Rufus King (1755–1827) Artist: John Trumbull (American, 1756–1843)


American Paintings and Sculpture

On view, 2nd floor, American Art before 1900

This portrait of Rufus King is part of a set of five miniatures painted in Philadelphia in 1792. Four are portrait studies for John Trumbull's proposed painting The Inauguration of the President; the fifth portrait represents Seneca chief Hauaugaikhon, a member of a delegation of American Indians invited to Philadelphia by George Washington. Following the inauguration, Washington addressed members of Congress, among them Senator King of New York, Representative Fisher Ames of Massachusetts, Senator John Langdon of New Hampshire, and Representative John Brown of Virginia. King and Trumbull began a lifelong friendship in Boston in 1778, when they both belonged to a group of recent Harvard graduates who met to discuss literature and politics. King served as a delegate to the Massachusetts general court (1783–85), was an outstanding speaker in Congress (1784–87), and a senator from New York (1789–96). In 1796, he was appointed minister to England, a post he held until 1803.


Oil on wood


4 × 3 1/4 in. (10.2 × 8.3 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), 99, no. 41, ill
  • Helen A. Cooper et al., John Trumbull: The Hand and Spirit of a Painter (New Haven, Conn.: Yale University Art Gallery, 1982), 133, pl. 61-65
Object copyright
Additional information

Object/Work type

miniatures (paintings), portraits


Signed verso: "Rufus King Esqr./Senator in the Congress/of the United States of/America: from the/State of New York: present/at the inauguration of the/first President./Painted in Phila. by/J. Trumbull 1792."

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