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Maker(s):Sully, Lawrence
Culture:American (1769-1803)
Title:Patrick Henry (1736-1799)
Date Made:1795
Materials:watercolor on ivory
Measurements:Overall: 2 9/16 in x 2 1/8 in; 6.5 cm x 5.4 cm
Accession Number:  AC 1945.115
Credit Line:Bequest of Herbert L. Pratt (Class of 1895)


Label Text:
Lawrence Sully’s miniature portrait of Patrick Henry captures the Revolutionary War hero’s unpretentious, steadfast character, largely unchanged since American Independence. The luminous portrait encourages a close look at the man who was at the forefront of opposition to the British in his native Virginia, led the charge against the Stamp Act, and famously declared, “Give me liberty or give me death!” Fine lines and shadows running across his face mark Henry as an accomplished and venerable elder. His double curl wig was long out of fashion by 1795.

Henry’s half-brother, John Syme, Jr., owned this miniature and likely cherished it as a poignant reminder of their shared experiences during the Revolution. The artist, Lawrence Sully, was the half-brother of the celebrated portrait painter Thomas Sully.

Written by Timothy Clark (Class of 2012)
American Art Intern, Spring 2011

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