Pony Express Rider
This oil painting possibly by Lloyd Branson (1853-1925) depicts a Pony Express mail carrier on horseback. Pony Express riders can be identified by the special saddlebags—mochillas—that riders used and were designed to fit over a saddle. The bag could only hold letters. There was no room for newspapers or larger packets.
Branson was born in Union County, Tennessee, and spent most of his life in the Knoxville area. In 1873 he attended the National Academy of Design in New York City, followed by a period of study in Europe. In 1885 he won a medal at the Cotton States Exposition in Atlanta, Georgia, and in 1910 he won a gold medal at Knoxville's Appalachian Exposition. Branson often painted historical subjects or regional landscapes.