March 23, 1775 Patrick Henry delivers his speech – "Give me Liberty, or give me Death!" – at St. John's Church in Richmond, Virginia. Patrick Henry FREE IMAGE
Patrick Henry, by George Bagby Matthews (1857 - 1943) Thomas Sully (1783-1872) Oil on canvas, 1891 ca. Sight measurement Height: 29.5 inches (74.9 cm) Width: 24.63 inches (62.5 cm) Signature (lower left corner): G MAtthews Cat. no. 31.00011.000.
The earliest portraits of Patrick Henry appear to have been painted by the Sullys–-Lawrence and his younger brother Thomas. Lawrence Sully’s 1795 miniature of Henry, thought to be a life study, passed down in the Henry family and is now owned by the Mead Art Museum of Amherst College in Massachusetts. In 1851 Thomas Sully painted a half-length portrait of Henry now owned by the Virginia Historical Society in Richmond; the Senate’s portrait by George Matthews is a copy of the Thomas Sully painting.
The documentary history regarding the Senate’s acquisition of the Henry portrait is incomplete. It likely was purchased by the Senate while Matthews was employed at the Capitol–-intermittently over a 50-year period–-as a painter and restorer of art. Yet, the earliest reference to the portrait does not appear until an 1891 letter from Architect of the Capitol Edward Clark to Librarian of Congress Ainsworth R. Spofford, which lists artwork owned by Congress. A 1926 anecdotal account adds Washington Post illustrator Barney Hughes to the circumstances surrounding the painting’s creation. Matthews and Hughes apparently shared a studio; Hughes was reported to have “touched up” the Matthews portrait of Henry, making it more acceptable to a disinclined acquisition committee.
Born in 1857 in Tappahannock, Virginia, Matthews studied in Paris in the early 1880s. In his American work, he concentrated on Southern historical figures. His portrait of John Paul Jones was acquired for the Capitol in 1890. +sookie tex
This image (or other media file) is in the public domain because its copyright has expired. This applies to the United States, where Works published prior to 1978 were copyright protected for a maximum of 75 years. See Circular 1 "COPYRIGHT BASICS" PDF. Works published before 1923, in this case 1891 ca., are now in the public domain.
TEXT CREDIT: U.S. Senate