Self-Portrait Artist: John Trumbull (American, 1756–1843)

ca. 1802

American Paintings and Sculpture

Not on view

This grand self-portrait of John Trumbull as gentleman, patriot, and artist conveys the sense of accomplishment and purpose that he had gained by middle age. It was painted in London while the artist acted as secretary to John Jay of the Jay Treaty Commission, which had been formed to negotiate a treaty with Great Britain aimed at resolving outstanding issues between the two nations. The sword hilt under Trumbull’s hand and the palette with brushes are emblems of his dual service to America as an officer of the Revolution and as a visual recorder of its major events. From this time on, they would serve as Trumbull’s self-defining attributes.


Oil on canvas


29 3/4 × 24 9/16 in. (75.5 × 62.4 cm)

Credit Line

Gift of Marshall H. Clyde, Jr.

Accession Number



19th century


Note: This electronic record was created from historic documentation that does not necessarily reflect the Yale University Art Gallery’s complete or current knowledge about the object. Review and updating of records is ongoing.

  • Lance Mayer and Gay Myers, American Painters on Technique: The Colonial Period to 1860 (Los Angeles: J. Paul Getty Museum, 2011), 26, fig. 5
  • Helen A. Cooper et al., Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness: American Art from the Yale University Art Gallery, exh. cat. (New Haven, Conn.: Yale University Art Gallery, 2008), 1, 218–19, no. 119, ill
  • Helen A. Cooper et al., John Trumbull: The Hand and Spirit of a Painter (New Haven, Conn.: Yale University Art Gallery, 1982), 160, pl. 114
Object copyright
Additional information

Object/Work type

portraits, self-portraits

Technical metadata and APIs


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