Sully, Thomas, 1783-1872

Alternative names
Dates:
Birth 1783-06-19
Death 1872-11-05
American

Biographical notes:

Artist Thomas Sully was born in London, although his actor parents soon emigrated to the United States. A trip back to England to study painting expanded his horizons, and upon his return to the United States he developed a reputation as a first rate painter. He specialized in portraits, especially portraits of women, and painted full-length portraits of many public and private figures. He is perhaps most closely associated with his portrait of Queen Victoria and for his painting, Washington crossing the Delaware.

From the description of Thomas Sully letter to Mrs. Hale, 1855 Jan. 13. (Pennsylvania State University Libraries). WorldCat record id: 56717692

Thomas Sully was an American artist.

From the description of ALS, [18--], to John Struthers. (Haverford College Library). WorldCat record id: 45724705

English-born American painter.

From the description of Autograph letter signed : [Philadelphia], to his son-in-law, the artist, John Neagle, [1845] Feb. 12. (Unknown). WorldCat record id: 270872332

Portrait painter; Philadelphia, Pa.

From the description of Thomas Sully letters, 1831-1870. (Unknown). WorldCat record id: 78062877

From the description of Thomas Sully letters, 1827 and [undated]. (Unknown). WorldCat record id: 81919267

From the description of Thomas Sully papers, 1792-1871. (Unknown). WorldCat record id: 79702031

English-born painter, moved to United States in 1792 and finally settled in Philadelphia; long, successful career as history and portrait painter.

From the description of Letters to Mason and Franklin Peale [manuscript], 1833 June 3 and 1855 November 27. (University of Virginia). WorldCat record id: 647976100

From the description of Letters to Mason and Franklin Peale, 1833 June 3 and 1855 November 27. (University of Virginia). WorldCat record id: 54097714

Thomas Sully was a portrait, miniature, and figure painter. He was born on June 19, 1783 in Horncastle, Lincolnshire, England, the fourth child of Matthew and Sarah Chester, who were both actors. In 1792, the family emigrated to the United States and settled in Charleston, S.C. Sully began his professional life in the office of an insurance broker. Although he and his employer soon realized his aptitude was for artistic endeavors, the time spent in business served Sully well as he was astute in his later financial affairs. Next, he was placed under the tutelage of Jean Belzons, and in September of 1799, he joined an older brother, Lawrence Sully, a miniature and device painter, in Richmond, Va. In 1801, he began his independent career in Norfolk, Va. Sully married his sister-in-law in 1805, after the death of his brother, and they moved to New York City. Two years later he moved on to Hartford, Ct. and Boston, Ma., but in 1808 settled permanently in Philadelphia, Pa.

From 1809 to 1810, Sully was in England receiving instruction from Benjamin West and Sir Thomas Lawrence. Upon his return and the subsequent deaths of Charles Willson Peale and Gilbert Stuart, he became the most prominent portrait painter in the United States. He knew most, if not all, the leading artists of the day, both in America and abroad. In 1837, the Society of Sons of St. George commissioned Sully to paint a portrait of Queen Victoria. He traveled to England with his daughter, Blanche, and returned in 1838, having done many portraits. After returning to Philadelphia, Sully averaged 35-40 portraits a year for the remainder of his life and made occasional professional visits to Baltimore, Boston, Washington, D.C., Charleston, Providence, and Richmond. Among his subjects were Thomas Jefferson, Lafayette, Charles Carroll of Carrollton, Andrew Jackson, King Charles, Benjamin Rush, and Washington Irving. Sully died in Philadelphia on November 5, 1872. Of his nine children, six survived infancy and all were either amateur or professional artists, while one of his step-daughters married the portrait painter, John Neagle.

From the description of Papers, 1826-1872. (Winterthur Library). WorldCat record id: 84665605

Thomas Sully was a portrait, miniature, and figure painter. He was born on June 19, 1783 in Horncastle, Lincolnshire, England, the fourth child of Matthew and Sarah Chester, who were both actors. In 1792, the family emigrated to the United States and settled in Charleston, S.C. Sully began his professional life in the office of an insurance broker. Although he and his employer soon realized his aptitude was for artistic endeavors, the time spent in business served Sully well as he was astute in his later financial affairs. Next, he was placed under the tutelage of Jean Belzons, and in September of 1799, he joined an older brother, Lawrence Sully, a miniature and device painter, in Richmond, Va. In 1801, he began his independent career in Norfolk, Va. Sully married his sister-in-law in 1805, after the death of his brother, and they moved to New York City. Two years later he moved on to Hartford, Ct. and Boston, Ma., but in 1808 settled permanently in Philadelphia, Pa.

