Character Reference

THOMAS SULLY American, born England, 1783–1872 Major Thomas Biddle, 1818 Oil on canvas, 36 1⁄2 × 28 1⁄16 in. (92.7 × 71.3 cm) Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, Philadelphia, Bequest of Ann E. Biddle, 1925.8 Courtesy of Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, Philadelphia

Traditional Portraits Some of Thomas Sully’s earliest recorded portraits are his now-lost images of members of the Park Theatre in New York in various roles. When Sully had returned in 1810 to Philadelphia from a nine-month trip to England, he announced his artistic ambitions through a series of extraordinary theatrical portraits, arranged by patrons and friends in the close-knit acting community.



Study the portrait of Major Thomas Biddle (1818). Brainstorm a list of ten words that describe the major. Which three words from the list can each student identify as also describing themselves?

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