s work had a historical bent to it.”
Voegele said he thought it “would certainly be wonderful to have some original artwork for the Courthouse that would include the early history of Oldham County.” He asked Theiss for subject matter ideas, and she suggested “Harmony Landing as the subject matter, and Richard conceptualized it.”
The painting was commissioned for $15,000 and was underwritten by the Head Trust Fund. “I think it will be a permanent beautiful historical marker in the Fiscal Court building,” he said.
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