'The Madonna of the Chair', in a painted tondo

Thomas Sully (Horncastle, Lincs 1783-1872 Philadelphia) and Jane Cooper Sully Darley (1807-1877)

Thomas Sully traveled to London in 1809 to study with Benjamin West. To finance his trip, he approached several wealthy Philadelphians, who each agreed to contribute $200. To repay these funds, Sully proposed to paint copies of the Old Master paintings that he would encounter on his trip and send one to each of his investors. In December 1809, Sully completed a copy of Raphael's Madonna della Sedia (Galleria Palatina, Florence, inv. 151), working from a copy that Benjamin West himself had painted, and later sent it back to his patron, Benjamin Chew Wilcocks. In total, Sully produced seven copies of this composition, of which only two have been known. The present picture constitutes a third, and corresponds to that cited in Sully's entry in his Account of Pictures (Historical Society of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia) dated 10 May 1827, 'Raphael's Holy family retouched after Jane' and priced $80.00.

Signature: signed, inscribed and dated 'TS. after Raphael 1827.' (upper left)

E. Biddle and M. Fielding, The Life and Works of Thomas Sully (1783-1872), Philadelphia, 1921, p. 361, no. 2331.

PROPERTY OF A VIRGINIA COLLECTOR

About Thomas Sully and Jane Cooper Sully Darley