Discover the men behind one the region’s most familiar household names. Who were Drs. Willis and Knighton, and what did they do for the field of medicine in their community? Exhibit highlights include original oil portraits of the medical giants, artifacts and material culture associated with their tenure and professional lives.

F. Hutton Shill Painter of Drs. Willis and Knighton


F. Hutton Shill was not only a painter of distinction but a widely respected art teacher attracting students throughout the South.  In the late 1920’s and 1930’s, Shill taught at the Louisiana Academy of Fine Arts in Shreveport as well as classes offered by the Shreveport Arts Club, an organization that is still in existence.  It’s likely that it is through this connection that Shill and Drs. Willis and Knighton  became acquainted  with him and his work and was commissioned to do the portraits.

Shill was born in Nebraska and studied art at the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts in Philadelphia as well as Europe.  Shill moved to Arkansas where he worked his wife’s family farm as well as continued painting.  He became an instructor of the Academy of Fine Arts in Fayetteville.  The Academy would later become the art department of the University Arkansas. 

In 1940, however, Shill was badly hurt in an auto accident and suffered the rest of his life with a punctured lung.  The injury made it difficult to breathe in Louisiana’s humid climate.   He left Shreveport for Texas where he died, still teaching art, in 1946.

Shill's portrait was painted by a fellow Pennsylvania artist, Thomas Anshutz.  It is currently held by the Philadelphia Sketchbook Club. 

Location in Museum

Willis-Knighton Exhibit


Early 20th Century

100 Years