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John Trumbull – Trouble with Charleston

John Trumbull Portrait Painted By Gilbert Stuart

John Trumbull was a late 18th Century painter, architect, and diplomat that provided some of the most iconic portraits in the United States, the most commonly known is the “Declaration of Independence.”

Signing of the Declaration of Independence

In 1792, John Trumbull came to Charleston to paint a portrait of George Washington. The painting was supposed to be a portrait of George Washington and not a historical painting like the one he left for the city. The city of Charleston was so displeased with the painting that he was asked to repaint the portrait. Trumbull kept the original painting and left a new portrait of Washington for the citizens of Charleston, which even still today hangs in our City Hall.

Elliott House Inn Blog - George Washington portrait by John Trumbull

Trumbull kept the original portrait because in his own words, “this portrait of Washington was the best, in my estimation, which exists, in his heroic military character.” The original painting actually ended up being presented to Yale College after the Society of the Cincinnati in Connecticut dissolved, Trumbull was a member of this organization.

Posted on July 14, 2014

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