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"S" is for Sully, Thomas (1783-1872)

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"S" is for Sully, Thomas (1783-1872). Portraitist. Sully was born in Lincolnshire, England. In 1792 the entire family immigrated to the United States and in 1794 settled in Charleston. Sully studied with several local artists before leaving the city in 1799. He went to England in 1809 where he, like other aspiring artists, spent his time copying canvases by Benjamin West and old masters painters. Returning home, he made Philadelphia his base for the rest of his career—with short sojourns to East Coast cities in pursuit of portrait commissions In 1841 and 1845 he was in Charleston where he  painted thirty-nine canvases. Quite businesslike, Sully maintained a register of his paintings that documents that he painted more than two thousand canvases during his long life. Thomas Sully was this country’s preeminent portrait painter of the nineteenth century.

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Dr. Walter Edgar has two programs on South Carolina Public Radio: Walter Edgar's Journal, and South Carolina from A to Z. Dr. Edgar received his B.A. degree from Davidson College in 1965 and his Ph.D. from the University of South Carolina in 1969. After two years in the army (including a tour of duty in Vietnam), he returned to USC as a post-doctoral fellow of the National Archives, assigned to the Papers of Henry Laurens.