Edmonia Lewis' most successful sculpture was "The Death of Cleopatra," which created a sensation when it was shown at the Philadelphia Centennial Exhibition in 1876. The exact date of her death is unknown, but scholars generally place it sometime after 1911.
Bannister, the son of a black immigrant from Barbados and his Scottish-Canadian wife, was born in St. Andrews, New Brunswick, in 1828. Initially, he worked as a seaman, but he later settled in Boston, where he eked out a living as a hairdresser and as a hand-tinter of photography.
With the encouragement of his wife, he turned to painting and his atmospheric landscapes found a ready market, especially in Boston, a city known for its abolitionist sentiments. The painting acquired by the Walters is a colorful view of Boston Common.
At the Philadelphia Centennial Exhibition in 1876, Bannister received a first-class medal. By then he had moved to Providence, R.I., where he became one of the seven founding members of the Providence Art Club. He died in Providence in 1901.
For information about the Walters Art Museum and its recently renovated galleries, click on www.SunSpot.net/walters. The lecture, presented by curator Joaneath Spicer, is scheduled for 2 p.m. tomorrow at the Walters Art Museum. Admission is free. Call 410-547-9000.