Thomas Sully
Born Horncastle, England, June 19, 1783. Died Philadelphia, November 5, 1872.

Thomas Sully is best remembered for his portraits of women (fig. 1). As the magazine Godey’s Lady’s Book proclaimed in 1844, "Sully, as all the world knows, paints exquisitely beautiful portraits of ladies. His praise is in all the parlours."1As an artist, he recommended "flattery—nothing so sure of success as flattering your portraits."2 During his seventy-year career, he executed more than twenty-six hundred paintings, of which more than two thousand were portraits.3 In addition to depicting fashionable men and women and completing grand public portrayals of politicians, military heroes, and popular actors, Sully painted subjects from history (fig. 2), literature, and religion; landscapes; and what he called "fancy pictures" of young women, children, and pets. His penchant for record keeping, in the form of journals, notes, and accounts of his pictures, resulted in a wealth of information about his career.

Figure 1. Thomas Sully, Margaret Siddons Kintzing (Mrs. Benjamin Kintzing), 1812, oil on canvas, 36 1/16 x 29 1/16 in. (91.6 x 73.8 cm), Worcester Art Museum, Museum purchase, 1917.35. Figure 2. Thomas Sully, Capture of Major André, 1812, oil on canvas, 22 3/8 x 30 1/8 in. (56.8 x 77.1 cm), Worcester Art Museum, Gift of Andrew J. Bates II, 1991.113.
Sully was born in Horncastle, Lincolnshire, England on June 19, 1783, to the actors Matthew and Sarah Sully. In March 1792 the Sullys and their nine children immigrated to Richmond, Virginia, where Thomas’s uncle managed a theater. The boy attended school in New York City until 1794, when his mother died and he returned to Richmond. By July of that year the family was in Charleston, South Carolina, where Thomas and his siblings acted in plays and where, for a short time, he was a schoolmate of the future miniaturist Charles Fraser (1782–1860). After a brief apprenticeship to an insurance broker who recognized his artistic talent, Sully studied with his brother-in-law Jean Belzons (active 1794–1812), a French miniaturist, until they had a falling-out in 1799.4 He then returned to Richmond to learn "miniature & Device painting" from his elder brother Lawrence Sully (1769–1804).5

In 1801 Thomas moved with Lawrence’s family to Norfolk, Virginia, where he painted his first miniature from life, of his brother Chester, followed by nine other miniatures that year. With these works he began his "Account of Pictures"—a document he maintained until 1871—in which he duly jotted down the date he began a picture, its size, the title of the work or sitter’s name, the price, and the completion date.6 In 1802 Sully attempted his first oil portrait, which measured twelve by ten inches.7 After Lawrence died, two years later, Thomas set aside his hopes to go to Europe for further study and instead supported his widowed sister-in-law, Sarah Annis Sully, and her three children.8 Sarah and Thomas married on June 27, 1806, and together they had six daughters and three sons.9

When the British actor and theater manager Thomas Abthorpe Cooper (1776–1849) posed for Sully for his portrait in Richmond, he encouraged the artist to move to New York and advanced him money for portrait commissions. In November 1806, Sully set up a "painting room in a part partitioned off from the Coffee room" of the Park Theatre, which Cooper leased.10 In addition to producing likenesses of actors and actresses, he also painted two landscape views and an image of Venus for his patron.11 In late July 1807, Sully left his family at a boardinghouse in Hartford, Connecticut, to spend three weeks in Boston with Gilbert Stuart.12 He worked on a head-size likeness of one J. P. Davis, Esq., "as a specimen to shew Stuart," and claimed that the instructions he received from the older artist were "worth gold to me."13

Sully left New York for Philadelphia in 1808 because the Embargo Act of December 1807, which prohibited United States trade with other countries, greatly hurt the domestic economy and affected even his portrait commissions.14 He opened a studio in Philadelphia. "In hope of getting more known, and more into practise," he noted in his journal, "I proposed to the public to paint 30 portraits at $30 each, which scheme I found to answer my expectations."15 But one of his subscribers, a Mr. Redwood, actually insisted on paying Sully’s regular price of $50 for a bust-size portrait.16 In June 1808, the artist and museum keeper Charles Willson Peale wrote to his son Rembrandt, then studying art in Paris, that "Mr. Sully has removed to a handsome house in Arch street, if I am not mistaken at a rent of 500$ [sic] I believe he is very industrious, otherwise such a rent would be too much for him."17 However, the elder Peale apparently did not have much fear of competition; he observed in a later letter to Rembrandt that Sully’s "drawing is faulty in most of the pictures which are now in his show-room."18

