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The Zion National Park: Letter from Alfred Lambourne to the Young Ladies Mutual Improvement Association, 1920

"There is something about the vastness, the solemnity, of the Zion Canyon that is scriptual, and Homeric. It is a nature epic, it places us among the primitive. One feels there a grandeur akin to the thoughts of Aeschylus and the words of holy writ. To describe it truly one would need the simplicity and strength of the antique, the reverence of the prophets, and 'the large utterance of the early gods'."

 Alfred Edward Lambourne. Temples of the Rio Virgin, Southern Utah. Courtesy of the Springville Museum of Art.

The first artist to ever paint Zion Canyon, Alfred Lambourne was also a Utah poet and transcendentalist (1850-1926). His essay was published in Young Woman's Journal: Organ of the Young Ladies' Mutual Improvement Associations, January 1920.

Reader Comments (1)

.. When I read anything of Alfred's I often muse at what an influence his years at the Salt lake Theatre must have had on him. To state that he was a romantic would be an oversimplification. I am not an art historian and can only claim a knowledge of Alfred through exposure to a few of his writings and certain shared genetics. Alfred Lambourne was my great , great Uncle.
I believe that Alfred's paintings were often 'memorial' in nature. The became portraits of memory and sensations the artist experienced at that moment in time, often sacrificing draftsmanship and technical finess. Through his paintings and poetry and prose, he shares with us with a sense of drama- his exuberence for nature and the mysteries found there.
Those of us who are fortunate to live near the locations he painted are often surprised that his 'portraits' of the settings offer little resemblance to the actual place. This becomes forgivable when we witness his sense of drama and enthusiasm for his new found wilderness.

March 27, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterCory C. Dangerfield

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