The Story of the Flaming Poinciana Tree by David Porter
This painting was first purchased in the 1960’s by L. C. “Curtis” Crofton. We are his great nephew and niece as he was our Great Uncle (my Grandmothers younger brother). Uncle Curtis was born in 1889 in Washington County (Vernon, Florida), but moved to Brevard County in 1926 where he founded the Law firm of Crofton, Holland and Starling in Titusville, Florida. He owned and managed citrus groves as well. He was a former counsel/advisor to Governor Spessard Holland in the 1940’s and served in the Florida House of Representatives representing Brevard County.
In the 1960’s the Highwaymen Artists (particularly R. A. McLendon) would come to Uncle Curtis's law office and he would buy their paintings for $20 and give to family members as gifts at reunions and other family functions. This particular painting was given to my Fathers Brother, Robert “Bobbie” Porter, who was the Comptroller of the Mims Citrus Growers Association in Brevard County, as a gift and it was on display in his home in Mims Florida for many years. His wife, Aunt Evelyn never liked the painting and one day offered it to my Mom and Dad, James and Carol Porter of St. Petersburg Florida who gladly accepted it.
This painting has stayed in our Family for the last 30 years and after residing with my parents for several years it has come to rest in our home in Tallahassee, Florida.
The painting is a depiction of the classic landscape scene of South Florida where the Highwaymen resided and painted of the Royal or “Flaming” Poinciana Tree. It is rendered on the classic original medium of oil on upson board with a wood home moulding frame that were secured from scrap heaps at building sites.
Several Years ago we were alerted to a Highwaymen Showing at the Tallahassee Museum and noticed that several of the original Highwaymen would be in attendance (including R. A. “Roy” McLendon Sr. and his Son, Roy McLendon Jr.). We took this painting to the Exhibition and R. A. McLendon was excited to see it. He signed the back of the painting and was glad to pose for a picture with the painting.
We are proud to offer this rich artistic rendering of Florida history for display at the Gadsden Arts Center & Museum.
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