Sully was well aware that his art would benefit from study abroad. Before leaving for London to study with the American expatriate painter Benjamin West in June 1809, he became an American citizen. He left Sarah and the children in Philadelphia under the care of his friend the miniaturist Benjamin Trott (about 1770–1843).19 Although the trip was financed by a group of Philadelphians who commissioned copies from him, Sully lived frugally with fellow artist Charles Bird King (1785–1862). "We limited our diet to potatoes, milk, bread and butter," he wrote, "by which means I was enabled to make my $400 last me nine months in London."20 He painted a study of his roommate’s head to show West, who, Sully reported, "looked at it dubiously, and asked me whether I understood anatomy or osteology, and upon my confession that I did not, he set me to work studying these."21 The young artist also drew from sculpture casts and from live models, fulfilled the commissions of his sponsors, painted landscapes, and copied paintings in West’s collection. Since West was then primarily concentrating on history painting, he encouraged Sully to seek instruction from leading English portraitists, including Sir Thomas Lawrence (1769–1830), whose work had a lasting influence on him.22

Figure 3. Thomas Sully, George Frederick Cooke as Richard III, 1811, oil on canvas, 94 7/8 x 60 1/2 in. (241.0 x 153.7 cm), Courtesy of the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, Gift of friends and admirers of the artist, 1812.1.

Not long after returning to Philadelphia in April 1810, Sully realized he could raise his prices. For instance, his typical charge for a bust portrait, measuring thirty by twenty-five inches, increased from $60 in 1810 to $100 in 1812.23 His successful 1811 full-length portrayals of two popular actors, William Burke Wood (Corcoran Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C.) and George Frederick Cooke as Richard III (fig. 3), enhanced his reputation.24 By 1812, Sully had been elected to honorary membership in the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts and had moved his home and studio to Philosophical Hall.25 Three years later, Charles Willson Peale informed Benjamin West that Sully "is now following the portrait line with considerable success in the city of Philadelphia."26 The "Account of Pictures" confirms this, recording an impressive output of thirty-four portrait commissions in 1815.27

Sully did not always receive cash for his work. Especially in the early phase of his career, he painted portraits to settle his accounts; under these circumstances, he did a bust likeness for "Mr. Pore, Cabinet maker" in 1806 and, in 1811, produced a portrait of two children for "Talbot Hamilton in exchange for a time-piece."28 He even painted three portraits in trade for "the picture of a Lady in Green velvet painted by Rigaud."29

Sully often had trouble collecting payment from his clients, and at times accepted less than he wanted. On December 11, 1836, for example, he complained that "I have this week sent in several bills to collect money and of claims to the amount of 1500. I have collected but 100; some plead for time and want of funds; others say without hesitation that they cannot pay while others take no notice of the bill."30 Beginning in the 1840s, Sully reported a decline in commissions. In 1842, to attract clients, he offered a special deal: "In consequence of being out of business I have proposed to paint 15 portraits (head size) for $50.00." His previous price for this size, which was smaller than a bust portrait, was $150.31 But the discount made little difference; and as 1843 drew to a close, Sully noted that he had not had a commission since October. This situation was so troubling that he mentioned it in his journal three more times before the year ended.32

When business was especially slow, Sully turned to other subjects. In November 1840, for example, he wrote, "In the want of other employment I have painted on a fancy piece—’Family Group’ during the last week."33 In 1841 he began a study for a full-length equestrian portrait of George Washington. The final composition (Union League of Philadelphia), measuring 148 by 112 inches, was completed by November 21, 1842. But it had not been commissioned, and finding a buyer was difficult.34 Although Sully invited the press to his studio to see the portrait a week after he finished it, it was not until December 1844 that a columnist for Godey’s Lady’s Book wrote, "His late equestrian portrait of Washington . . . is a magnificent affair, and ought to be bought by some state capitol or in the legislative halls, or the President’s mansion at the seat of government of the United States."35 But even this favorable publicity did not result in a sale. Finally, in 1863, the members of the Union League of Philadelphia purchased the painting by subscription.36

