SPECIAL ADVISORY: In accordance with Yale University’s revised COVID-19 protocols, the Yale University Art Gallery will close to the public beginning Friday, October 16, 2020. Learn More

American Paintings and Sculpture
PrevNext1 of 2
Photo credit: Yale University Art Gallery
PrevNext2 of 2
Photo credit: Yale University Art Gallery
Artist: John Trumbull, American, 1756–1843
Subject: John Rutledge, American, 1739–1800

John Rutledge (1739–1800)


Oil on wood

3 3/4 × 3 1/8 in. (9.5 × 7.9 cm)
Trumbull Collection

John Rutledge was elected governor of South Carolina in 1779 on the eve of the British invasion of Charleston. After the loss at Charleston, he raised money and troops for South Carolina’s liberation. He sat in the state House of Representatives from 1784 to 1790 and was elected chief justice of South Carolina in 1791. This miniature is part of a set of five depicting military officers who served during Revolutionary War campaigns in the South. With the exception of the portrait of Otho Holland Williams, these miniatures were painted by John Trumbull in Charleston, South Carolina, in February 1791. The inscriptions on the miniatures suggest that in addition to the fourteen history paintings Trumbull included in the lists he announced in 1790, he considered painting at least two other Revolutionary War scenes: The Siege of Savannah and The Attack on Charleston. Neither of these was ever executed.

Made in Charleston, South Carolina
On view
18th century

Helen A. Cooper et al., John Trumbull: The Hand and Spirit of a Painter (New Haven, Conn.: Yale University Art Gallery, 1982), 142, pl. 86-90.

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), 101, no. 43, 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.