From 1809 to 1810, Sully was in England receiving instruction from Benjamin West and Sir Thomas Lawrence. Upon his return and the subsequent deaths of Charles Willson Peale and Gilbert Stuart, he became the most prominent portrait painter in the United States. He knew most, if not all, the leading artists of the day, both in America and abroad. In 1837, the Society of Sons of St. George commissioned Sully to paint a portrait of Queen Victoria. He traveled to England with his daughter, Blanche, and returned in 1838, having done many portraits. After returning to Philadelphia, Sully averaged 35-40 portraits a year for the remainder of his life and made occasional professional visits to Baltimore, Boston, Washington, D.C., Charleston, Providence, and Richmond. Among his subjects were Thomas Jefferson, Lafayette, Charles Carroll of Carrollton, Andrew Jackson, King Charles, Benjamin Rush, and Washington Irving. Sully died in Philadelphia on November 5, 1872. Of his nine children, six survived infancy and all were either amateur or professional artists, while one of his step-daughters married the portrait painter, John Neagle.

Sully's daughter, Blanche, was born in Philadelphia on August 13, 1814. She was her father's companion on several painting trips, including his trip to England to paint Queen Victoria. She was also with him in Charleston in in 1841 and made some sketches of scenery. An amateur painter and sketcher, she spent most of her life in Philadelphia and died on April 30, 1898.

From the description of Letters from England, 1837-1838. (Winterthur Library). WorldCat record id: 261228851

Thomas Sully was a portrait, miniature, and figure painter. He was born on June 19, 1783 in Horncastle, Lincolnshire, England, the fourth child of Matthew and Sarah Chester, who were both actors. In 1792, the family emigrated to the United States and settled in Charleston, S.C. Sully began his professional life in the office of an insurance broker. Although he and his employer soon realized his aptitude was for artistic endeavors, the time spent in business served Sully well as he was astute in his later financial affairs. Next, he was placed under the tutelage of Jean Belzons, and in September of 1799, he joined an older brother, Lawrence Sully, a miniature and device painter, in Richmond, Va. In 1801, he began his independent career in Norfolk, Va. Sully married his sister-in-law in 1805, after the death of his brother, and they moved to New York City. Two years later he moved on to Hartford, Ct. and Boston, Ma., but in 1808 settled permanently in Philadelphia, Pa.

From 1809 to 1810, Sully was in England receiving instruction from Benjamin West and Sir Thomas Lawrence. Upon his return and the subsequent deaths of Charles Willson Peale and Gilbert Stuart, he became the most prominent portrait painter in the United States. He knew most, if not all, the leading artists of the day, both in America and abroad. In 1837, the Society of Sons of St. George commissioned Sully to paint a portrait of Queen Victoria. He traveled to England with his daughter, Blanche, and returned in 1838, having done many portraits. After returning to Philadelphia, Sully averaged 35-40 portraits a year for the remainder of his life and made occasional professional visits to Baltimore, Boston, Washington, D.C., Charleston, Providence, and Richmond. Among his subjects were Thomas Jefferson, Lafayette, Charles Carroll of Carrollton, Andrew Jackson, King Charles, Benjamin Rush, and Washington Irving. Sully died in Philadelphia on November 5, 1872. Of his nine children, six survived infancy and all were either amateur or professional artists, while one of his step-daughters married the portrait painter, John Neagle.

From the description of Memoirs of the professional life of Thomas Sully dedicated to his brother artists, Philadelphia, November 1851. (Winterthur Library). WorldCat record id: 261228852



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Occupations:

  • Artists.
  • Portrait-painters--Pennsylvania--Philadelphia.
  • Painters.

Places:

  • London (England) (as recorded)
  • United States (as recorded)
  • England--London (as recorded)
  • Pennsylvania--Philadelphia (as recorded)
  • London (England) (as recorded)
  • France (as recorded)
  • Pennsylvania--Philadelphia (as recorded)
  • Pennsylvania--Philadelphia (as recorded)
  • Pennsylvania--Philadelphia (as recorded)