• Bob Vlach, Woodford Sun Staff

Jouett art featured on Kentucky Collectibles this Saturday

Kentucky Collectibles will shed light on a miniature portrait painted by artist Matthew Harris Jouett and other items with connections to Woodford County's Jack Jouett House during its season premier this Saturday, Oct. 29, at 4:30 p.m. on KET. Patrick and Evelyn McGill donated the miniature portrait of Edward Spillsbee Coleman to the Jack Jouett House last July. "We're real excited just letting people know that we have it," says Jill Roseberry, executive director of the Jack Jouett House historic site, "because there aren't a lot of these that exist, and certainly not on public display." The ivory locket containing the miniature portrait will soon be on permanent display at the Jouett House with portrait reproductions of family members by Matthew Harris Jouett. "Now that we have a real Matthew Jouett piece at the house - it's very special," says Steve Menefee, a member of the Woodford County Heritage Committee. The nonprofit arm of the Jouett House (owned by Woodford Fiscal Court) has applied for a grant to purchase a suitable case and hopes to have the miniature portrait by Matthew Harris Jouett on display next spring, says Roseberry. She knew Menefee was the best person to appear on Kentucky Collectibles because he's a descendant of the Jouett family who has spent countless hours cataloging portraits by Matthew Harris Jouett. "He can tell the history and story of it really well," explains Roseberry. "So I just felt really confident sending Steve with our items to KET." During the taping of Kentucky Collectibles at the Northern Kentucky Convention Center on Aug. 20, Menefee also had a portrait of Richard Jouett Menefee, grandson of Matthew Harris Jouett, and two chairs from the Jouett House. Being able to share the portrait of Richard Jouett Menefee by Oliver Frazier - not part of the Jack Jouett House collection - with Kentucky Collectibles' viewers "was a very big deal too," says Menefee. A University of Kentucky graduate and avid Civil War re-enactor, Menefee travels across Central Kentucky and beyond to locate portraits painted by Matthew Harris Jouett so he can write histories of the portraits and subjects as he works to catalog the artwork. This passion for history began as a young boy wanting to know about his descendents and why a nearby county shared his family's last name. Being able to walk into the Jack Jouett House and its original stone cabin at 255 Craigs Creek Road, just off McCowans Ferry Road, only reinforces Menefee's passion for learning about the past. "Every time you go out there," he says, "you find something different . always learning something new." For more information about Revolutionary War hero Capt. Jack Jouett, his son Matthew, as well as the Jack Jouett House historic site visit jouetthouse.org. "One of the biggest challenges we face is just getting it out there that we exist," says Roseberry. "There are even people in Versailles that have no idea that we're here and what we're about . We just want people to know . that Woodford County has this great history." Hosted by Amy Hess, Kentucky Collectibles tells Kentucky's stories through items brought to KET's appraisal fair. For information about the Kentucky Educational Television program as well as upcoming and past episodes, visit ket.org.

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