The Art of R.S. Perry

By John Samuel Graves, II

My wife, Sandra, who paints under the name R. S. Perry, is not a native Blufftonian, but she married a Bluffton boy, (me!), John Samuel Graves, III, grandson of the original owner of the Graves House on Calhoun Street. My grandmother, Cora Jane Guilford Graves, and Luke Peeples’ mother, Maud Guilford Peeples, were sisters. Both were daughters of George Sewell Guilford, builder of the Graves House and also the first mayor of the newly re-incorporated Bluffton in 1903.

Sandra belongs to a long, notable line of people historically drawn to and connected with Bluffton: visual artists, writers, composers and musicians. She has produced some remarkable works in all these fields: two books of songs, numerous poems, a scholarly book on the American composer Charles Ives and hundreds of paintings, as well as six published book covers. She has also frequently provided pet portraits for the Humane Society’s fundraising auctions.

The book covers shown on these pages for “The Collected Works of Luke Peeples, Volumes One and Two” were illustrated by my wife.

Luke Peeples was a lifelong resident of Bluffton who transcribed Negro spirituals and collected and arranged various other types of music. His brother, Andrew Peeples, was the “Bluffton Boy” author whose stories have frequently appeared in The Bluffton Breeze.

Since Volume One of Luke’s books contains spirituals, Sandra used a church setting for its cover. The cover of Volume Two illustrates Luke’s home on Calhoun Street in Bluffton. The house collapsed many years ago, so an old photograph provided a reference for the art.

Sandra’s artwork demonstrates the fact that art is universal, regardless of when or where it is produced. Her works attempt to record and interpret her experiences using oil, watercolor and acrylics. A good representation of her various works can be found on her website, cronesinger.com.

Her art also appears on the cover of my songbook, “A Star Fell and Other Songs.” The lyrics for nine of the songs in that book are derived from poems my mother, Florence Rubert Graves, wrote when she lived in Bluffton. Some of my mother’s poems have also appeared in The Bluffton Breeze.

The poems by my mother that I used as lyrics in my songs can be viewed on graveshouse.org, and more information about “A Star Fell and Other Songs” can be found on astarfell.com.

Copies of “The Collected Works of Luke Peeples” and “A Star Fell and Other Songs” can be found at Stock Farm Antiques in Bluffton.