Blanche and Rosalie Sully
After his brother Lawrence died, Thomas kept matters in the family, taking Lawrence's 4 children under his wing and marrying his widow Sarah with whom he had 9 more children, including the duo pictured here, his daughters Blanche and Rosalie. Though the neo-classical style had dominated portraiture at the beginning of the 19th century, Sully became influenced by Romanticism. Instead of the stylized, formal poses typical of neo-classicism, this portrait reveals the character of the girls, playing off the more restrained Blanche, who sits straight and gazes into the distance beyond the canvas, with the playful and bold eye contact of Rosalie, who leans against her sisters back and places a supportive hand on her bare shoulder. Later in life, Rosalie became a noted artist on her own, while Blanche became her father's helpmate, a task that resulted in her becoming the only American to ever wear the British crown jewels when she periodically sat in for Queen Victoria while her father painted the queen's portrait.