Thomas Sully was born in 1783 in Horncastle, Lincolnshire, England, the youngest of nine children. The Sullys emigrated to the United States in 1792. Sully followed in the footsteps of his older brother who was an accomplished miniature painter. He opened up his first studio in Richmond in 1804. In 1807, Sully moved to Philadelphia, and in 1809 he embarked on a year-long trip to study art in London under the painters Benjamin West and Henry Fuseli. When Sully returned to Philadelphia in 1810 he became one of America’s foremost portraitists and he remained in Philadelphia for the rest of his life.