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Thomas Sully

Sully, Thomas
Place Made:
Philadelphia Pennsylvania United States of America
Date Made:
oil –wood
WOA 26 1/2; LOA 29 3/4 (framed)
Accession Number:
SITTER AND ARTIST: A self-portrait of the artist Thomas Sully (1783-1872) that was given as a gift to the Salem, North Carolina, painter Daniel Welfare (1797-1841). Welfare studied for a brief period with Sully in Philadelphia and named his son Thomas Sully Welfare.

Thomas Sully was born in Horncastle, England and emigrated to Charleston, South Carolina, with his parents in 1792. He studied painting in Charleston, South Carolina, with his brother-in-law Jean Belzons (active 1794-1812). He then moved to Richmond, Virginia, where he continued his studies with his older brother, the artist Lawrence Sully (1769-1804). He worked briefly in New York City before settling in Philadelphia. Sully’s Philadelphia studio became an important stop for young American painters looking to hone their craft.

DESCRIPTION: Bust-length portrait of a man facing slightly to the left and looking slightly over his right shoulder. He has short curly dark hair and wears a dark coat.

Gift from Thomas Sully to Daniel Welfare, accompanied by a letter [P-79]. Daniel Welfare left this painting to his son, Thomas Sully Welfare (died in Lexington) who left it to his son, Robert Noble Welfare (died in 1900), who left it to his aunt Jane Edith Welfare.
Credit Line:
Wachovia Historical Society