Trumbull, John, 1756-1843

Alternative names
Dates:
Birth 1756-06-06
Death 1843-11-10
Americans
English, French

Biographical notes:

American painter of historical subjects.

From the description of ALS : New York, to James Madison, 1823 Oct. 20. (Rosenbach Museum & Library). WorldCat record id: 122580911

Painter; New York City.

From the description of John Trumbull papers, 1787-1843. (Unknown). WorldCat record id: 122557315

John Trumbull (1756-1843) was an American painter and diplomat.

From the guide to the John Trumbull papers, 1780-1840, (The New York Public Library. Manuscripts and Archives Division.)

Painter.

From the description of Papers of John Trumbull, 1786-1841. (Unknown). WorldCat record id: 79455869

American painter of historical subjects. From 1793 to 1804 he was engaged in diplomatic and commercial pursuits in England and Europe.

From the description of ALS : London, to Samuel M. Hopkins, New York, N.Y., 1800 Sept. 5. (Rosenbach Museum & Library). WorldCat record id: 145506964

Trumbull was a painter. Potts was medical director in the Revolutionary Army.

From the description of Letters to Jonathan Potts, 1776 July-Aug. (Unknown). WorldCat record id: 86093873

John Trumbull was born in Lebanon, Connecticut in 1756. He graduated from Harvard College in 1773. From 1775 through 1779 Trumbull served with the revolutionary forces in various capacities, including a brief appointment as an aide-de-camp to George Washington. During the 1780s Trumbull studied and painted in London and on the Continent and began the works on historical subjects which would eventually earn him the reputation of painter of the Revolution. In 1824 Trumbull installed his paintings in the United States Capitol. A collection of Trumbull's work became the center around which the Yale Art Gallery was formed. Trumbull also served as a private secretary to John Jay during negotiations which ended in Jay's Treaty. In 1817 he became president of the American Academy of Fine Arts. Trumbull died in 1843 in New Haven, Connecticut.

From the description of John Trumbull papers, 1750-1961 (inclusive). (Unknown). WorldCat record id: 702204079

From the description of John Trumbull papers, 1750-1961 (inclusive). (Unknown). WorldCat record id: 122450502

American artist.

From the description of Studies for the painting "Sortie made by the Garrison of Gibraltar in Nov. 1781", 1789. (Boston Athenaeum). WorldCat record id: 62256118

From the description of Autograph letter signed : London, to Thomas Jefferson, 1788 Dec. 19. (Unknown). WorldCat record id: 270573327

From the description of Autograph letter signed : New York, to Professor Goodrich, 1825 Jul. 22. (Unknown). WorldCat record id: 270573331

From the description of Document signed : New York, 1804 Jul. 11. (Unknown). WorldCat record id: 270573344

From the description of Autograph letter signed : New York, to Samuel M. Hopkins in Albany, 1831 Oct. 20. (Unknown). WorldCat record id: 270573334

From the description of Autograph letter signed : Washington, to Alex. Robertson in New York, 1828 Mar. 2. (Unknown). WorldCat record id: 270573337

From the description of Letter, New York, to Daniel Wadsworth, Hartford, 1828 Sept. 28. (Boston Athenaeum). WorldCat record id: 93986334

American painter.

From the description of Letter, 1819 June 5, New York, to Rufus King, Jamaica [N.Y.]. (Boston Athenaeum). WorldCat record id: 14444940

Artist; U.S. claims commissioner.

From the description of Papers, 1776-1842. (New York University). WorldCat record id: 58773383

From the description of Papers, 1790-1843. (New York University). WorldCat record id: 475883739

Painter; New Haven, Connecticut.

Born in Lebanon, Ct. Studied under Benjamin West in London. Painted historic portraits and paintings.

