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    Thomas Jefferson offers a gift to artist John Trumbull

    Thomas Jefferson Autograph Note Signed in the third person. One page, 4.75" x 7.5", n.p., n.d. The note reads in full, "Th: J. begs mr. [John] Trumbull will do him the favor to accept This copy of the Herculaneum." Jefferson's note has been tipped into the first volume of Les Antiquités D'Herculanum avec Leurs Explications en François. Six of the seven volumes are present in this lot.

    John Trumbull (1756-1843) was an American painter known most his historical paintings, such as the Declaration of Independence and numerous portraits of founding fathers. He was also an intimate friend and young protégé of Thomas Jefferson. In 1786 while a minister to France, Jefferson invited the thirty-year-old Trumbull to Paris as his guest. While there, Trumbull met the charming and accomplished Maria Cosway and her husband, Richard. These Trumbull introduced to his host, Jefferson, who was swept away by the twenty-seven-year-old beauty. Thus began one of Thomas Jefferson's most famous French affairs. Perhaps for that introduction, Jefferson offers Trumbull the gift of a set of Les Antiquités D'Herculanum.

    Interestingly, in 1788 Jefferson bought one volume of another set of Les Antiquités D'Herculanum for Angelica Church, a close friend of Maria Cosway (Maria and Angelica often referred to each other as sisters). Jefferson included Cosway, Church, and Trumbull in a group he referred to as his "charming coterie in Paris" (January 10, 1817, letter to John Trumbull). In a letter dated September 21, 1788, Jefferson informed Church by letter that he was then "executing your commission for the duplicate volume of the Antiquités D'Herculanum. The exchange is made and the right volume will be given to a Mr. Romilly of London who sets out for Paris within two or three days, and will send it to your house on his arrival. Should anything put this out of head, I am unable to give you his address."

    Included here are volumes I (no front cover), II, IV, V (no front cover), VI, and VII. Volume III is missing from the set. Small quarto. The set was published in 1780 in Paris. The covers are worn and fragile.

    Auction Info

    Auction Dates
    October, 2010
    14th-15th Thursday-Friday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 1
    Lot Tracking Activity: N/A
    Page Views: 1,154

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