The Sortie Made by the Garrison of Gibraltar

Artist: John Trumbull (American, Lebanon, Connecticut 1756–1843 New York)

Date: 1789

Medium: Oil on canvas

Dimensions: 71 x 107 in. (180.3 x 271.8 cm)

Classification: Paintings

Credit Line: Purchase, Pauline V. Fullerton Bequest; Mr. and Mrs. James Walter Carter and Mr. and Mrs. Raymond J. Horowitz Gifts; Erving Wolf Foundation and Vain and Harry Fish Foundation Inc. Gifts; Gift of Hanson K. Corning, by exchange; and Maria DeWitt Jesup and Morris K. Jesup Funds, 1976

Accession Number: 1976.332


Trumbull, like West and Copley, had an ambition to excel at history painting in the grand manner, to create pictures large in scale and heroic in import. Upon West's advice, he selected an important episode in the long siege of Gibraltar, when the Spaniards attempted to take the rock from the British. Trumbull portrayed a specific moment of British victory—when General George Eliott offers compassionate assistance to his dying foe, the young Don José de Barboza. The artist's ultimate purpose, however, was to emblematize the noble conduct of gentlemen, whatever the circumstances.