Sully supplemented his income by completing unfinished portraits, retouching older portraits, and painting copies. The retouchings often involved repair. But on March 10, 1840, he noted a more unusual case: "Begun some requested alterations in the dress of Mrs. Collin’s portrait, painted 6 years ago—and was out of fashion!!"37 In another instance of retouching, he actually had the subject sit "to give it the air of an original."38 In addition, Sully frequently painted posthumous images from earlier life portraits or miniatures of the sitter, as well as from memory.39

Although Philadelphia remained Sully’s home from 1808 until his death, his records reveal that he traveled until age seventy.40 He made numerous painting trips to Boston, Providence, New York, West Point, Annapolis, Baltimore, Washington, Charleston, and other cities to prepare sketches and studies for portraits. In December 1840 he visited Baltimore to secure commissions, which were then in short supply in Philadelphia.41 Whether or not Sully advertised his arrival in a city and gave his studio’s location, his appearance typically did not go unnoticed. For instance, on November 27, 1841, the Charleston Courier announced:

The Amateurs of the Fine Arts have great cause to congratulate the public of Charleston, on the arrival from Philadelphia of THOMAS SULLY, ESq. The refined taste and talent of ?this gentleman are of the first order, and have secured for him a reputation not to be excelled by the most eminent artists of Europe and America. His urbane manners and gentlemanly deportment are well known in this community, and I sincerely hope and trust that during his residence in the city of Charleston, such of our fellow-citizens, as are desirous of having their portraits taken, will avail themselves of this favorable opportunity which is now offered by applying to Mr. SULLY for the aid of his professional services, and prove how highly they can appreciate genuine worth and talents.42

Sully also recorded paying calls on other artists’ studios on his travels. In June 1828, for example, he was in Boston, where he "visited Allston, Peale—the Exhibition—endeavoured to see poor Stuart, but he was too ill to admit us."43

Sully returned to England for a second time, in October 1837, with his daughter Blanche because the Society of the Sons of Saint George in Philadelphia had requested that he paint a portrait of the newly crowned Queen Victoria.44 He also received cash advances from Philadelphians such as Edward Carey and John Kintzing Kane for other pictures to be painted on this trip.45

Often during his career, Sully sought engravers for his own paintings; and he himself executed designs for these artisans, including maps, membership certificates, diplomas, book illustrations, and coats of arms for states. (The publication and distribution of an engraving of an artist’s work increased the artist’s audience and, commonly, resulted in financial gain.) In 1829, for instance, Sully wrote, "Mr. Childs offered me one third of the profits of the sale of an engraving from the head of Mr. Carroll, for the use of my portrait of him."46 Years earlier, in 1812, the catalogue for the second annual exhibition of the Society of Artists and the Pennsylvania Academy announced that Sully himself intended to publish an engraved version of his large painting The Lady of the Lake (unlocated), based on Sir Walter Scott’s 1810 narrative poem of the same title.47 Unfortunately, however, when the artist and critic George Murray reviewed the exhibition, he declared that the painting fell "rather short of what we had reason to expect from an artist of so much celebrity as Mr. Sully." Murray’s regret "that so much labour and pains have been bestowed on so indifferent a composition" may have been the reason Sully decided to forgo his engraving plans in this case.48 Other projects were more successful. David Edwin’s finished engraving of Sully’s 1813 portrait Dr. Benjamin Rush (Pennsylvania Hospital, Philadelphia) was exhibited at the Pennsylvania Academy’s annual exhibition in 1814. It had been engraved for a series published as "Delaplaine’s Repository of the portraits and lives of the Heroes, Philosophers, and Statesmen of America."49 In 1819 Sully did a drawing for the Philadelphia magazine The Port Folio that George Murray engraved.50 His full-length John Quincy Adams (Philipse Manor Hall State Historic Site, Yonkers, New York) was painted from life for the Philadelphia print publisher W. H. Morgan in 1825, and Sully asked that Asher B. Durand (1796–1886) do the engraving.51

Like other artists of his day, Thomas Sully probably aspired to paint a greater number of historical paintings but realized that portrait commissions would support his family. After he was elected an Academician of the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, in 1812, Sully submitted to that institution his copy after Peter Paul Rubens’s Tribute Money (about 1611–12, Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco) as the required example of his art.52 On December 21 that year, he noted in his journal that his "copy of Opie’s Gil Blass—sold to Academy F.A."53 Because Sully’s interest in history painting extended beyond copies by other artists, he advertised himself as a "Historical and Portrait Painter" in catalogues for the annual exhibitions at the Pennsylvania Academy.54His friend and fellow portraitist Jacob Eichholtz (1776–1842), who recognized Sully’s desire to paint historical subjects, expressed in an 1817 letter the hope that Sully’s "historical powers will now be called into action."

