Reception for painting restoration

Posted: Wednesday, March 07, 2001

The restoration of historic paintings at downtown Juneau's Holy Trinity Episcopal Church will kick off with a reception at 7 p.m. Thursday, March 8, at McPhetres Hall.

Painting restoration expert Carmen Bria from Colorado will talk about what it will take to restore the 90-year-old paintings of biblical images by Frances Davis. Connie Davis, the late artist's granddaughter, will also talk about the painter.

"Everyone will be taken into the church's sanctuary to look at the paintings," said Vicki Bender, one of the event's organizers. "Bria is going to talk very briefly about his interest in the six paintings and how he restores them and what's involved in the process."

The reception is free, but donations will be collected toward restoration of the paintings. The event is the first in a series aimed at raising about $17,000 for the work.

Davis was born in London in 1855 and painted religious images for churches in England before journeying to Juneau in 1891. She settled in the young mining town and married J. Montgomery Davis, a bookkeeper for the Nowell Mining Company.

Her son, Trevor Davis, was a well-known Juneau photographer whose photos are in the archives and the collections of the Alaska State Historical Library.

Frances Davis became involved in the founding of Holy Trinity Episcopal Church, built in 1896 at Fourth and Gold Streets. In 1910, Davis, a well-established scenic and wildlife artist, donated the six scenes of Jesus' life that can be found in the chancel of the church near the altar. In 1916, she painted images of the apostles that can still be seen on the front of the first row of pews.

Over the decades, the paintings' canvases have become loose and wrinkled. They have also lost some of their original brightness and appear darker than they really are. The aim of the restoration effort is to bring back their original brilliance and make them more accessible to the community and visitors, Bender said.

For more information, call the church at 586-3532 or e-mail: or check

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