Born in Lebanon, Conn., June 6, 1756; died in New York November 10, 1843. History and genre painter. Served in the War of Independence, in 1775 as aid-de-camp to Washington, and in 1776 as deputy adjutant general under Gates; retired from service in 1777 with rank of colonel. Went to London in 1780 to study under Benjamin West, was imprisoned eight months, and returned home in 1782. After the conclusion of peace went again to England and resumed his studies. His Battle of Bunker Hill, painted in 1786, was the first of a series of historical paintings illustrating the War of the Revolution, some of which were engraved. Returned to the United States in 1789. Accompanied Mr. Jay to England in 1794 as secretary of legation, and continued several years in the diplomatic service. Painted in England in 1808-1815, and was engaged from 1817 to 1824 in painting four historical pictures for the Rotunda of the Capitol. Was president of the Academy of Fine Arts in New York from 1816 to 1825. A collection of his pictures is in the Art Gallery of Yale College. An interesting letter from the artist stating in detail the steps taken toward the preservation of the paintings in the Rotunda was read in the House of Representatives December 9, 1828, and laid upon the table.
Paintings in the Capitol Rotunda:
Signing of the Declaration of Independence
Surrender of General Burgoyne
Surrender of Cornwallis
Washington Resigning his Commission
Fairman, Charles E. Works of Art in the United States Capitol Building, Including Biographies of the Artists. Washington D.C.: Government Printing Office, 1913. p. 70.