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John Trumbull
Born June 6, 1756(1756-06-06)
Lebanon, Connecticut
Died November 10, 1843 (aged 87)
New York, New York
Nationality American
Field Painting
Training with Benjamin West
Works Declaration of Independence (1817-1819)

John Trumbull (June 6, 1756 – November 10, 1843) was an American artist during the period of the American Revolutionary War famous for his historical paintings. His Declaration of Independence was used on the reverse of the two-dollar bill.


Early years

Trumbull was born in Lebanon, Connecticut, to Jonathan Trumbull, who was Governor of Connecticut from 1769 to 1784, and his wife. He entered the 1771 junior class at Harvard University at age fifteen and graduated in 1773. Due to a childhood accident, Trumbull lost use of one eye, which may have influenced his detailed painting style.[1]

As a soldier in the American Revolutionary War, Trumbull rendered a particular service at Boston by sketching plans of the British works, and witnessed the famous Battle of Bunker Hill. He was appointed second personal aide to General George Washington, and in June 1776 deputy adjutant-general to General Horatio Gates. He resigned from the army in 1777.

In 1780 he traveled to London, where he studied under Benjamin West. At his suggestion, Trumbull painted small pictures of the War of Independence and miniature portraits, of which he produced about 250 in his lifetime.

On September 23, 1780 British agent Major John André was captured in America, and on October 2, 1780, hanged as a spy. News reached Europe, and as an officer of similar rank as André in the Continental Army, Trumbull was imprisoned for seven months in London's Tothill Fields Bridewell.

In 1784 he was again in London working under West, in whose studio he painted his Battle of Bunker Hill and Death of Montgomery. Both works are now in the Yale University Art Gallery.

In 1785 Trumbull went to Paris, where he made portrait sketches of French officers for The Surrender of Cornwallis. With the assistance of Thomas Jefferson, he began Declaration of Independence, well-known from the engraving by Asher Brown Durand. This latter painting was purchased by the United States Congress, along with his Surrender of General Burgoyne, Surrender at Yorktown, and Washington Resigning his Commission. All now hang in the United States Capitol. Allegedly because Congress only voted enough money for four paintings for the Capital Rotunda, only these four of Trumbull's paintings on the Revolution are hung there. Not hung were Death of General Warren at Bunker Hill; Death of General Montgomery at Quebec; Capture of Hessians at Battle of Trenton; Death of General Mercer at Battle of Princeton. Trumbull's The Sortie Made by the Garrison of Gibraltar, 1789, owned by the Boston Athenaeum, is now in the Boston Museum of Fine Arts.

Middle years

Trumbull sold a series of 28 paintings and 60 miniature portraits to Yale University in 1831 for an annuity of US$1000. This is by far the largest single collection of his works. The collection was originally housed in a neoclassical art gallery designed by Trumbull on Yale's Old Campus, along with portraits by other artists.[2]

His portraits include full lengths of General Washington (1790) and George Clinton (1791), in New York City Hall, where there are also full lengths of Alexander Hamilton (1805, and the source of the face on the U.S. $10 bill[3]) and John Jay, and portraits of John Adams (1797), Jonathan Trumbull, and Rufus King (1800); of Timothy Dwight and Stephen Van Rensselaer (both at Yale), Alexander Hamilton (in the Metropolitan Museum of Art and in the Boston Museum of Fine Arts, both taken from Ceracchi's bust), a portrait of himself painted in 1833, a full length of Washington, at Charleston, South Carolina, a full length of Washington in military costume (1792), (now at Yale), and portraits of President and Mrs. Washington (1794), in the National Museum of American History.[citation needed]

Trumbull's own portrait was painted by Gilbert Stuart and by many others.

In 1794 Trumbull acted as secretary to John Jay in London during the negotiation of the treaty with Great Britain, and in 1796 he was appointed by the commissioners sent by the two countries the fifth commissioner to carry out the seventh article of the treaty.

