The Ashe County Frescoes of Benjamin F. Long IV


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About the Book

This book documents the history of four ecclesiastical frescoes completed by artist Benjamin F. Long IV in Ashe County, North Carolina, in the 1970s and 1980s. The story of the Ashe County frescoes celebrates their setting in the Blue Ridge Mountains and testifies to Long’s intensity, precision and stamina. Commissioned by the Ashe County Frescoes Foundation, the authors contextualize the artistic and the spiritual aspects of the frescoes by connecting the figures in the scenes with their sources in the Bible. Drawn from extensive interviews with the artist, this book explores the frescoes’ uniqueness. Interviews with people used as models, assistants, volunteers and observers focus on the frescoes’ impact on the community, and the role of the Ashe County Frescoes Foundation in the protection and preservation of these artworks.

About the Author(s)

Janet C. Pittard began her writing career after retiring from the North Carolina Governor’s Office with thirty years of service. She is the author of two books and more than 100 articles for Our State Magazine. She lives in Raleigh and West Jefferson, North Carolina.

David B. Chiswell retired from the North Carolina Department of Natural and Cultural Resources, where he worked for thirty years in archival reference. He lives in West Jefferson, North Carolina.

Bibliographic Details

Janet C. Pittard and David B. Chiswell

Format: softcover (7 x 10)
Pages: 106
Bibliographic Info: 50 photos (33 in color), notes, bibliography, index
Copyright Date: 2021
pISBN: 978-1-4766-8774-2
eISBN: 978-1-4766-4516-2
Imprint: McFarland

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments vi
“I Am the Parish of the Holy Communion” by Janet Chiswell Pittard viii
Preface 1
Introduction 3
1. Benjamin F. Long IV and the Art of Fresco 15
2. The Frescoes of St. Mary’s Episcopal Church 32
3. The Frescoes of Holy Trinity Episcopal Church 48
4. Other Frescoes in North Carolina by Ben Long 82
5. Protecting the Future of the Ashe County Frescoes 85
Chapter Notes 89
Bibliography 93
Index 95

Book Reviews & Awards

• “Richly detailed, full-color work taking readers beyond what the eye can behold.”—Mountain Times

• “The most up to date and complete history of the frescoes that decorate the walls of the two Episcopal churches in Ashe County…an excellent resource for understanding and appreciating the various methods involved in fresco painting.”—Carolina Mountain Life

• “a book that can be equally helpful as a tourist guidebook or an introduction to Long and the special art of fresco painting…The illustrations and photographs alone make it worth purchasing the book, but the book’s importance exceeds that of the visual impact. This work is a valuable resource for art lovers, art historians, readers interested in North Carolina history, and preservationists working with local history. …an interesting and entertaining story accessible to the general reader.”—The North Carolina Historical Review