Tuesday, November 16, 2010

19th-Century American Women by Thomas Sully 1783-1872

Not long after his return from eight months study with Benjamin West in London in 1809, Thomas Sully (1783-1872) became, with Gilbert Stuart, one of the most accomplished portraitists in the United States.

Sully was born in England, and came as a boy to Charleston, South Carolina, with his actor-parents. His initial instruction in painting was provided by his Charleston schoolmate, Charles Fraser; his brother-in-law, Jean Belzons; and his older brother, Lawrence Sully, all miniature portrait painters.

In 1799, Thomas followed his brother to Richmond, Virginia; and later both artists worked in Norfolk. Sully became a professional painter at age 18 in 1801. In 1806, he moved to New York City; and in 1807, he traveled to Boston for 3 weeks of instruction from Gilbert Stuart. Later that year he settled in Philadelphia, where he remained for his long career. Only a few of his amazing output of portraits are represented here.

1808 Thomas Sully (1783-1872). Sally Etting.

1809 Thomas Sully (1783-1872). Mary Abigail Willing Cole.

1812 Thomas Sully (1783-1872). Margaret Siddons (Mrs Benjamin Kintzing).

1813 Thomas Sully (1783-1872). Mary Harvey.

1813 Thomas Sully (1783-1872) Mrs. Caleb Newbold and Son.

1814 Thomas Sully (1783-1872). Anna Minor, Mrs Joseph Klapp.

1822 Thomas Sully (1783-1872). Elizabeth Bordley (Mrs. James Gibson).

1830 Thomas Sully (1783-1872). Mrs. William Griffin.

1830 Thomas Sully (1783-1872). Mary Anne Heide Norris.

1830 Thomas Sully (1783-1872). Mrs C. Ford.

1831 Thomas Sully (1783-1872). Mrs. Don Juan Didios Sebastian.

1831 Thomas Sully (1783-1872). Mrs. Ebenezer Stott.

1832 Thomas Sully (1783-1872). Abby Ann King Turner Van Pelt.

1833 Thomas Sully (1783-1872). Frances Ann Kemble.

1834 Thomas Sully (1783-1872). Ann Biddle Hopkinson (Mrs. Francis Hopkinson).

1834 Thomas Sully (1783-1872). Blanche Sully.

1834 Thomas Sully (1783-1872). The Love Letter.

1835 Thomas Sully (1783-1872). Jane Cooper Sully.

1836 Thomas Sully (1783-1872). Mary Ann Paton (Mrs. Wood).

1837 Thomas Sully (1783-1872). Elizabeth Anne Bates.

1838 Thomas Sully (1783-1872). Queen Victoria.

1839 Thomas Sully (1783-1872). Ann Elliott of Beaufort, South Carolina.

1839 Thomas Sully (1783-1872). Blanch Sully.

1839 Thomas Sully (1783-1872). The Gypsy.

1839 Thomas Sully (1783-1872). The Student.

1840 Thomas Sully (1783-1872). Mother & Son.

1842 Thomas Sully (1783-1872). Girl Reading.

1842 Thomas Sully (1783-1872) Mrs. George Lingen.

1844 Thomas Sully (1783-1872). Mrs. James Robb and Her 3 Children.

1845 Thomas Sully (1783-1872). Mrs James Montgomery Jr.

1851 Thomas Sully (1783-1872). Alexander Family.

1858 Thomas Sully (1783-1872). Sarah Leveing Riter (Mrs. Thomas Fitzgerald)

1863 Thomas Sully (1783-1872). Missy Kieps.

Thomas Sully (1783-1872). Mother & Child.

Thomas Sully (1783-1872). Elizabeth Blair Lee.

Thomas Sully (1783-1872). Elizabeth McEuen Smith.

Thomas Sully (1783-1872). Elizabeth Wharton (Mrs. William J. McCluney)

Thomas Sully (1783-1872). Girl in Pink.

Thomas Sully (1783-1872). Gossip.

Thomas Sully (1783-1872). Lady.

Thomas Sully (1783-1872). Lady With A Harp.

Thomas Sully (1783-1872). Miranda.

Thomas Sully (1783-1872). Miranda.

Thomas Sully (1783-1872). Miss Pearce.

Thomas Sully (1783-1872). Mother and Child.

Thomas Sully (1783-1872). Mrs. Fitzgerald and Daughter.

Thomas Sully (1783-1872). Mrs. Katherine Matthews.

Thomas Sully (1783-1872). Mrs Edward Hudson.

Thomas Sully (1783-1872). Mrs Henry McIlvaine.

Thomas Sully (1783-1872). Mrs Williams of Port Deposit.

Thomas Sully (1783-1872). Pocahontas.

Thomas Sully (1783-1872). Queen Victoria.

Thomas Sully (1783-1872).

Thomas Sully (1783-1872). Rebecca Gratz.


One More Stitch said...

Mrs. L's straw hat is my favourite one and Blanche Sully's could almost step out of the canvas!

Sully is one of my favourite painters - this was delightful!

BWS said...

I agree, his women are both classical and human.

Lisa Murphy said...


I am writing an Antebellum historical fiction and was surfing for images of people to keep in my head as I write. I particularly enjoyed your site, and thank you for the images. I have chosen several of the women as background for my characters. A wonderful site. Lisa

BWS said...

Thank you very much for your kind words.

Carla Gade said...

Beautiful portraits. Nice reference for the hair and clothing styles as well.

Barbara said...

Thank you, Carla.

Mini Okie said...

Thanks for posting the paintings. I am looking for one by Thomas Sully of Mrs Benjamin Howell (Frances Howell). According to book "The Life and Works of Thomas Sully" by Edward Fielding on pages 179-180, there are several paintings of the Howell family including one with Frances Howell and her two children. I would love to find these paintings since I am a descendant. Do you have any suggestions on how to locate these paintings?

Barbara said...

Go here to find what you are looking for


Melani said...

Wow! He certainly specialized in beautiful women--and what character in their faces! I am fascinated by this, as I am a student of the Indian Wars, and am familiar with his son, Gen. Alfred Sully. Thank you for this beautiful site!

Robert said...

I am trying to find more information about Thomas Sully's portrait of Elizabeth Blair Lee in your "19th Century American Women" post, specifically when it was painted, where it is now, and if a higher resolution scan is available.

Can you perhaps point me in the right direction?


Robert E. Oshel