What exquisite pleasure it would give me to hear you were engaged in some large work; my satisfaction would be augmented if it were a subject taken from sacred scripture. It is certainly the wish of your friends that your talents be devoted to nobler subjects, than portraits, I am aware that it is your wish also, and hope the time near which will realize those prospects.55

Eichholtz was not alone in his sentiments. As late as December 1844, a Godey’s Lady’s Book columnist wrote: "Sully confines his pencil chiefly to portraits, in which department he has long held pre-eminence. . . . We wish Sully would paint grand historical subjects oftener."56

Figure 4. Thomas Sully, Passage of the Delaware, 1819, oil on canvas, 146 1/2 x 207 in. (372.1 x 525.8 cm), Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, Gift of the owners of the Old Boston Museum. Courtesy, Museum of Fine Arts, Boston. Reproduced with permission. © 2000 Museum of Fine Arts, Boston. All Rights Reserved.

Although opportunities for historical paintings were rare, Sully continued pursuing these commissions. In December 1816, when the General Assembly of the state of North Carolina sought an artist to paint two full-length portraits of George Washington for the State House, Sully’s proposal was accepted over that of Rembrandt Peale, whose proposed price was considerably higher. Sully suggested an original painting of Washington in place of the second portrait, explaining, "I think a very excellent historical Portrait might be painted from some well known incident in the Revolutionary War—for instance the passage of the Delaware, preparatory for the Battle of Princeton."57 North Carolina welcomed his idea, but the final picture, Passage of the Delaware (fig. 4), measured seventeen by twelve feet and was, therefore, too large for the State House. Undaunted, Sully sent the painting, completed on December 15, 1819, on tour; the Boston frame maker and gallery owner John Doggett (1780–1857) purchased it for $500 in 1823 and had an engraving made of it two years later.58

Despite the obstacles he encountered with the North Carolina State House project, Sully pursued another historical commission. On June 16, 1827, he wrote, "Dined with the Directors of the ‘Penn Association’; long discussion on the subject of the picture to be painted of Penn’s Landing—decided that Newcastle was the right Place—agreed to join the party in their proposed excursion to the place."59 In a November 1826 letter, James B. Longacre, who hoped to secure the commission to engrave the finished picture, indicated "that the Penn Society have contracted with Mr. Sully to paint a grand Historical picture of the landing of Wm Penn, and that the picture is to be completed within 3 years, and that it is to be engraved for the Society."60 In a September 1828 journal entry, the artist noted that he had asked "$4000 for the painting."61 The finished work was delivered to Sully’s commercial gallery on April 12, 1830, but there is no further discussion of it in his papers, and its present location is unknown.62

Later in the decade, Sully found himself out of the running for a particularly prominent historical commission. The November 25, 1837, edition of the New-York Mirror, A Weekly Journal, Devoted to Literature and the Fine Arts announced that he had been "passed over in the selection of painters to adorn the Capitol at Washington with subjects illustrative of American history, only because he drew his first breath in another country."63 For his part, Sully had resolved more than a year earlier not to seek an assignment to paint one of the Capitol murals, despite having been "advised to" and despite the fact that he would have been "glad to receive it."64 Although he did not explain his decision, he may have been offended by critics such as the one who wrote that Sully, "though an American painter, is not a native American."65

Sully participated actively in the Philadelphia art world. He was a member of the Franklin Institute and served as chairman of its Committee on the Fine Arts.66 In 1817–18 he was a member of the Committee of Correspondence at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts and in 1820, 1823, 1824, and 1831 sat on its Committee of Instruction. From 1816 to 1832 he served on the Academy’s board of directors, but he declined the presidency, to which he was elected in 1842.67 Sully also belonged to the Society of Artists of the United States, organized in 1810 for the purpose of establishing art schools and exhibiting works by contemporary American artists.68 The Society of Artists and the Pennsylvania Academy jointly sponsored the annual exhibitions held at the Academy; he exhibited almost every year from 1811 until 1870.69 These shows offered the artist opportunities to display and sell his work to a larger audience.70

