San Antonio Museum or Art

The Stories Behind Thomas Sully’s Paintings

Plays and Operas

ThePilot

Thomas Sully
American, born England, 1783–1872
Prison Scene from J. Fenimore Cooper’s “The Pilot”: Cecelia Howard and Katherine Plowden Arousing the Prisoner Edward Griffith from His Slumber, 1841
Oil on canvas, 37 × 28 in. (94 × 71.1 cm)
Birmingham Museum of Art, Museum purchase in honor of Richard Murray, former director, with funds provided by Dr. Walter Clark, EBSCO Industries, Mr. John Jemison, Jr., Dr. Cameron McDonald, Dr. John Poyner, Mrs. Alys R. Stephens, Mr. Elton B. Stephens, Jr., Mr. Crawford L. Taylor, Jr., and the 1984 Museum Dinner and Ball, 1984.67

The Paintings The Stories
Frances Anne Kemble as Beatrice, 1833 Much Ado About Nothing, William Shakespeare (1599)
Portia and Shylock, 1835 The Merchant of Venice, William Shakespeare (1596-98)
Macbeth in the Witches Cave, 1840 Macbeth, William Shakespeare (1603-07)
George Frederick Cooke in the Role of Richard III, 1811-12 Richard III, William Shakespeare (1592)
Fanny Kemble as Julia in the Hunchback, 1832 The Hunchback, James Sheridan Knowles (1832)
William B. Wood as “Charles de Moor,” 1811 The Robbers, Friedrich von Schiller (1781)
See also the 1847 opera I masnadieri by Guissepe Verdi based on Schiller’s Sturm und Drang melodrama.
Frances Anne Kemble as Bianca, 1833 Fazio: A Tragedy, Reverend Henry Hart Milman (1821)
Mary Ann Paton Wood in the Role of Amina in La Sonnambula (1836);
William Brough as Count Rudolfo and Joseph Wood as Elvino in La Sonnambula (1836-9)
La Sonnambula, Vincenzo Bellini (1831)
Hear Maria Callas sing La Sonnambula.


Novels

Little-Nell-Asleep-in-the-Curiosity-Shop

Thomas Sully
American, born England, 1783–1872
Little Nell Asleep in the Curiosity Shop, 1841
Oil on canvas, 44 × 56 in. (111.8 × 142.2 cm)
John Frederick Lewis Collection, Rare Book Department, The Free Library of Philadelphia

The Paintings The Stories
Scenes from Robinson Crusoe series, c. 1856 The Life and Adventures of Robinson Crusoe, Daniel Defoe (1719)
Prison Scene from J. Fenimore Cooper’s “The Pilot”: Cecelia Howard and Katherine Plowden Arousing the Prisoner Edward Griffith from His Slumber, 1841 The Pilot: A Tale of the Sea, James Fenimore Cooper (1824)
Little Nell Asleep in the Curiosity Shop, 1841 The Old Curiosity Shop, Charles Dickens (1840)


Fairytales

Sarah-Ester-Hindman-as-Little-Red-Riding-Hood-MSA-SC-4680-10-0096

Thomas Sully
American, born England, 1783–1872
Sarah Esther Hindman as Little Red Riding Hood, 1833
Oil on canvas, 52 1/2 × 32 1/2 in. (133.4 × 82.6 cm)
The Maryland State Archives, MSA SC 4680-10-0096:
Photo by Harry Connolly

The Paintings The Stories
Cinderella at the Kitchen Fire, 1843 “Cinderella, or the Little Glass Slipper” in Tales and Stories of the Past with Morals. Tales of Mother Goose, Charles Perrault (1697); “Cinderella” in Grimms’ Fairy Tales, Jacob and Wilhelm Grimm Grimm (1812)
Sarah Esther Hindman as Little Red Riding Hood, 1833 Little Red Riding Hood” in Tales and Stories of the Past with Morals. Tales of Mother Goose , Charles Perrault (1697); “Little Red Cap in Children's and Household Tales, Jacob and Wilhelm Grimm (1812)