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The Palmetto and Its South Carolina Home

Jim Harrison

A celebration of paintings and images exploring the beauty and strength of South Carolina's state tree

With its fanlike evergreen fronds, soft trunk, and strong root system, the palmetto is a wind-adapted palm that can bend with strong sea breezes without breaking or being uprooted. Emblematic of survival against opposition, the palmetto tree has captured the imaginations of South Carolinians for generations, appearing on the state seal since the American Revolution and on the state flag since 1861. The palmetto was named South Carolina's official state tree by Governor Burnet R. Maybank in 1939, and in 1974 Governor John C. West commissioned acclaimed South Carolina artist Jim Harrison to paint the official palmetto tree portrait for the State of South Carolina, an image that adorns the State House to this day. The Palmetto and Its South Carolina Home showcases the timeless, natural beauty of the state tree in marshland and coastal landscapes in the popular Harrison style.

Appearing on glassware, stationery, jewelry, and many other decorative and functional objects, the palmetto tree is an omnipresent symbol in South Carolina culture. For Harrison the palmetto remains foremost an icon of the wondrous Carolina coastal habitats. Sweeping images of the coast have been part of Harrison's art since the beginning of his career, and he continues to illustrate his love of the South Carolina coast by capturing the beauty of the state tree amid the many stunning and enchanting scenes included here.

The Palmetto and Its South Carolina Home also explores the historical background of the tree and its many ties to South Carolina's heritage as a symbol of strength and beauty worthy of this artistic celebration.

Jim Harrison describes himself as a mood realist artist. Through his work he seeks to evoke in the viewer the same deep appreciation he holds for America's scenic heritage. Harrison has devoted much of his life and art to the preservation of the past. He studied art at the University of South Carolina and launched his professional career in 1971 on the sidewalks of New York's Greenwich Village. Harrison's first book, Pathways to a Southern Coast, was published by the University of South Carolina Press in 1986 and was brought back into print in 2009.



Book jacket for The Palmetto and Its South Carolina Home


9 ¼ X 9 ¼
96 pages
56 color and 1 b&w illustrations
ISBN 978-1-61117-049-8
hardcover, $29.95t

eISBN 978-1-61117-195-2
ebook, $18.99t

"The South Carolina coast is quite a special place. My artwork represents my southern heritage with a wide range of images from coastal to rural Americana scenes. Recently I have refocused on capturing the timeless beauty of our state's coastal areas and South Carolina's tree in particular. The palmetto tree is an image that is very much a part of our state's past, present, and future, and it represents not only the beauty but also the strength of our state and its people."—Jim Harrison

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