From the description of John Trumbull collection, 1820-1831. (Unknown). WorldCat record id: 122502653

American painter John Trumbull was born the son of Governor Jonathan Trumbull of Connecticut in 1756. He aspired to be a painter like his hero, John Singleton Copley, against the wishes of his father. Graduating from Harvard in 1773 as the youngest member of his class, Trumbull's career was soon dampened by the Revolutionary War. In 1775, he enlisted as an Aide-de-Camp and drew strategic maps for Revolutionary War generals, but resigned after two years to study art in Boston. In 1780, he traveled to London to study art, but soon returned home after being arrested for aiding the execution of John Andre.

Trumbull returned to London five years later to study with noted painter Benjamin West. West wanted to create a series of paintings depicting the historical events of the Revolutionary War, but because he feared falling out of favor with the King of England, West encouraged and guided Trumbull through the painting of the series instead. The first of this series is Trumbull's well known work, "Battle of Bunker's Hill." After completing several more pieces in the series, Trumbull returned home in 1789 to paint small portraits of American generals and prominent figures, including the famous portrait of George Washington in 1790.

Trumbull would make two more lengthy trips to England. On the first, beginning in 1794, he accompanied John Jay as his executive secretary. While on this trip, Trumbull married Sarah Hope Harvey in 1800, returning with her to New York in 1804, where they lived until 1808. The second trip to England came in 1808. Trumbull and his wife remained in London until 1816 when they returned to the United States, shortly before Sarah's death that same year.

1817 proved to be an important year in Trumbull's career. Not only was he elected president of the American Academy of Fine Arts, but he was commissioned to paint four large historical murals for the rotunda of the Capitol building, which he completed in 1824.

In 1831, he sold the works in his studio to Yale University. Trumbull died in 1843.

From the description of Papers, 1803-1842. (Winterthur Library). WorldCat record id: 84666698

Painter; New Haven, Connecticut.

Born in Lebanon, Ct. Studied under Benjamin West in London. Painted historic portraits and paintings.

From the description of John Trumbull ticket, receipt, and note, 1790-[ca. 1800]. (Unknown). WorldCat record id: 122384501

Painter; New Haven, Connecticut.

Born in Lebanon, Ct. Studied under Benjamin West in London. Painted historic portraits and paintings.

From the description of John Trumbull collection at the Gilcrease Institute, 1820-1831. (Unknown). WorldCat record id: 430380397

Painter; New Haven, Connecticut.

Born in Lebanon, Ct. Studied under Benjamin West in London. Painted historic portraits and paintings.

From the description of John Trumbull collection, 1790-[ca. 1800]. (Unknown). WorldCat record id: 430380446

Painter; New Haven, Connecticut.

Born in Lebanon, Ct. Studied under Benjamin West in London. Painted historic portraits and paintings.

From the description of Papers from John Trumbull's paint box, 1794-[ca. 1830]. (Unknown). WorldCat record id: 430379046

Painter; New Haven, Connecticut.

Born in Lebanon, Ct. Studied under Benjamin West in London. Painted historic portraits and paintings.

From the description of Letters to John Trumbull from artists, 1806-1835. (Unknown). WorldCat record id: 122395131

Painter; New Haven, Connecticut.

Born in Lebanon, Ct. Studied under Benjamin West in London. Painted historic portraits and paintings.

From the description of John Trumbull papers, 1794-[ca. 1830]. (Unknown). WorldCat record id: 122556985

John Trumbull was born in Lebanon, CT on June 6, 1756 to Connecticut Governor Jonathan Trumbull, Sr., and his wife Faith Robinson. As the youngest of six John looked up to his older siblings, particularly his sister Faith, whose drawings fascinated and inspired him, and his brother Jonathan, Jr., later Governor of Connecticut, with whom he regularly corresponded. Despite an accident when he was a child that left him without sight in his left eye, John pursued his talent for art. Trumbull entered Harvard as a Junior at the age of 15 and graduated a year and a half later in 1773. His career was interrupted two years later by the start of the Revolutionary War. He served for two years as aid-du-camp and then as Deputy Adjutant General drawing out plans and maps before resigning in 1777 to devote himself to developing his talents as a painter. In 1780 he had the opportunity to travel to London to study with established American painter Benjamin West. During this time period he painted over two numerous miniature portraits and small representations of the war.