Sully also showed his work outside Philadelphia. Mrs. Pierce Butler, late Miss Fanny Kemble (date and location unknown) was included in the 1835 Royal Academy exhibition in London, and the portrait Her Most Gracious Majesty the Queen (date and location unknown) was on view there five years later.71 Sully was represented in many of the Boston Athenaeum’s annual shows from 1827 until 1874 by portraits as well as paintings of literary subjects, copies, and "fancy pictures," such as Lost Child and Lady Reading (dates and locations of both unknown).72 And he occasionally exhibited paintings at the National Academy of Design in New York, to which he was elected a member in 1827.73

His interest in the cultural life of Philadelphia extended to music and theater. At Sully’s death, one local reporter noted that in addition to ranking among "the best American painters," he "was a musician of no small ability."74 He owned a pianoforte, which he had purchased in 1815.75 In 1817 he painted one portrait in exchange for a flute and another to cover tuition for his daughter Jane’s music lessons.76 He was a charter member of the Musical Fund Society of Philadelphia and was elected a director of music at its first formal meeting in 1820. Sully attended Musical Fund Society concerts and lectures and served as its vice-president from 1860 to 1873.77 And not surprisingly, this son of actors, who also painted portraits of actors, was an avid playgoer.

With the carver and gilder James S. Earle, Sully opened a commercial venue, Earle and Sully’s Exhibition Gallery, on Chestnut Street in 1819.78 He had known Earle as the proprietor of the Shakespeare Gallery as early as 1809, when he recorded delivering a copy of "Northcot’s Romeo and Juliet" to a Mr. Earle.79 Two years earlier, Sully had tried running a gallery himself, opening an "Exhibition Room to the public in the Philosophical Hall N.E. Room."80 He advertised in Paxton’s Philadelphia Directory and charged an admission fee of twenty-five cents.81 Yet the venture quickly proved to be unsuccessful. "Closed my Exhibition," he reported in his journal in March 1818. "I find the average receipts scarcely pay the current expenses."82 By contrast, Earle and Sully’s Exhibition Gallery operated until at least 1846, featuring original paintings as well as copies of Old Masters by Sully and his contemporaries.83 The partners also rented out exhibition space. For example, in May 1824 Thomas Cooper exhibited his tapestry collection and agreed to divide the expenses and receipts with Sully and Earle.84 Admission to the gallery was twenty-five cents; season tickets were available as well.85

Sully continued studying throughout his career. A sketchbook he kept from about 1810 to about 1820 (Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York) contains drawings after the work of other artists as well as ideas for portraits. For instance, on one page he drew an elaborate chair, and on the verso he depicted a woman seated in the same chair. While he was in London in 1837, waiting to be granted a sitting with Queen Victoria, he wrote about using the time "to acquire some useful hint in my profession."86 On November 20 he "attended a lecture on anatomy at the Royal Academy by Mr. Green," and on another occasion he copied a portrait by Lawrence.87 During his first stay in London, in 1809–10, Sully began keeping a notebook of his observations about art, and he continued this practice for the rest of his life.88 He often used the notebook to criticize his own work. For example, about an 1826 portrait of a Mrs. Downing, he wrote, "By taking too much pains with the detail I have sacrificed breadth; by muddling colours I have lost clearness."89 Apparently, he thought that some of his notes on sizes and prices charged by other artists, experiments with different media, varnishes, and palette colors would be useful to his students. He even compiled a list of possible subjects for paintings, and included his transcriptions from the biographies of well-known artists.90 In 1851 Sully gathered this material into a volume, Hints to Young Painters and the Process of Portrait Painting, which was published after his death.91

Finally, Sully was a teacher. In August 1819, The Port Folio reported that he had consented "to direct the studies of gentlemen desirous of becoming professional artists, has made an arrangement to accommodate those who may address him on the subject. His terms may be learned on application at his rooms, adjoining the Athenaeum."92 He taught his own children, his nephew Robert Matthew Sully (1803–1855), and his son-in-law John Neagle (1796–1865), as well as the painters Charles Robert Leslie (1794–1859) and Jacob Eichholtz, among many others. He frequently listed names of students in his journal, including Douglass, "a coloured boy," whose good work prompted the artist to "continue to lend him assistance."93 Occasionally, Sully found himself with too many students, as in August 1825, when he wrote, "Students of painting multiply."94 In September 1833, he recorded in his journal that from then on he would "adopt a plan of charging for instruction."

