Portrait of Colonel William Allen Trimble (1786-1821)
oil on wooden panel
26.25 x 21.5 in. (sight)
William Allen Trimble was born in Woodford County, Kentucky to James and Jane Allen Trimble. He attended Transylvania University in Lexington prior to reading law with his kinsman, Judge Robert Trimble, in Paris, Kentucky. Following his family to Ohio, he settled in Hillsboro, Highland County, where he was admitted to the bar in 1811. At the outbreak of the War of 1812, he entered military service as a major in the Ohio Volunteers and saw action at the Battle of Fort Detroit and in the Niagara Campaign. He was seriously wounded during the siege of Fort Erie in August 1814, when a musket ball passed through his body just above his heart. Although he barely survived, by October he was able to write to his family, concluding with the intrepid request to tell his mother that “when I was not expected to live an hour that I was not afraid but perfectly willing to die.”
A celebrated war hero, he was sent to Congress in 1819 as a United States Senator from Ohio. However, his health was severely impaired from his wound and he died in office in 1821. Jouett painted him in December 1820, as documented in a letter in which he tells his family “I have sent Jewett one hundred dollars for my portrait.” That painting is now in the collection of the Ohio Historical Society; the portrait at hand is a variant made for his favorite brother Allen. At his best, Jouett was a faithful student of Gilbert Stuart, having acquired that master artist’s ability to portray his subject’s character with warmth and intensity. A handsome man, Trimble is set before us as a stalwart, fearless soldier who casts his eye upon the viewer with that grave certainty we associate with the Federal Era. (All quotes taken from Mary McArthur Thompson Tuttle, “William Allen Trimble, United States Senator from Ohio”, Ohio History Journal, (July, 1905).
PROVENANCE: from the sitter to his brother Allen Trimble; to his daughter Eliza Jane Trimble Thomson; to her daughter Mary Thomson Tuttle; sold from her estate at auction to the current owner.
LITERATURE: Recorded as number 471 in Elizabeth Martin, Catalog of Paintings by Matthew Harris Jouett, 1939; recorded as number 242 in Richard Jouett Menefee’s list of his grandfather’s work, 1902; to be included in the forthcoming publication Matthew Harris Jouett (1788-1827): his life and work, by Estill Curtis Pennington.
Provenance:Property from the Collection of Dr. M. Donald Hayes. To Be Sold Without Reserve.
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