52nd inaugural luncheon
by Thomas Sully
Oil on canvas, 1856
U.S. Senate Collection Washington, D.C.
To commemorate the 250th anniversary of Thomas Jefferson's birth in 1743, a portrait of Thomas Jefferson by Thomas Sully was displayed at the Inaugural Luncheon.
In 1821 Thomas Sully visited Monticello, where he drew Thomas Jefferson from life. Over the years, Sully created numerous paintings of Jefferson based on the original sketch, including the Senate's painting in 1856. Scholar Alfred L. Bush, writing in 1987 in The Life Portraits of Thomas Jefferson, called the Senate's Sully portrait "one of the most notable." Since its purchase in 1874, the portrait has continuously graced the walls of the Senate wing of the Capitol, and is currently on display in the Lyndon B. Johnson Room.
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