[S]ince neither my health nor leisure will admit of my giving away my time—the terms in my plan was to instruct only such as have acquired a competent knowledge of drawing. I proposed to give one afternoon in each week during the year, say from 3 o’clock until sunset, at my painting room. My pupils bring their performances for my criticism and advice; I furnish models and advice only; for which I demand $500 per annum, paid in advance.95

Although Sully continued painting and exhibiting until the end of his life, his portrait commissions decreased after 1855, and he suffered financially. To help out, the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts awarded him an annual stipend of $1,000 from 1867 until his death.96 In 1871 he recorded having produced thirty-six paintings, of which only four were commissioned portraits; most had been "fancy pictures," to which he resorted when he had too few portrait assignments.97

Sully died at his home in Philadelphia on November 5, 1872, "honored and loved by all who knew him . . . at a good old age full of years and honors."98 The artist was buried in the Laurel Hill Cemetery.99 Three years earlier, he had published an anecdotal and autobiographical article, "Recollections of an Old Painter," in the magazine Hours at Home: A Popular Monthly of Instruction and Recreation. "I think the progress of American art, considering its opportunities, has been wonderful," Sully concluded, "and that this country will yet rival everything that has been done."100

1. Visit to the Painters 1844, 277.

2. Sully’s "Journal," April 14, 1833, 92. See also Sully’s "Hints for Pictures," November 1850, frame 213.

3. There is no accurate tally of Sully’s portraits, since the artist did not record them in his "Account of Pictures." See Fabian 1983, 23 n 30.

4. Ibid., 10.

5. Sully’s "Journal," September 27, 1799, 1.

6. See Sully’s "Account of Pictures."

7. Hart 1908, 399, no. 44.

8. Sully’s "Journal," September 1804, 4.

9. Hart 1908, 390–92.

10. Sully’s "Journal," December 16, 1806, 5.

11. Ibid., July 5 and 25, 1807, 6–7.

12. Ibid., July 28, 1807, 7.

13. Sully 1869, 70; Dunlap 1918, II, 250–51.

14. Sully’s "Account of Pictures," frame 10.

15. Sully’s "Journal," February 1808, 8.

16. Ibid., July 14, 1808, 9.

17. Charles Willson Peale, Philadelphia, to Rembrandt Peale, Paris, June 26 and July 3, 1808, as quoted in Miller 1988, 1094. See also Sully’s "Journal," September 9, 1808, 9.

18. Charles Willson Peale, Philadelphia, to Rembrandt Peale, Paris, September 11, 1808, as quoted in Miller 1988, 1139.

19. Sully’s "Journal," June 9, 1809, 10–11.

20. Ibid., July 24, 1809, 11.

21. Sully 1869, 69.

22. Sully’s "Journal," July 24, 1809, 11. See also Evans 1980, 151–56. His notes contain numerous observations about Lawrence’s work and techniques. See Sully’s "Hints for Pictures," frames 78, 80, 97–98, 105, 132, and 133. His Mrs. Hughes (about 1830, Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York) is based on Lawrence’s Julia, Lady Peel (1827, Frick Collection, New York). Before painting Mrs. Hughes, Sully did an ink-and-wash copy of the Englishman’s portrait (private collection). See Bedford Gallery 1973, 17.

23. For a record of price increases up to 1851, see Sully’s "Hints for Pictures," November 5, 1835, frames 139–40, and November 15, 1851, frames 219–20.

24. United States’ Gazette (Philadelphia), October 2, 1812. See also Johns 1983. For the Cooke portrait and its impact, see Quick 1981, 128.

25. Fabian 1983, 20, 73; Sully’s "Journal," June 22, 1812, 14.

26. Charles Willson Peale, Germantown, Pennsylvania, to Benjamin West, London, September 11, 1815, as quoted in Miller 1991, 358.

