Poe  Portraits

Thomas Sully: Greatest Portrait Painter of the Philadelphia American Renaissance
Autographed copy of Thomas Sully self-portrait, engraved by John Sartain. From the collection of Cynthia Cirile
  Thomas Sully

Greatest Portrait Painter of the Philadelphia American Renaissance




While F.O.C. Darley was 'the darling' of the Poe Circle in Philadelphia, all gave their strongest accolades to Thomas Sully, not only as a fine painter, but as the man they all loved, admired and respected, and whom they all felt was 'the Greatest Man Alive.'


 
Portrait of Girl Reading

by Thomas Sully

This painting isn't listed by this name on Sully's list, but that doesn't mean it's not authentic! Whether it is by Thomas Sully, Thomas Sully, Jr., Julia Sully
Darley or even Robert Sully,
could the model be
Virginia Poe?

Click to read about Virginia


 
Virginia Poe? by Thomas Sully


Blanch with Red Feather, Thomas Sully's daughter
Blanch with Red Feather, Thomas Sully's daughter
  Blanch with Red Feather



is an 1840 portrait of the artist's daughter, by Thomas Sully (signed simply 'TS'), documented as an original 'Sully' by the artist himself, as well as by Sully's first biographers, Biddle and Fielding (painting 1690 on their list). This lovely portrait is also from the collection of Dr. Marion Rundell.


 
Mrs. Elizabeth Graham

This painting depicts one of the primary hostesses of Philadelphia artistic 'conversaziones,' and the wife of Poe's publisher, George Rex Graham, was painted by Thomas Sully, in the 1830s, as documented by Sully himself, as well as by Biddle and Fielding. Both Edgar and Virginia Poe spent many pleasurable evenings at soirees hosted by the gregarious Grahams.

The style of this painting is very much the same as a painting Thomas Sully did of Virginia Poe, currently in the possession of the Poe family, but which will be reproduced for the first time in my book.

 
Mrs. Elizabeth Graham


Eliza Poe
Eliza Poe (1787 - 1811)
  Eliza Poe

This is the only known portrait of Poe's mother, a prominent stage actor and singer of her period. Traditionally, this portrait has been regarded with reverence by Poe scholars, as a 'real painting of Eliza Poe.' But this 'portrait of Eliza Poe' is, at best, an amateur artist's attempt to reproduce a missing, or destroyed, miniature of Eliza, most likely the one certainly executed by Thomas Sully in 1803, when Eliza was being billed under her current married name, "Mrs. Hopkins."

The prevailing theory among Sully scholars is this: if Thomas Sully did not enter a painting in his "Painting List," he did not execute the painting, period. I think this judgment is entirely too severe, as it turns a very nice and spontaneous man into one who was so obsessed by 'list making' that he never, ever 'slipped up.' That this is not the case is proven by the example given vis a vis Sully's portrait of Edgar A. Poe.

In the case of Sully's painting of Poe's mother, fortunately, Sully did indeed cite this painting on his "List." It is most likely that Poe's story, The Oval Portrait, in which he specifically mentions Thomas Sully, was inspired by Sully's miniature of his mother. If it is true, as Marie Louise Shew stated, that Poe wore a miniature of his mother in a locket around his neck, then it was certainly Sully's original, and not this copy, that Poe kept "near his heart."   Click to read more


 
Lord Byron

by Thomas Sully
 
Lord Byron, by Thomas Sully


Fake Poe, (supposedly) 'by Sully'
Fake Poe, (supposedly) "by Sully"
  Fake Poe,

(supposedly) " by Sully"









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