In this video, we visit a classical goddess watching over waterfalls in Tennessee and make photographs of a beautiful red barn
Come with fine art photographer Keith Dotson to visit Tennessee’s beautiful Rutledge Falls, where we make photographs of the waterfalls and the beautiful surrounding rural landscape. We’ll also meet The Lady of the Falls, who once stood at the Tennessee State Capitol and watches over the falls.
For more information about the goddess, scroll down to learn her history.
The Lady of the Falls
I was surprised to find this crusty old statue of a Roman-style goddess on the wooded and rocky overlook above the waterfalls. Approaching from behind, she looks like a veiled Virgin Mary — until you circle around and see that she’s wearing a toga and is somewhat nude in the classical style.
The Lady of the Falls was originally part of a trio of life-size female sculptures that stood around a total of eight lampposts on the exterior of state capitol building in Nashville — this statue was one of eight originals. She was installed before the capitol was completed in 1859. The statues were called Morning, Noon, and Night, and the Lady of the Falls represented Night. The statues were created by Wood and Perot Ornamental Iron Works of Philadelphia, at a cost of $2,600. The contract called for the statues to be at least five feet tall. (JSTOR)
The sculptures may have been created by the same artist that Wood and Perot recommended for ornamental iron work in the state library interiors: “a German artist of great ability as well as great reputation in Prussia, who is desirous of exhibiting his skill in this country.” (JSTOR)
Historic photographs of The Lady of the Falls at the Tennessee State Capitol building
These rare photographs by George Barnard, taken in 1865, show the statue in her previous life as “Night,” part of the trio Morning, Noon, and Night. According to the original contract for the acquisition of the ornamental lampposts, there would have been a total of eight identical sets. I have no word on the the fate of the rest of her retired sisters, but at least The Lady of the Falls gets to spend her golden years in a pleasant location in the shade above the waterfalls.
My black and white photographs shot at Rutledge Falls
Fine art prints are available in a wide variety of sizes and prices.
Thanks for reading
Barnard, George N, photographer. “Nashville, Tennessee. View from Capitol.” Photograph. Retrieved from the Library of Congress.
Gadski, Mary Ellen. “The Tennessee State Capitol: An Architectural History.” Tennessee Historical Quarterly, vol. 47, no. 2, 1988, p. 89. JSTOR, www.jstor.org/stable/42626718. Accessed 4 July 2021.
George Eastman House. flickr account. “View from Capitol. Nashville, Tennessee.” George Barnard, 1865. Albumen print.
Moore, John Trotwood. “The Tennessee State Library in the Capitol.” Tennessee Historical Quarterly, vol. 12, no. 1, 1953, pp. 11. JSTOR, www.jstor.org/stable/42621128. Accessed 4 July 2021.