27. Sully’s "Account of Pictures," 1815, frame 19.

28. Sully’s "Journal," April 1806, 5, and August 1811, 14.

29. Ibid., June 9, 1809, 10.

30. Ibid., December 11, 1836, 114. This was not a new problem, but it appears to have worsened over time. For instance, in May 1813 several gentlemen purchased George Frederick Cooke as Richard III and presented it to the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts. However, at the end of 1816, Sully noted that the subscribers had even by then not finished paying for the work. See Sully’s "Journal," Review of the Concerns for the Year 1816, 20.

31. Sully’s "Journal," December 13, 1842, 256. For his prices in 1837, see Sully’s "Hints for Pictures," March 1, 1837, frame 140.

32. Ibid., November 20, December 9, 14, and 16, 1843, 269–70.

33. Ibid., November 26, 1840, 229.

34. Ibid., May 3, 1841, 235. According to Joseph Sill, Sully had hoped to sell the Washington portrait to the state of North Carolina. See Excerpts from the Diaries of Joseph Sill, November 26, 1842, Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution, Washington, D.C. (hereafter cited as AAA), microfilm reel P29, frames 332–33.

35. Visit to the Painters 1844, 277–78; Sully’s "Journal," November 28, 1842, 256. At the end of the year, this portrait was listed among pictures not sold; it was valued at $2,000. Sully’s "Journal," Review of the Concerns for the Year 1842, 257.

36. Whiteman 1978, 54–55.

37. Sully’s "Journal," March 10, 1840, 214. On April 14, 1833, Sully had noted, "Last Monday retouched the likeness I formerly painted of Mrs. Skinner—miserably thin of colour and deficient of impasting." Sully’s "Journal," April 14, 1833, 92.

38. On August 19, 1840, Sully wrote, "[R]etouched the portrait of Mrs. Wallace. Binney suggests a sitting from Mrs. Wallace to give it the air of an original." On August 30, Mrs. Wallace sat for her retouching. See Sully’s "Journal," August 30, 1840, 225.

39. See, for instance, Sully’s "Journal," April 29, 1815, 18.

40. See Thomas Sully notebooks, 1809–71, General Collection, Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library, Yale University; and Prown 1964.

41. Sully’s "Journal," December 12, 1840, 230.

42. Charleston Courier, November 27, 1841, as quoted in Rutledge 1949, 163.

43. Sully’s "Journal," June 22, 1828, 60.

44. Fabian 1983, 16, 94–99.

45. Sully’s "Journal," September 26, 1837, 120.

46. Ibid., January 18, 1829, 66.

47. Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts 1812, 18.

48. M[urray] 1812, 21.

49. Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts 1814, 18.

50. For Murray’s engraving after Sully’s design "So long have we been mated, fell Despair! +c.," see The Port Folio 7, no. 6 (June 1819): frontispiece.

51. Thomas Sully, Philadelphia, to Asher B. Durand, March 21, 1825, Charles Henry Hart Autograph Collection, AAA, microfilm reel D5, frame 299.

52. Thomas Sully to the Directors of the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, July 8, 1814, correspondence, documents, rough minutes etc., of the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, AAA, microfilm reel P63, frame 373.

53. Sully’s "Journal," December 21, 1812, 15.

54. Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts 1812, 30. Sully listed himself this way in the Academy’s exhibition catalogues as late as 1829. See Biddle and Fielding 1921, 28.

55. Jacob Eichholtz, Lancaster, Pa., to Thomas Sully, Philadelphia, January 19, 1817, Dreer Collection of Painters and Engravers, Historical Society of Pennsylvania, AAA, microfilm reel 20, frame 465.

56. Visit to the Painters 1844, 277.

57. Thomas Sully, February 20, 1817, to Daniel Peck, Esq., as quoted in Fehl 1973, 596.

58. For Passage of the Delaware, see Sully’s "Journal," December 15, 1819, 23; May 20, 1822, 26; February 11, 1823, 28; Review of the Concerns for the Year 1824, 34; and August 22, 69d. See also Philadelphia Inquirer, November 6, 1872.

59. Sully’s "Journal," June 16, 1827, 49.

60. James B. Longacre, Philadelphia, to John F. Watson, Esq., November 21, 1826, Historical Society of Pennsylvania, AAA, microfilm reel P28, frame 904.

