Everything Travis

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Re: Everything Travis

Postby Seguin on Mon Mar 23, 2009 5:12 am

quincey morris wrote:...and the fight for Texas independence.


Thanks a lot, QM!
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Re: Everything Travis

Postby mark33 on Tue Apr 28, 2009 8:08 pm

Image
Since Oct of 2008, I've been trying to draw and paint a good likeness of William B. Travis. I started off by using the Wiley Martin sketch, which I now refer to as the "Templeton" sketch - (see updated page 13). I suppose what I should of done all along is work from the photo shown above of his (son), Charles Edward Travis. I recommend that other Alamo artists work from Charles's photo as well. These new Travis drawings are my second attempt to copy Charles's features the best I can. Both sketches are the same but the mustache has been removed on the bottom sketch; other changes include adding longer sideburns and making his hair shorter with a different hair style. In Charles's (photo), his hair is slicked down; in my drawing of William, his hair has the dry look. I'm now working on a colored painting of William B. Travis that should be done this summer.

Image
William Barret Travis........by Mark Barnett - April 2009.
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Re: Everything Travis

Postby marklemon on Tue Apr 28, 2009 8:31 pm

Very nice work,Mark. If son looked anything like father, this may be as close a likeness as we have at this time.
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Re: Everything Travis

Postby Seguin on Wed Apr 29, 2009 3:38 am

Great drawings, Mark! The son probably looked more or less like his father. He certainly does´nt look like a spitting image of his mother, so using the son´s photo as a "model sheet" is probably the only way to go since that´s all we got right now.

I´m looking forward to see the painting when it´s finished!
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Re: Everything Travis

Postby zapadore on Wed Apr 29, 2009 2:19 pm

...very nice work!!!!...Another valuable visual tool with which to better the whole story of the Alamo and its defenders! Well done!
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Re: Everything Travis

Postby AlamoAl on Thu Apr 30, 2009 1:36 am

Really nice Mark! :D
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Re: Everything Travis

Postby mark33 on Fri May 01, 2009 4:58 pm

Image
THANKS !!!
The drawing to the (left) is still the same face as the other drawings above, only with shorter, slicked-down hair and no sideburns. The painting to the (right) is where I'm trying to reproduce the same facial features. Since the son did not look much like his mother or sister, I assumed that he might have looked somewhat like his father.

There are many variations that could be correct. There's always the argument that he could of looked like one of his grand parents or an uncle, etc.... But since we do not have any images of these other family members, we are left with only the photo of Charles. I believe that there is a better than 50/50 chance of a good likeness with Charles's photo.

The fact is, we might never know for sure...only a new software program in the future might be the answer. For now, this is as close as I can get. I'm going to keep working on this painting until I'm satisfied. I'll post a final image before summer is over. Thanks for the positive feedback; this helps to motivate me. I hope that these new images of Travis will make a difference and show the Alamo community a more accurate possibility to what the man could of looked like.
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Re: Everything Travis

Postby Davy on Fri May 01, 2009 5:22 pm

Good stuff Mark! :o :lol: Ya don get lard ... lessin ya bile tha hog!

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Re: Everything Travis

Postby Seguin on Sat May 02, 2009 3:36 am

Well done, Mark! There´s certainly a very good possibility Travis looked something like that...
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Re: Everything Travis

Postby mark33 on Sat May 02, 2009 2:55 pm

Thanks!!! In different descriptions that I've read, it says that W.B.T. had reddish-brown hair; another description said reddish-blond hair. Mexican soldiers claimed his hair was light in color. Other descriptions said he had gray eyes, and another said blue-gray eyes.

Many people have grown accustomed to the look that they've seen in the Wiley Martin sketch, with short hair and long sideburns, so I've somewhat incorporated that look into some of my work, just to make those people happy; we already know how I feel about that. Also, in other descriptions, his nickname is referred to as "BUCK", perhaps meaning that he had buckteeth.

In my colored painting, I've drawn his mouth in such a way so that it appears that he has an overbite. We can also see an overbite in Charles's photo and perhaps with his mother's portrait as well. (Below) is a description that I got from "Ned" off of page 4. It says that W.B.T. used (ointment on his hair). This would be similar to the (slicked down) look that we also see in Charles's photo; I added this look into my painting....We see this in other Travis paintings too.

I've tried to cover all of the bases and I've spent 9 months on research and sketches. I have over 2 dozen practice sketches and 3 paintings of Travis; most have been deleted from websites because they were not sufficiently accurate. These final images are the ones that I feel are as close as I can get. I hope that you like them and can understand how much work went into it.

