Thomas Sully. “Major General Andrew Jackson.” Philadelphia: Joshua Shaw, Samuel Kennedy & James B. Longacre, 1820. 18 x 13 ¼ plus thin margins. Stipple engraving by William H. Morgan. A few short repaired tears at extremities. Strong impression.
This portrait of Andrew Jackson executed in 1820 by Thomas Sully and James Longacre in Philadelphia is a strong presentation of the future of the president’s tenure in American politics. Jackson served in the American Revolution and represented Tennessee in both congressional houses in the earliest formative days of the democratic government. 1n 1814 he defeated the Creek Indians by expelling the tribes from the Mississippi Territory and in 1815 he reached international fame with his victory over a British army in the Battle of New Orleans.
Sully’s portrait presents the political and social image that Jacksonian politicians and military men wished to convey. Leaning on a large horse, the man holds a military sword on one side and rests his left hand on a leather and steel cased pistol. His belt buckle is a large depiction of an American eagle holding arrows and lightning bolts. Robert Rimini, in his short biography in American National Biography, states that this engraved portrait after Sully’s oil painting has cuts on Jackson’s face that were indications of the hero’s boisterous series of duels and fights. Here is the most powerful and interesting contemporary portrait of Jackson to be found.