Portraits back home at Folly

Published 10:14 pm Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Two portraits of the original occupants of Riddick’s Folly now grace the front parlor following a reception held for board members and supporters on Wednesday.

Mills and Mary Taylor Riddick, the couple who built the home in 1837, are featured in the oil paintings newly acquired by the house museum.

“This is a joyful day for this home,” said Larry Riddick, board president for Riddick’s Folly and a distant relative of the Riddicks themselves. “This is an eventful day.”


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The 1830s portrait of Mary Taylor Riddick was done in oil on a wood slab by an unknown artist. The museum acquired it from a family in High Point, N.C., that is related to the Riddicks.

“The quality is just exceptional,” said Lee King, curator at Riddick’s Folly.

“I think that’s the most valuable thing in this home, is that painting,” Larry Riddick said.

The portrait of Mills Riddick was done in oil on canvas by Fannie Whitfield Riddick, the wife of the Riddicks’ first grandson, Charles Henry Riddick. She painted it in 1917, copying an 1835 original.

King said he has looked for and been unable to find the original, but he would love to have it for the museum. There’s speculation the original of Mills that Fannie copied was done by the same person who did the new portrait of Mary Taylor. Riddick’s Folly has a tintype photograph that may be a photograph of the original of Mills.

Austin Darden, a direct descendant of Mills and Mary Taylor Riddick who lives in Riverview, said he thought the new acquisitions were nice.

“I’m glad to see it,” he said.

Larry Riddick celebrated the homecoming of the portraits on Wednesday.

“This is Momma coming home to her house,” he said. “We’re going to try to find Daddy and bring him home.”