................................................................................................................................................
Travis description from page 4 :

Says Martha Ann Turner in WILLIAM BARRET TRAVIS, His Sword and His Pen, pg. 50 para. 4 ...In dress, he was fastidious, in appearance, impressive (he was tall and good looking),in grooming, meticulous (he used ointment on his hair and such perfumes as bergamot and lavender, wore pump and stockings to the balls instead of the usual boots)...
................................................................................................................................................


PS.....I'm also open to any suggestions for changes in my painting or what the background should be. You are welcome to send me a PM. Thank you very much.
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Re: Everything Travis

Postby Seguin on Sun May 03, 2009 1:01 am

Many people have grown accustomed to the look that they've seen in the Wiley Martin sketch, with short hair and long sideburns, so I've somewhat incorporated that look into some of my work, just to make those people happy; we already know how I feel about that.


Mark, you should´nt incorporate the sideburns just to make some people happy, as you put it. If the sideburns are´nt mentioned anywhere, chances are that he did´nt have any (unless they were so ordinary at the time, that no one bothered mentioning them). As for the Martin drawing, we´ve already established that it might not be what it´s supposed to be (for one, the clothes don´t fit the period, indicating that it was created at a much later date).
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Re: Everything Travis

Postby bgroneman on Sun May 03, 2009 3:53 pm

I just want to say a word about Travis's nickname "Buck." Rich Curilla pointed out a while ago that he couldn't find any contermporary references to this. I don't remember any. Has anyone else found one?

The idea that Travis was called "Buck" because he had buck teeth seems to be a bit of a stretch. Orthodontics probably was not too big in the early 19th Century. I mean that for a person to be noted for buck teeth probably meant that his teeth had to be running a couple of feet in front of his face. And, if Travis did have buck teeth, do we think that he would have been comfortable with that nick name.

An alternate explanation is that the nick name started in 20 century books, like Myers, etc. I believe the Travis "diary" describes a variety of colorful and fashionable clothing owned by Travis. From that he has sometime been described as a fop or dandy.

Here is one of the Merriam-Webster definition fo "buck:"
a: a male human being: man b: a dashing fellow: dandy

Just a thought
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Re: Everything Travis

Postby mark33 on Sun May 03, 2009 4:19 pm

To: Hans,

One of the biggest problems I have is the fact that I'm a newcomer, with only 9 months worth of experience in this subject matter. I've turned to other people with up to 40 years of experience in Alamo studies for their advice. Most of the time, what I find are people that have read every book there is on the subject, ...that's mostly what they do..."read".

The problem with Alamo studies is that "some" authors in the past have stretched the truth in telling the story or giving an accurate description of someone like Travis. Here's an example. Some people have called W.B.T. tall and thin, others called him "raw boned" and yet another call him "somewhat robust".

I don't know about you, but raw boned and somewhat robust are two different descriptions that don't match up. I'm sure that once the photo of Charles came out in the 1850's, people could see for the first time what Travis's son looked like. In his photo, he looks very skinny, in fact "raw boned".

Then we start to read about descriptions of W.B.T. also being raw boned. After 1907 and the release of the Martin sketch, the description of W.B.T. changes to "somewhat robust"....why is that? It's because in the pencil sketch you have a drawing of a man with a big barrel chest and super wide shoulders.

Most people don't catch on to this or think much about it, but the fact is, that's why we have two different descriptions of W.B.T's physical build. Also, in most popular older images you don't see W.B.T. wearing long sideburns. I believe that it only became popular after 1907 and the sketch.

In most of the portraits I've seen, he has short sideburns or hardly any at all. It seems that only the pencil sketch throws us off and makes us believe that he had long sideburns. I think that what I might do is shorten W.B.T's sideburns in my painting but keep all of the other images as they are right now.

This will give us at least 4 different versions of head shots (two with long sideburns, one with none, and one with shorter sideburns). This way, I can cover more possibilities, but I agree with you....If we have accurate info on hair color and eye color, then someone should of said something about him having long sideburns, if he had long sideburns.
................................................................................................................................................
To Bill,

I know that in the (2004 Alamo movie) they also call him "BUCK" and it is clear to me by looking at Charles's photo that he has an overbite. As far as what the name "BUCK" stands for, you could be correct.
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Re: Everything Travis

Postby marklemon on Sun May 03, 2009 7:21 pm

I wouldn't read too much into there being no description of Travis with long "sideburns," (called "side whiskers" in those days), as long sideburns were so common, and very fashionable in that era, that no one would have thought them noteworthy. It'd be like someone saying: "he parts his hair on the side.."
Of course, this does not mean he had them, but it certainly is not significant in proving that he did not....
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Re: Everything Travis

