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Pictor Ignotus


[From the Community Collection, a public trust in Agincourt, Iowa]

E. L. [Etienne Laurent?] [dates uncertain]

Portrait of Gaius Plinius Tennant


oil on board / 9.6 inches by 7.3 inches

Of the three Tennant Brothers, Pliny — full name Gaius Plinius Tennant — was a true 19th century Transcendentalist. Though he was an investor in the Agincourt Enterprise and may have visited the site early in its development, Pliny Tennant pushed ever farther westward in his search for self. If this is, indeed, a portrait painted shortly before he disappeared somewhere into the southwestern states, possibly Arizona or Utah, he has struck a wistful romantic pose borne out by his life’s subsequent pattern or lack thereof. He is remembered as the namesake of “Pliny’s Purse”, the compounded return of his investment in the Agincourt townsite and the subcutaneous good it has done for the community.

The painter’s initials E. L. may stand for Etienne Laurent, a family friend from their origin in the Channel Islands.


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