Trumbull spent two years in Connecticut from 1782-84, but returned to London in January of 1784 to again paint under West. The period he spent painting in London, which lasted approximately a decade, was Trumbull's most successful as an artist. During this time he produced such works as Battle of Bunker Hill, Death of General Montgomery at Quebec and Declaration of Independence ; as well as portraits of General Washington, John Adams, George Clinton, Alexander Hamilton, John Jay and Rufus King.

By the mid-1790s Trumbull put painting aside to focus on politics and diplomacy. In 1794 he served as secretary to John Jay during the treaty negotiations between America and Britain. He was chosen in 1796 to be the fifth commissioner to work on the 7th article of the Jay Treaty, which sought to resolve the complaints made by American merchants who believed their ships had been unfairly confiscated by the British. In 1800 he married Sarah Hope Harvey, an Englishwoman, and returned to America with her in 1804. After spending a few years in New York, he returned to London for another extended stay that lasted from 1808-13.

Trumbull returned to painting in 1816 as president of the American Academy of the Fine Arts. However, by that point his skills had declined due to lack of practice for so many years. Trumbull continued to support the Fine Arts by drafting a document, Plan for Encouragement of the Arts, that sought to promote the Arts to the President and Congress. He passed away in 1843 at the age of 88.

From the guide to the John Trumbull Papers, 1775-1842, (© 2011 New-York Historical Society)

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Subjects:

  • Battles in art
  • Prints--Marketing
  • Health resorts
  • Artists--Autographs
  • Artists
  • Painting, American--19th century
  • Art, American
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  • Indians of North America--Genealogies
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  • Long Island, Battle of, New York, N.Y., 1776
  • Inventories of decedent's estates
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  • Art, American--Study and teaching
  • Brandy industry
  • Napoleonic Wars, 1800-1815
  • Agriculture
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  • Great Britain. Treaties, etc. United States, 1794 Nov. 19
  • Portrait painting, American
  • Painting, American
  • Painting
  • Aging
  • Medicine--Formulae, receipts, prescriptions
  • Painting--Conservation and restoration--Technique
  • Artists--Social conditions
  • Fruit trees
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  • Seizure of vessels and cargoes
  • Artists, American
  • Art, American--18th century--History
  • Prints--18th century
  • Paint materials
  • Painters--Autographs
  • Painting, American--19th century--Exhibitions
  • United States--History--Revolution, 1775-1783
  • Arts

Occupations:

  • Painters--United States
  • Diplomats
  • Painter
  • Landowners
  • Artists

Places:

  • Genesee County (N.Y.) (as recorded)
  • Great Britain (as recorded)
  • Genesee County (N.Y.) (as recorded)
  • Connecticut (as recorded)
  • United States (as recorded)
  • France (as recorded)
  • Great Britain (as recorded)
  • Trenton, Battle of, Trenton, N.J., 1776 (as recorded)
  • Connecticut (as recorded)
  • France (as recorded)
  • United States (as recorded)
  • United States (as recorded)
  • United States (as recorded)
  • Great Britain (as recorded)
  • Connecticut--Lebanon (as recorded)
  • United States (as recorded)
  • United States (as recorded)
  • Bunker Hill, Battle of, Boston, Mass., 1775 (as recorded)
  • United States (as recorded)
  • Lebanon (Conn.) (as recorded)
  • Stafford Springs (Conn.) (as recorded)
  • Princeton, Battle of, Princeton, N.J., 1777 (as recorded)
  • New York (State) (as recorded)
  • Great Britain (as recorded)
  • Great Britain (as recorded)
  • Europe (as recorded)
  • United States (as recorded)
  • Europe (as recorded)
  • United States (as recorded)
  • United States (as recorded)
  • Lebanon (Conn.) (as recorded)
  • New York (State)--New York (as recorded)