MARSHALL, LYTTON BRUCE

Sheena Cox
Lytton Bruce Marshall (1929–2015).
Artist Bruce Marshall specialized in the portrayal of the regional history of Texas and the Southwest. Image available on the Internet and included in accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107.

MARSHALL, LYTTON BRUCE (1929–2015). Lytton Bruce Marshall, accomplished artist and author, son of Litten Boetner Marshall and Myrtis Hortense (Hoover) Marshall, was born in Athens, Henderson County, Texas, on December 23, 1929. He had one sibling, older brother Thomas. A fourth-generation Texan, Marshall was the grandson of Hudson Boetner Marshall and Viola Eanes and great-grandson of Confederate officer John F. Marshall, owner and editor of the Texas State Gazette (see AUSTIN STATE GAZETTE). The family lived in Ryan, Jefferson County, Oklahoma, by the time of the 1930 census, and Marshall’s father was listed as a civil engineer who worked for a railroad. By the 1940 census, Marshall’s mother was listed as a widow, and the family had moved to Austin where she worked as a warrant clerk in the state comptroller’s office. Growing up, Marshall showed an affinity for art during his childhood and often found refuge at his grandparents’ ranch, which the Eanes side of the family had established as early as the 1850s. Marshall received his education at the University of Arizona’s School of Art in Tucson but left the institution about 1952 after one professor told him he had “no talent.” However, he went on to apprentice for Charles O. Golden, who had illustrated for the Saturday Evening Post. Marshall learned the art of watercolor from Golden and later referred to him as his “spiritual father.” 

By the mid-1960s Marshall, who was known as Bruce Marshall in his professional life, had eked out a living working in a variety of occupations while he tried to succeed as an illustrator. He had married Ann Randolph Smith (about 1961), and they eventually had three children: Susanne, Randolph, and Cody. Marshall credited the beginning of his artistic success to a meeting with deposed royalty and subsequent marketing promotions. In 1966 he met the exiled king of Yugoslavia, Peter II, through the king’s aide-de-camp in Manhattan; the king encouraged his work and later bestowed upon Marshall two titles—the Order of the White Eagle and the Order of St. John of Jerusalem—which he used to successfully promote his art career. In 1970 Marshall held his first show, a successful exhibit in Houston where he sold forty-five paintings. His one-man exhibition in Dallas in 1983 earned him $65,000 from sales and commissions.

Dubbed the “Rembrandt of the West” by Argosy magazine in its August 1978 issue, Marshall was a watercolor specialist whose artwork focused on the regional and heritage history of Texas and the Southwest. Some of his most celebrated commissions include: The Texas Citizen Soldier (an oil painting) at the National Infantry Museum at Fort Benning, Georgia; Ten Historic Texans, used as the cover for fifteen million copies of the Southwestern Bell telephone directory; and The Patriot at the Mahler Student Center of Dallas Baptist University. Forty–four of his paintings reside in permanent collections at such locations as the University of Texas Institute of Texan Cultures at San Antonio, the Susanna Dickinson Museum in Austin, the San Jacinto Monument, and the Alamo. Marshall exhibited work at the Smithsonian Institution, several times in the rotunda of the Texas Capitol, and many other places. He was recognized in Who’s Who in American Art and Who’s Who in the South and Southwest. Marshall’s wife of fifty-four years, Ann, promoted her husband’s early art career by opening the art agency Westart in their home. 

Marshall also penned and illustrated three books over the course of his career: Uniforms of the Republic of Texas: And the Men That Wore Them (1999), Uniforms of the Alamo and the Texas Revolution and the Men Who Wore Them: 1835–1836 (2003), and his historical novel City of Silver (2007). 

Aside from his career as an artist, Marshall also wrote freelance articles and drew illustrations for the Houston Post. He was the past Commander of the Department of Trans-Mississippi of the Sons of Confederate Veterans (SCV) and a past Commander of the SCV Texas Division, past president of Scots of Austin, and past president of Hood’s Texas Brigade Association. Marshall was named an admiral of the Texas Navy by Governor Price Daniel, and he was a lifelong member of the Former Texas Rangers Association. He was also a member of the Southwestern Watercolor Society. Other titles given to Marshall over the course of his career include: “Artist of the 65th Legislature” given by Texas House Speaker Billy Clayton; National Artist, Confederate States of America, from the Sons of Confederate Veterans; and Artist of the Confederacy from the United Daughters of the Confederacy (UDC). In January 1976 the UDC also honored Marshall with the Jefferson Davis medal for the “accuracy of his historical paintings on Southern subjects.”  

Lytton Bruce Marshall died in Austin on May 23, 2015. His funeral services were held at St. John Neumann Catholic Church. He was survived by his wife, children, and ten grandchildren. He is buried in Eanes Cemetery in Austin. 

BIBLIOGRAPHY: 

Austin American-Statesman, July 3, 1991; May 27, 2015. El Paso Times, January 9, 1977. “Lytton Bruce Marshall,” Find A Grave Memorial (https://www.findagrave.com/memorial/187695721/lytton-bruce-marshall), accessed March 21, 2019. The Scene, Newsletter of the Southwestern Watercolor Society, February 1976. Bob St. John, “Bruce Marshall: Rembrandt of the West,” Argosy 387 (August 1978).

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Handbook of Texas Online, Sheena Cox, "MARSHALL, LYTTON BRUCE ," accessed June 17, 2019, http://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/online/articles/fmarl.

Uploaded on March 26, 2019. Published by the Texas State Historical Association.

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