Postby RLC-GTT on Mon May 04, 2009 3:27 am

Thinking back on the first time I saw the Wiley Martin Travis in A Time To Stand, I recall my simply writing off the broad shoulders as *amateur artist.* I also remember feeling that the face was much more *real* than the McArdle portrait. And, Bill, that's when it first occurred to me that Travis might have had buck teeth, hence the name. His upper lip line looks like that of a person with teeth "running a couple of feet in front of his face." (Love that!) And I've still seen no evidence from any primary source that he was called Buck. I too think it started with John Myers Myers, who mostly wrote Westerns.

While we are on the subject of nicknames -- and I know this is off topic a bit -- but I have also made a long-time assumption about why Bowie refers to Jameson as "Benito" in his note of February 23, 1836. Recall that it was politically apropos in 1836 to refer to Anglos in Spanish documents by their Spanish name. Stephen Austin signed Spanish letters as Esteban Austin. I believe that Bowie was just being diplomatic by using his proper Spanish name -- which thereby suggests that Green B. Jameson was really Green Benjamin Jameson. ;)
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Re: Everything Travis

Postby RLC-GTT on Mon May 04, 2009 3:30 am

bgroneman wrote:Here is one of the Merriam-Webster definition fo "buck:"
a: a male human being: man b: a dashing fellow: dandy

Just a thought


...and THIS is fascinating! Maybe so.
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Re: Everything Travis

Postby bgroneman on Tue May 05, 2009 2:40 am

Thanks, Rich.
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Re: Everything Travis

Postby mark33 on Wed May 06, 2009 6:43 pm

Image
Here's a sneak peek at the uniform. I worked with three other people to come up with this uniform design. It's based on descriptions of Travis's uniform below, plus other info, images, and photos, that were found through research. Some of this info below came off of page 4 and was posted there by Ned. ..........................................................................................................................................................................................................

In response to Travis' proposal for the mobilization of Texas cavalry (San Felipe, Decry. 3rd 1835-- To His Excellency the Governor & General Council of Texas) Wyatt Hank, chairman of the military committee, expressed approval in a report that embodied Travis' recommendations. Austin and Houston agreed with Travis that a cavalry was essential. For Travis, with his predilection for fancy regalia, the uniform no doubt had great appeal. The uniform was described as a "suit of cadet gray cloth coats [with] yellow bullet buttons, and pantaloons for winter, two suits of gray cottonade roundabouts and pantaloons for summer, and fur caps, black cloth stocks and cowhide boots." *

* Source: William Barret Travis: His Sword & His Pen 1972, Martha Ann Turner, pgs. 152-154

As a Lt. Colonel in the Texas cavalry, Travis' uniform may have had a bit more gold braid than the regular trooper, but that's about it.

Travis had also proposed "That the arms of the cavalry should be broad sword, pistols and double-barreled shotguns, or angers [yagers]."

......................................................................................................................................................................................................

While researching for his painting, DAWN AT THE ALAMO, artist Henry McArdle,
consulted Captain Reuben M. Potter USA as to how the defenders should
be dressed. Here is what Potter had to say about Travis' attire.

Reuben M. Potter to McArdle, August 13, 1874

"...Travis, if dressed as Lt. Col. of his
nominal cavalry corps, would have worn a short
grey swallow tail, pantaloons, & forage cap, with
facings, stripes, & band of black. I doubt if he had
obtained such a uniform; but if you think proper
to idealize his costume, that would be the most appropriate
to give him..."

.....................................................................................

Artist Henry McArdle does not take Potter's advise, and instead, paints Travis in a dark blue jacket.

Three years after Travis's death, under the 1839 regulations cavalry were assigned dark blue uniforms for dress and cadet grey for ordinary wear.

..............................................................................................................................................................................................................

San Felipe, January 21, 1836

Dear Hill:

I have this day sent you orders about contracting with
McKinney for our uniforms and equipment. I wish you
would attend to it immediately. I spoke to him about my
uniform, which I have written to him to purchase. I am
ordered off to the defense of San Antonio, which is
threatened with an attack from the enemy. I shall leave
in two days. Do all you can to make recruits and get the
cavalry on foot.

