Henry Laurens (1724–1792) Artist: John Trumbull (American, 1756–1843)


American Paintings and Sculpture

On view, 2nd floor, American Art before 1900

These five miniatures were done in preparation for The Treaty of Peace, an unexecuted painting commemorating the 1783 accord signed in Paris that ended the Revolutionary War. Congress deputized Henry Laurens, John Jay, and John Adams to act as American peace commissioners. At the negotiations, Laurens, a leading merchant and planter from Charleston, South Carolina, inserted an article protecting property, including slaves, from removal by the British Army.

John Jay, former president of the Continental Congress and future chief justice of the United States, participated in the peace talks while also serving as minister to Spain. He played a crucial role in defining the borders between the new nation and the British, Spanish, and French territories in North America. This miniature of Jay may also have been done in preparation for the unexecuted Inauguration of the President.

John Adams, later the second president of the United States, worked with Jay to make peace with England without French interference. Trumbull portrayed Adams in the formal attire of an American minister, probably as a study for The Treaty of Peace.

The last two miniatures are of George Hammond, secretary to the British delegation at the Treaty of Paris, and William Temple Franklin, Benjamin Franklin’s grandson. Trumbull painted Hammond’s likeness while the latter was visiting America, during his tenure as the first minister of Great Britain to the United States. Franklin was appointed secretary to the American delegation at the treaty talks.


Oil on wood


3 5/8 × 3 in. (9.2 × 7.6 cm)

Credit Line

Trumbull Collection

Accession Number



18th 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.


  • 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), 96–97, no. 39, ill.
  • Helen A. Cooper et al., John Trumbull: The Hand and Spirit of a Painter (New Haven, Conn.: Yale University Art Gallery, 1982), 135, pl. 66-70.

Object copyright
Additional information

Object/Work type

miniatures (paintings), portraits




signed verso: "Henry Laurens Esqr./President of Congress in 1778 confind in the/Tower of London 1780 & 1. & of the commissioners on the /part of America at the/Treaty with G Britain 1783/Painted by J. Trumbull/ in Charleston, So. Carolina/1791."

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