Leaving England for America at the age of nine but returning in his mid-twenties to study with Benjamin West, in 1810 Sully finally settled in Philadelphia. There he became the city's leading painter, known for dashing brushwork and elegant figures. Lieutenant Jean Terford David (1792-1838) commissioned these portraits of himself and his wife Mary Sicard David (1792-1864) soon after his appointment as regimental paymaster in the United States Army. Sully created visual drama by portraying Daivd from below against a cloud-filled sky. Mrs. David, however, is seen from straight on and presents a sweet and benign figure.
The frame is original.