Thomas Sully (1783—1872)

by Thomas Sully (1783—1872)

Oil on canvas; 60.96 cm (24 in) x 50.8 cm (20 in). Private collection.

by Thomas Sully (1783—1872)

Oil on canvas. Philadelphia Society for the Preservation of Landmarks, Physick House, Philadelphia, PA.

by Thomas Sully (1783—1872)

Oil on canvas; 26 3/4 in. x 21 7/8 in. Yale University Art Gallery, Mabel Brady Garvan Collection, Yale University, New Haven, CT.

by Thomas Sully (1783—1872)

Oil on canvas; 22 3/8 x 30 3/8 in. (56.8 x 77.1 cm). Worcester Art Museum, Worcester, MA.

by Thomas Sully (1783—1872)

Oil on canvas. Penn Medicine, Pennsylvania Hospital Historic Collections, Philadelphia, PA.

by Thomas Sully (1783—1872)

Oil on canvas; 12 ft 2-1/2 in. x 17 ft. 3 in. (3.7 x 5.3 m). Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, MA.

by Thomas Sully (1783—1872)

Oil on canvas; 17 1/8 x 14 in. (43.5 x 35.6 cm). The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, NY.

by Thomas Sully (1783—1872)

Oil on canvas. Thomas Jefferson Foundation, Monticello, Charlottesville, VA.

by Thomas Sully (1783—1872)

Oil on canvas. United States Military Academy, West Point, NY.

by Thomas Sully (1783—1872)

Gouache and pencil on paper, laid down on paper; 24.13 cm (9.5 in.) x 15.88 cm (6.25 in). Private collection.

The most exciting scientific find of the period was Charles Willson Peale’s exhumation in 1801 near Newburgh, New York, of the bones of the mastodon, or mammoth. Peale displayed his mammoth in his celebrated museum and in 1806 painted a marvelous picture of what was perhaps the first organized exhumation in American history. Peale’s discovery electrified the country and put the word mammoth on everybody’s lips. A Philadelphia baker advertised the sale of mammoth bread. In Washington a mammoth eater ate forty-two eggs in ten minutes. And under the leadership of the Baptist preacher John Leland, the ladies of Cheshire, Massachusetts, late in 1801 sent to President Jefferson a mammoth cheese, six feet in diameter and nearly two feet thick and weighing 1,230 pounds.

Gordon S. Wood
Empire of Liberty: A History of the Early Republic, 1789–1815 (2009)