Thomas Jefferson

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

Date: 1788

Medium: Oil on mahogany

Dimensions: 4 1/2 x 3 1/4 in. (11.4 x 8.3 cm)

Classification: Paintings

Credit Line: Bequest of Cornelia Cruger, 1923

Accession Number: 24.19.1


Trumbull met Thomas Jefferson (1743–1826) in 1785 when Jefferson, then American minister to France, was in London. Jefferson invited him to be his guest in Paris, an offer that Trumbull took up twice, in 1786 and 1787. In 1787, he painted Jefferson from life into his small canvas depicting the Declaration of Independence (Yale University Art Gallery). The present portrait, copied from the Declaration, was painted sometime between March and July of 1788 and presented to Jefferson's close friend, Mrs. John B. Church. Trumbull made other copies for Mrs. Maria Cosway (Collection of the White House, Washington, D.C.) and for Jefferson's daughter Martha (Thomas Jefferson Memorial Foundation, Charlottesville, Virginia).