John Motley Morehead
The portrait of Gov. Morehead at Blandwood is a copy painted by Browne in 1882. We have found four other copies of this portrait done by Browne and two by later artists. It is unclear where the original portrait is or if it still exists. Blandwood’s copy of the portrait once belonged to Mary Hodges, daughter of Emma Gray. We believe that Browne painted this particular portrait for Julius Gray after he had already painted Emma and Julius (see newspaper clipping below).
Compared to Browne’s paintings of Morehead’s contemporaries, such as Willie P. Mangum the governor’s portrait is simpler. Gov. Morehead holds the Proceeding of the Annual Meeting of the North Carolina Railroad, rather than holding an unidentifiable book or a pair of glasses. Posing Morehead in this way reflects the gravitas of the Governor and his contributions to the state, especially establishing the North Carolina railroad system.
Charlotte Observer 6-24-1882 Back of J.M. Morehead’s Portrait