Florida's Agricultural Heritage in Paintings by Robert Butler
King Cotton is one of those gifts from nature that man has excelled at developing. Few fibers have found such a capital place in the development of civilization. Without cotton, many of the world’s greatest works of art and other cultural treasures could not have breached the seal of time to inspire a modern world.
Though cotton is but one of the many fibers man has cultivated for his use, it has earned a special place in American history. For a time, cotton was king of the economy of the southern United States, and played an important role in the human saga of the South.
Through the advance of modern technology, cotton has been relegated to a lessor role in modern agri-economics. Progress will find new and exciting roles for this historic fiber in the future, but history has reserved a permanent place for it in the American romantic past.
— Robert Butler, 1999