Thomas Sully, who lived for nearly 90 years, painted portraits of some of history’s most influential faces, including two of Delaware’s heroes from the War of 1812. Now, The Old State House is opening its historic doors to invite the public to see portraits of Jacob Jones and Thomas Macdonough, who were both natives to the First State.
The two Navy men are best known for their roles in the War of 1812 and were awarded gold medals by the U.S. Congress for their actions in that war, among others. Jones and Macdonough were both eventually promoted to commodore after a lifetime of naval achievement.
The portraits of the two heroes were commissioned in 1814 for placement in the House Chamber of the Old State House, which served as Delaware’s capital from 1791 until 1933, when the General Assembly was forced to leave the close quarters for the larger Legislative Hall. As one of the oldest state-house buildings in the United States, the site of the exhibit, along with the paintings it houses, has played an important role in Delaware’s state history. Those who wish to see the paintings can also go on a tour of the recently restored 18th-century building, which features a courtroom, governor’s and county offices, and chambers for the state’s Senate and House of Representatives that were all once in use.
The Delaware Art Works event is presented as part of the “First Saturday in the First State” series of events, which is sponsored by the First State Heritage Park and takes place in the The Old State House every first Saturday of the month for the rest of 2010. Like every other event in the series, “Delaware Art Works: The Commodores” is free and open to the public, and will take place at The Old State House, 25 The Green, in Dover, Del. For a full listing of later events or more information about the series in general, please call 302.744.5055.