Early Studies.  Kearfott attended public schools in Martinsville and later Richmond College in Richmond. He graduated with a B.A. from the University of Virginia in 1911. One of his earliest known paintings is of the University of Virginia Rotunda in Charlottesville. Also extant is a photo of a portrait he made of Lida Hooper Kepner in 1911, as well as a partial clipping, datelined Lynchburg, stating “One of the most lifelike oil portraits which has been seen in this city for many years is that of Mr. William D. Diuguid from the brush of Mr. Robert Ryland Kearfott, a student of the University of Virginia…”  Kearfott studied under Duncan Smith at a University of Virginia summer session.

 001-21  His formal art studies began under George Bridgeman, the celebrated teacher of drawing at the Art Students League of New York. He also studied painting under Charles Hawthorne on Cape Cod.Kearfott was on the art staff of the New York Evening Journal from 1912-14 and worked as a freelance advertising artist in New York from 1914-16. He was on the art staff of H.K.McCann advertising Company in San Francisco from 1916-22. His illustrations appeared on the covers and in the advertising pages of Collier’s, Woman’s Home Companion, the Country Gentleman and other national magazines.

He frequently employed self-portraits in his illustrations, as he did in this advertisement for Skytop shirts of Danville, Virginia.


Marriage and Family.  On April 23, 1917, he married Mrs. Lillian Barron of New York. According to his granddaughter, Terry Kearfott LaBonne, Bob and Lily met when Lily was a model at the Art Students League in New York City. She lived in Brooklyn at that time and had a son, Carl, who was born in 1910. Terry LaBonne reports that “Lily spoke very little about her early life. We never knew her maiden name or exact birthdate, although we believe she was born about 1890 in Cincinnati, Ohio. Bob said she lived all over Europe, including Poland and Russia. Lily said that her

Pearls. 1924