The Island Packet
By Nancy K. Wellard
Online Article Here
The romance of Rose Hill is a story that begins long before the Gothic Revival home was built in the 1850s.
It actually goes back to 1718 when King Charles II granted the land to Sir John Colleton. Today, the story continues, though, over time, the house and properties have experienced a number of iterations, and dramatic changes.
The good news is that not only is the current version of the landmark Rose Hill Plantation House in place, you may visit it. More to our artistic and historic purpose, you may visit it through Alexandra Sharma’s interpretations of the Rose Hill Plantation Home, as well as the Belfair property and its historic Corinthian columns, by way of a series of the 30 recent watercolors, “Historic Belfair and Rose Hill: Intimate and Revealing Watercolors.”
Sharma explained that she has always enjoyed finding scenes and objects in hidden or forgotten places. A recent circumstance made it possible for her to discover theBelfair Mansion and Rose Hill in new ways.
“During a kind of accidental moment at an art show, I met Iva Welton, who not only was a long time Hilton Head island resident, historian, and volunteer, but even ... Iva’s family ... actually purchased and developed Rose Hill Plantation, along with the property upon which the Belfair Mansion was located.”
Welton said she loved the concept of Sharma’s creating the paintings, and she gave her access to her photographs and scrapbooks, all of the Belfair Mansion and the Rose Hill Plantation House. There were letters, bills of sale, obituaries, autographs, even pieces of historic wallpaper. Sharma said all of those fragments of history became a source of information for her paintings. They provided her an intimate and alluring glimpse of the private, forgotten and lost places she felt so strongly about.
“You must understand, as you view Alexandra’s paintings, that they are of places, settings, really, that will never be seen again,” said Welton. “The old Belfair House no longer exists, except for the four magnificent Corinthian columns, now setting off a modern home. And the Rose Hill Plantation Home, which still stands ... has undergone a series of important changes and challenges over time.”
Sharma’s 30 watercolor paintings will be in place March 7 at the Walter Greer Gallery of the Arts Center of Coastal Carolina. They are enchanting, artful pieces,and unapologetically sensual. She portrays the atmosphere beautifully and offers the settings of these two important, historic homes and buildings.
“What astonishing subjects for my paintings, “ said Sharma. “Belfair, a mysterious great house with a fatal staircase and structural issues – now destroyed, and Rose Hill, a survivor through periods of abandonment, a fire and final restoration.”