Later years

Reverse of U.S. two-dollar bill
John Trumbull's Declaration of Independence

Trumbull was appointed president of the American Academy of the Fine Arts, a position he held for nine years, from 1816 to 1825, though he did not get along with the students, and his skills declined. Eventually by 1825, his lack of support for the students led to the down fall of the Academy with the students rebelling and founding the National Academy of Design.[4] He published an autobiography in 1841.

He died in New York City at the age of 88. He was originally interred (along with his wife) beneath the Art Gallery at Yale University that he had designed. In 1867, his collection, and the remains, were moved to the newly built Street Hall.[5] The Trumbull Gallery was later razed.

The John Trumbull Birthplace, in Lebanon, Connecticut, was declared a National Historic Landmark in 1965.


Gallery of Trumbull Paintings


Historic Events




External links


Up to date as of January 14, 2010
(Redirected to John Trumbull (poet) article)

From Wikiquote

John Trumbull (April 24, 1750May 11, 1831) was an American poet born in what is now Watertown, Connecticut, where his father was a Congregational preacher.


McFingal (1775-1782)

  • But optics sharp it needs, I ween,
    To see what is not to be seen.
    • Canto i, line 67.
  • But as some muskets so contrive it
    As oft to miss the mark they drive at,
    And though well aimed at duck or plover,
    Bear wide, and kick their owners over.
    • Canto i, line 93.
  • As though there were a tie
    And obligation to posterity.
    We get them, bear them, breed, and nurse:
    What has posterity done for us.
    That we, lest they their rights should lose,
    Should trust our necks to gripe of noose?
    • Canto ii, line 121.
  • No man e'er felt the halter draw,
    With good opinion of the law.
    • Canto iii, line 489.

External links

Wikipedia has an article about:

Source material

Up to date as of January 22, 2010

From Wikisource

Tribute to John Trumbull
by Lydia Sigourney
Information about this edition

To the memory of the Hon. John Trumbull, Author of M'Fingal, and other poems; a native of Connecticut: who died at Detroit, Michigan: a tribute to the memory of one who was no less the pride of his native State than of his Country; the patriotic bard, who having left among his native hills the thrilling Harp which had animated every camp, and enlivened every cottage, till its notes resounded across the Atlantic.

                              This was he
Whose shaft of wit had touch'd the epic strain
With poignant power. The Father of the Harp
In his own native vales. He seems to muse
As if those loved retreats did spread themselves
Again before his eye. The sighing wind
Through the long branches of those ancient trees
When first his boyhood lisp'd the love of Song
Doth lull his soul. There brighter visions gleam,
A sound of music rises. 'Tis thy voice Connecticut
As when by vernal rains
Surcharged, it swells in tuneful murmurs round
The vine-clad mansion where his children grew.
But the hoarse clangor of yon mighty Lakes
Holding high conflict with the winged Storm
      Doth quell its melody.
      And is it so
That in the feebleness of four-score years
Thou with unshrinking hand didst pitch thy tent
Near the broad billows of the Michigan
And mark in that far land young life start forth
In beauty and in vigor and in power
Where erst the Indian, and the Panther dwelt
Sole lords. It was a bold emprize
To change the robe of science and of mistrelsy
Worn from thy cradle onward
For the staff of the strong emigrant.
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Master and friend; until this feeble lyre
In silence moulders, till my heart forgets
The thrill of gratitude, the love of song,
The praise of knowledge, shall thine image dwell
Bright with the beauty of benignant age
      In my soul's temple-shrine!

PD-icon.svg This work published before January 1, 1923 is in the public domain worldwide because the author died at least 100 years ago.

1911 encyclopedia

Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From LoveToKnow 1911

There is more than one meaning of John Trumbull discussed in the 1911 Encyclopedia. We are planning to let all links go to the correct meaning directly, but for now you will have to search it out from the list below by yourself. If you want to change the link that led you here yourself, it would be appreciated.


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