Memoirs of the professional life of Thomas Sully dedicated to his brother artists, Philadelphia, November 1851.

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Sully, Thomas, 1783-1872. Memoirs of the professional life of Thomas Sully dedicated to his brother artists, Philadelphia, November 1851.

Memoirs of the professional life of Thomas Sully dedicated to his brother artists, Philadelphia, November 1851.

This volume of Sully's memoirs covers two areas of his professional life: the techniques of his artistry and his recollections of some of the painters that he knew. In the preface to this manuscript, Sully writes that through his work as an artist, he collected hints and gained experiences that he wanted to pass on to other painters. Among the painting techniques that Sully wrote about were the most important facial features that a portrait needed to highlight, how to paint backgrounds, the usefulness of sketching and modelling in clay for the painter, and how to most effectively arrange a palette. Sully reconstructs a palette that he considered "the best I have tried" and another that he customarily used for a third portrait sitting. Reflecting his admiration for Gilbert Stuart, Sully records two of his palettes, one of which was designed specifically for painting flesh. Sully also addresses different ways in which varnishes were used and provides formulae for paints and varnishes. He even includes a color chart to show how primary colors are mixed to produce other colors. Sully used small drawings to amplify his thoughts. One illustration depicts John Trumbull's small exhibition room on Barclay St., New York City, while another relates to the use of light in portrait painting. Sully comments on painters of his and other generations and critiques their work. Artists including Gilbert Stuart, Thomas Gainsborough, Henr y Fuseli, Charles Willson Peale, Benjamin West, Joshua Reynolds, Washington Allston, Thomas Lawrence, C.R. Leslie, and J.M.W. Turner all come under Sully's scrutiny. Of West, he notes: "I need not say how much I reaped from the services of this good man; he treated me as if I had been his son." Sully also remarks on a study group in which he took part while in London and his activities with other artists everywhere. In 1873, a short edited version of this text, Hints to Young Painters and the Process of Portrait Painting, was printed under Sully's name as a posthumous publication. F. T. S. Darley, Sully's grandson, edited the volume for publication and it contains Darley's penciled-in editorial modifications.

1 v. (ca. 70 p.) : ill. (1 col.) ; 25 cm.

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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 cro...

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