Painting, Portrait of Patrick Henry (1736-1799)

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  • Lawrence Sully (1769-1804) and unidentified contributor
  • America, Pennsylvania, Philadelphia
  • Ca. 1834-1837
  • Oil on canvas
  • 1930-590,A

Ultimately, this portrait derives from Lawrence Sully's 1795 miniature likeness of Patrick Henry, which was taken from life. The direct prototype, however, may have been some intermediate image, such F. Wellmore's engraved portrait of Henry that appeared in James B. Longacre's and James Herring's National Portrait Gallery of Distinguished Americans, published in 1834-1839. (The engraving was taken from a sepia by Longacre, who based his work on the 1795 miniature).

The previous owner of Colonial Williamsburg's portrait suggested that its artist might have been John C. Grimes (1799-1837), a Kentucky-born student of Matthew Harris Jouett (1788-1827) who also associated (and may have studied) with Thomas Sully (1783-1872). Efforts to refute or substantiate the possibilty of Grimes's authorship continue as of this writing.

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