Thomas Sully

Artist Biography

Thomas Sully popularized a Romantic style of portraiture that took hold in the United States in the early nineteenth century. Born in England, Sully immigrated to America as a boy and trained under his older brother Lawrence, a miniaturist working in Richmond, Virginia. As Sully’s talent developed, he acquired a large group of patrons who sponsored him to study portraiture in England under Sir Thomas Lawrence and Benjamin West. Sully spent the remainder of his life in Philadelphia, where he established himself as the country’s leading portraitist, creating elegant, refined, and distinctly beautiful works. Among his most notable commissions were paintings of President Andrew Jackson, the Marquis de Lafayette, and Queen Victoria of England. Museums continue to hold him in high regard; his paintings can be found in the collections of The White House, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, the National Gallery of Art, the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum, the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, and the Philadelphia Museum of Art.

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