Colonel John Trumbull

Gilbert Stuart, Detail of Colonel John Trumbull, 1818, oil on wood panel – Yale University Art Gallery

John Trumbull (1756-1843)

John Trumbull was an artist whose paintings depicting important events of the American Revolution became some of the most famous in the world. Born in Lebanon, Connecticut, in 1756, Trumbull was the son of Connecticut governor Jonathan Trumbull and graduated from Harvard College in 1773 before briefly serving as George Washington’s aide-de-camp during the Revolutionary War. In his late 20s, Trumbull moved to London to study alongside painter Benjamin West. Soon after, with the encouragement of West and Thomas Jefferson, Trumbull began his life-long preoccupation with capturing romanticized visions of the American Revolution on canvas. In 1817, the US Congress commissioned Trumbull to paint four large pictures for the rotunda of the Capitol that remain on display today.

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“The Wadsworth Atheneum,” 2017. Link.
“Yale University Art Gallery,” n.d. Link.


Yale University Library. “Guide to the John Trumbull Papers from 1750-1843,” 2012. Link.
Connecticut Historical Society. “Guide to the John Trumbull Papers from 1769-1843,” 2013. Link.
Connecticut Digital Archive. “John Trumbull Collection,” n.d. Link.


Trumbull, John. Autobiography, Reminiscences and Letters of John Trumbull, from 1756 to 1841. New York & London; New Haven: Wiley and Putnam; B.L. Hamlen, 1841. Link.
Weir, John F. John Trumbull a Brief Sketch of His Life, to Which Is Added a Catalogue of His Works. New York, NY: C. Scribner’s Sons, 1901. Link.
Jaffe, Irma B. John Trumbull, Patriot-Artist of the American Revolution. Boston, MA: New York Graphic Society, 1975.
Cooper, Helen A., ed. John Trumbull: The Hand and Spirit of a Painter. New Haven, CT: Yale University Art Gallery, 1982.
Sizer, Theodore. The Works of Colonel John Trumbull, Artist of the American Revolution. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 1967.