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American Paintings and Sculpture
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Photo Credit: Christopher Gardner
Photo credit: Christopher Gardner
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Photo credit: Yale University Art Gallery
Artist: William Verstille, American, 1757–1803

Caleb Bull (1746-1797)

ca. 1790–95

Watercolor on ivory

1 3/8 × 1 1/4 in. (3.5 × 3.2 cm)
Mabel Brady Garvan Collection
1935.256

The son of a merchant, artist William Verstille moved with his family from Boston to Wethersfield, Connecticut, in 1761. While serving in the army during the American Revolution, he painted miniatures of several officers. Verstille worked in Philadelphia from 1782 to 1783; in New York in 1784 and again from 1787 to 1790; and in Connecticut and southern Massachusetts during the 1790s. His account book from the New York period records a miniature he painted of President George Washington and pieces of jewelry and hairwork for Martha Washington.

One of Verstille’s several portraits of officers of the American Revolution, this miniature depicts Caleb Bull. A Revolutionary War captain, Bull was also the first director of the Hartford Bank, in Connecticut, and a business partner in a Hartford silversmith firm. In 1778 he married his second wife, Mary Otis, who died seven years later.

Geography: 
Possibly made in Boston, Massachusetts, United States
Status: 
Not on view
Culture: 
American
Period: 
18th century
Classification: 
Miniatures - Jewelry
Bibliography: 

Maeva Marcus and Robert Perry Frankel, The Documentary History of the Supreme Court of the United States, 1789–1800, Eight (New York: Columbia University Press, 2007), 103, ill.

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 such records is ongoing.