I remain,

Yours in haste,
Travis

..................................................................................

mark33 writes:

I worked with three people on the design of the uniform. Below is some of the conversations that we had. Our final conclusion was that his uniform was Cadet gray, which is a grayish color with a slight blue tint to it. Don't be fooled by the appearance of too much blue in my painting, my digital camera does not pick up the gray color correctly; instead, it shows the blue very strongly. It was a problem which we had from the beginning in trying to proof the color by e-mail. Blue is stronger than gray and it's difficult to pick up the correct color in the photo. It is, in fact, more gray with a trace of blue when you see it in person.

.........................................................................

Based on Potter's and my research – my best guess is that the Gray uniform was a coatee or tail coat – possibly with the shortened tails as seen on US Dragoon uniforms. If it was Cadet gray, it would probably look very similar to the West Point coatee – which became enormously popular among militias after its adoption in 1817 (and especially after 1840) – and which is a variation of an 1812 era rifleman’s uniform.

Cadet gray gives you precisely the color, which is the old militia/rifle gray of the war of 1812 and now used by West Point. This would be logical; even if Travis was having a new uniform made, he would be basing it on what was available, not re-inventing the wheel. He would, to an extent, be limited to what was available. That said, the wings that were made at the time would be on dark wool cloth, and even though they should match the coat in color, it is doubtful that the tailor would be able to get this special item made up at short notice.

Another option is that Travis is wearing the uniform of the Alabama Militia or a surplus US Army uniform.

Here's another possibility:

Travis received the uniform and that is what you should interpret. After all, we don't KNOW if he received it or not. Since WBT wrote the uniform description himself, I vote for this option. By coat, I assume he meant a frock ( the newest de rigour in American military fashion) and not a tailed jacket, though I could be wrong--if he was discussing a dress coat it would have had tails but I suspect, WBT (the aspiring Planter) would have called it a coatee rather than coat. Grey or gray was a common color for American military wear through the Civil War. The most recent US regs of 1833 had just changed the fatigue uniform to blue like the dress--prior to that is was grey. 1812 saw an enormous amount of gray as well for both regulars and militia.

.....................................................................................................................

As for the extra gold braid in the description, the stars on the collar and gold throughout the wing epaulettes cover those areas. I believe that the lone star on the collar was for the Republic of Texas, but we did not research it; in later years, it would stand for an officer's rank. The epaulettes on the shoulders go by different descriptions; some people call them (chained) epaulettes, because they have small, round, metal chains, that are looped together in a "T" like formation, [used to deflect saber cuts]. They could be gold or silver, depending on rank.

They've also been called "wings" or wing epaulettes, because they look like bird wings. They are not boxed epaulettes - that is the conventional epaulettes with the stiffener behind the first line of bullion fringe instead of additional fringe - Travis is wearing "wings", to call them epaulettes is to mislead. Wings could be "boxed" as well). The wings are boxed with stiffeners that could have been card stock or buckram. In many cases, the bullion was stitched together in a slight curved, wing-like shape, which made them firm and they would stick out straight, off the shoulder; (as seen in the painting).

Without the stiffeners, the bullion would hang down naturally on the shoulders and most of the time that is how they were worn, (naturally hanging down). These types of wing epaulettes were available throughout the 1820's, 1830's and 1840's. They are rarely seen in Alamo artwork. There is a photo (below) of Capt Samuel Walker wearing them during the Mexican war of the 1840's. Those are the same basic style of wing epaulettes as seen in my painting. We don't think that there were any changes in the style of the wings between the years of 1836 and 1848.

The wool background on the wing epaulettes is the same color as the Cadet gray coatee. The coatee has gold (bullet buttons) throughout, as in the description; bullet buttons on the shoulders are smaller than on the breast. The horizontal lines going across the chest are referred to as (frogging), with cloverleaf trefoils on the end. The tailored cut of this coatee would have been a tight looking fit, tight around the body and the arms. The collar is a 3-1/2" or 4" collar with a "V" neck design in the middle and is correct for that time period. A single breasted coatee with exactly 9 breast buttons would be correct for that time period; you can only see 6 buttons in my painting, as the bottom of the portrait ends there.

Special "THANKS" to Alan, Kirk, and Tim.

Image
Samuel Walker wearing wings.
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Re: Everything Travis

Postby Davy on Wed May 06, 2009 9:51 pm

Cool image Mark! :o :D

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Re: Everything Travis

Postby Seguin on Wed May 06, 2009 11:47 pm

That´s a great painting of Travis, Mark! What stands out to me, are the eyes. They really makes the painting come to life, I think. With all the meticulous research you´ve done regarding his looks and uniform, this is as close to Travis as we´ll probably ever get. Well done, Mark!
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