SC Artist Elizabeth O’Neill Verner

Charleston Artist Elizabeth O'Neill Verner
Elizabeth O’Neill Verner by Marie Danforth Page, 1937


There are many fascinating and inspirational women who have been a part of Rockbrook and it’s history.  None more so than the artist Elizabeth O’Neill Verner of Charleston, South Carolina.  Mrs. Verner was a long time neighbor of Rockbrook, her seasonal home Hanty Branch Hill is located next door.   Her daughter Elizabeth Verner Hamilton was the first camper at Rockbrook in 1921.  Mrs. Verner and Mrs. Carrier were good friends and Mrs. Verner was often recruited to come teach the campers the art of sketching and pastels. We can imagine her walking over from her home, ready to teach the enthusiastic campers.  She is mentioned in the journals and scrapbooks of several campers from the mid 1920’s.  It must have been a great occasion when Mrs. Verner was in attendance.

While at Rockbrook she also created an etching of the waterwheel that ran the power for the camp.   We will be sure to share that image with you in a later blog posting.

Rockbrook campers in the early 1920's take part in a drawing class
Rockbrook campers sketching with Elizabeth O’Neill Verner

As an artist, Mrs. Verner is recognized as the “matriarch of the Charleston Renaissance” and is considered the “best known twentieth century woman artist of Charleston. “She is famous for her etchings and pastels of life in Charleston. Her studio The Elizabeth O’Neill Verner Gallery is still in operation in Charleston and is the oldest fine arts gallery in the city. She is such a well respected and important artist that the state of SC has named their highest honor in the arts after her. The Elizabeth O’Neill Verner Awards  recognize outstanding achievement and contributions to the arts in South Carolina. According to their website: “These awards honor South Carolina arts organizations, patrons, artists, members of the business community, and government entities who maximize their roles as innovators, supporters and advocates of the arts. In 1980, the Verner Awards took on a special significance with their designation as the official “Governor’s Awards for the Arts.”

Mrs. Verner’s great great grandchildren are current campers at Rockbrook.  What a treasure that they can share in their families wonderful legacy at RBC!

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  1. Phyllis Shaw
    10 years ago

    If I remember correctly, the Verner studio in Charleston is on Tradd Street, not far from where Jerkey lived at 41 Tradd Street.

  2. Carolyn Sanders Waller
    9 years ago

    The art sessions with Mrs. Verner were my favorite activity. She awarded me the art prize for the summer of 1949 and presented me with a print of one of her pastels. I had it until about ten years ago. I thnk I still have a camp directory and program from from a dance performance.