Thomas Sully, 1869. Smithsonian Institute, aaa_macbgall_4844
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Thomas Sully
Date: American painter, 1783–1872
Biography: Thomas Sully was a highly successful painter of portraits, who also painted historical subjects, landscapes, and "fancy pictures." Sully was born in Lincolnshire, England, and his family immigrated to the United States when he was a boy. His parents were actors in Charleston, South Carolina, where his uncle managed a theater. Sully's talent was recognized early when he studied miniature painting with his brother-in-law Jean Belzons and portrait painting with Gilbert Stuart. By the age of 18, he was working as a professional painter. Sully settled in Philadelphia by 1806, where he became one of the nation's foremost portrait painters, depicting John Quincy Adams and Thomas Jefferson and traveling to England to paint Queen Victoria.