Poems Inspired by Her Work


"Sonnets in a Studio" by Jan Isabelle Fortune

“Sonnets in A Studio” was found pasted carefully into the scrapbook that Lauderdale used to document her career. In the poem, Jan Isabelle Fortune lovingly interprets subjects she found in Mrs. Lauderdale’s studio that inspired her to walk down the “grass-filled road” of her own memory. The natural flower motifs and the deep, dusky jewel tones of color Jan describes in the poem no doubt signal that Lauderdale harbored a certain fondness for these themes throughout her work.


"To a Mountain Aster" by Mrs. Gibbons Poteet

This scrapbook page includes a news clipping that notes that Lauderdale had taken a position as the Dean of Fine Arts of Chautauqua. The Chautauqua was a movement that brought culture, entertainment, and learning to American towns during the late 19th and early 20th centuries.

The clipping also discusses her famous “Indian Wildflower” painting and praises the originality of  “Pilgrim of the Night.” In addition, there is a clipping of a poem by Gibbons Poteet for Lauderdale entitled “To a Mountain Aster.” The poem depicts the feeling of the wildflower when it was taken by Lauderdale in the depth of the forest.


"Question" by Lexie Dean Robertson

A poem titled “Question” written in response to Lauderdale’s painting “Mystery” by  Lexie Dean Robertson. As the title suggests, Robertson questions the trees and the meaning of their existence in the painting


"Pilgrim of the Night" by Mamie Folsom Wynne

Mamie Folsom Wynne waxes poetic about Ursula Lauderdale’s painting “Pilgrim of the Night”. Looking at the painting, Miss Wynne feels the pilgrim continue to move forward through the blurred landscape, despite the darkness around him, with a “dauntlessness” she deeply admires. 


Marie Calcote Harris and Mrs. R. T. Skiles interpret Ursula’s “Indian Wildflowers.” Skiles expresses the awe of beauty which is encapsulated in the artwork of the flowers. She expresses how the details of the work are magnificent and beautiful. Harris explains how the captivating beauty of the wildflowers made Ursula paint them instead of the hill that she was intending on painting. Harris continues her poem that describes the specific colors that create an “alluring beauty” which is utterly maddening.


Emma Cobb Evans was another soul moved by Lauderdale’s “Pilgrim of the Night.” Her poem of the same name reaches out to the lonesome pilgrim during the night. She draws upon the “secrets of the night” to bring new life to the dark and atmospheric piece.


In this poem, Frank Owen Wilson relates his own experience to Ursula’s “Pilgrim of the Night” piece, as he outlines the “Disappointment” he himself has encountered down the somber road of life. To Frank Owen Wilson, the light that reached through the clouds of Lauderdale's painting served as an assurance that light would be on the other side of the pilgrim’s troubles.