Historical marker #1780 in Lexington is located at the boyhood home of Kentucky artist Thomas Satterwhite Noble. Noble was a faculty member at the Cincinnati Art School. Painter Paul Sawyier studied under him between 1884 and 1885.
Sawyier's early education was at the Second Street Public School and, later, the Dudley Institute in Frankfort. Since no art courses were offered at the Dudley Institute, Sawyier's father hired an itinerant artist from Cincinnati to privately instruct Paul and his sister, Natalie. Sawyier began formal art study at the Cincinnati Art School in 1884, where he took a life drawing class with Thomas S. Noble.
Sawyier spent only one year at the Cincinnati Art School before opening a studio in Cincinnati with fellow artist Avery Sharp. During this period, Sawyier earned a living primarily through commercial charcoal portraits, usually by transcribing photographs. While studying and working in Cincinnati, he lived with his aunt, Sarah McKee, in Covington, Kentucky.
By 1886, Sawyier had returned home to Frankfort to work as a salesman for the Kentucky River Mills, a hemp factory. Sawyier's tenure at the factory was short-lived; he left the job in order to make a living as an artist.
Today, the Kentucky Historical Society has the world's largest collection of Paul Sawyier paintings.