Taking the Oath and Drawing Rations (Primary Title)

John Rogers, American, 1829 - 1904 (Artist)

Designed 1865
plaster, painted
Overall: 23 1/4 × 12 1/8 × 8 1/2 in. (59.06 × 30.8 × 21.59 cm)

Rogers found success among middle-class patrons for his anecdotal poured-plaster statuettes. “Rogers Groups” were popular parlor accessories between 1865 and 1895. The three-dimensional genre scenes, first modeled in clay, were mass-produced and sold throughout the country by mail order. This grouping, made just after the end of the Civil War, is described in the Rogers catalogue:

“A Southern lady, with her little boy, compelled by hunger, is taking the oath of allegiance from a Union officer, in order to draw rations.”

Rogers, a New Englander, offers a sympathetic image of the dilemma of Southerners whose fortunes vanished with the fall of the Confederacy. The scene was a familiar one to Richmonders who, under the jurisdiction of Federal troops, became eligible for food rations after swearing allegiance to the U.S. Constitution and to the abolition of slavery. The grouping includes a freed African American boy carrying an empty basket for his former mistress.

Gift of Mrs. Maria Carter Satterfield in celebration of VMFA's 75th anniversary
Image released via Creative Commons CC-BY-NC

Some object records are not complete and do not reflect VMFA's full and current knowledge. VMFA makes routine updates as records are reviewed and enhanced.