61. Sully’s "Journal," September 29, 1828, 63.

62. Ibid., April 16, 1830, 75.

63. See "Thomas Sully, Esq.," New-York Mirror, A Weekly Journal, Devoted to Literature and the Fine Arts 15, no. 22 (November 25, 1837): 174. I thank Ann Uhry Abrams for bringing this reference to my attention.

64. Sully’s "Journal," June 25, 1836, 112.

65. New-York Mirror, A Weekly Journal, Devoted to Literature and the Fine Arts 12, no. 31 (January 31, 1835): 247. I thank Mark Thistlethwaite for bringing this reference to my attention.

66. Sully’s "Journal," October 22, 1842, 255.

67. Fabian 1983, 20.

68. As secretary of the Committee of Correspondence for the Society of Artists of the United States, Sully wrote to Thomas Jefferson to inform him that he had been elected an honorary member of the organization. See Thomas Sully, Philadelphia, to Thomas Jefferson, December 22, 1811, Thomas Jefferson Papers, Massachusetts Historical Society (hereafter cited as MHS), P-060, microfilm reel 7.

69. For a list of works Sully exhibited, see Rutledge 1955, 219–25.

70. Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts 1811, 5. The annual exhibitions were publicized in the local newspapers. See, for example, United States’ Gazette (Philadelphia), April 4, May 11, and June 16, 1812.

71. Graves VII, 1972, 302.

72. Perkins and Gavin 1980, 138.

73. Fabian 1983, 20; National Academy of Design 1943, II, 145–46; idem, 1973, II, 905.

74. "Obituary. Thomas Sully," Philadelphia Inquirer, November 6, 1872.

75. Sully’s "Journal," Review of the Concerns for the Year 1815, 19.

76. Ibid., April and August 1817, 20.

77. Maggie Kruesi, Department of Special Collections, Van Pelt-Dietrich Library Center, University of Pennsylvania, to Laura K. Mills, November 2, 1999. See also Madeira 1896, 58, 60; and Sully’s "Journal," February 25, 1839, 197; March 26, 1840, 215; May 19, 1841, 235; and June 19, 1843, 265.

78. See gallery-opening announcement in "The Fine Arts," The Port Folio 8, no. 2 (August 1819): 164.

79. Sully’s "Journal," January 3, 1809, 9.

80. Ibid., May 8, 1817, 20.

81. Paxton’s Philadelphia Directory, 1818, as quoted in Prime II, 1932, 31.

82. Sully’s "Journal," March 19, 1818, 21.

83. James McMurtrie, Philadelphia, to Washington Allston, Boston, May 16, 1819, Dana Family Papers, MHS, box 55; Sully’s "Journal," Review of the Concerns of the Year 1825, 39, and April 10, 1831, 81.

84. Sully’s "Journal," May 18, 1824, 31.

85. Ibid., January 7, 1827, 46.

86. Ibid., December 3, 1837, 127.

87. Ibid., November 20, 1837, 124, and June 11, 1838, 170.

88. Sully’s "Hints for Pictures," April 23, 1809, frame 76.

89. Ibid., July 7, 1826, frame 108.

90. Ibid., frames, 77, 78, 79, 96, 108, 140, and 143.

91. Sully 1873. See also Thomas Sully notebooks, 1809–71, General Collection, Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library, Yale University; and "Private Memorandum," Thomas Sully, 1837–59, leather-bound manuscript, Joseph Downs Collection of Manuscripts and Printed Ephemera, Henry Francis du Pont Winterthur Museum.

92. "The Fine Arts," The Port Folio 8, no. 2 (August 1819): 164.

93. Sully’s "Journal," March 16, 1829, 67.

94. Ibid., August 4, 1825, 36.

95. Ibid., September 1, 1833, 94.

96. For the "Sully Fund," see Goodyear 1976, 29.

97. Sully’s "Account of Pictures," 1871, frame 74; idem, November 26, 1840, 229.

98. "Obituary. Thomas Sully," Philadelphia Public Ledger, November 6, 1872.

99. He was buried in lot 41, section A, lot 41. Mary Ann Piechoski, Laurel Hill Cemetery Company, Philadelphia, to Laura K. Mills, November 26, 1999.

100. Sully 1869, 74.