The other day, we posted a story about the recent discovery of a “lost” painting by renowned painter John Trumbull, a Connecticut native whose work hangs in the rotunda of the U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C., as well as illustrates most American history books. His painting of the signing of the Declaration of Independence is probably his best-known work; an interesting side story about that painting is that he was commissioned to paint it in 1817, almost 40 years after the event, so rather than wing it when it came to what each signer looked like, Trumbull traveled the country to visit each living one to sketch them.
Anyway, as I mentioned in the post, a little known fact about Trumbull is his final resting place. One of his favorite subjects was his personal hero, Gen. George Washington, whom Trumbull formerly painted numerous times. And when Trumbull died in 1843, he requested to be interred alongside his wife at the foot of one of his favorite portraits of Washington, which was hanging in a special gallery and tomb of his creation in conjunction with Yale University. This request was honored . . . and then some.
When Yale built a bigger art gallery on Chapel Street in 1953 to better showcase its collection, it moved all the paintings from the old gallery, including Trumbull’s portrait of Washington. And where the painting went, so went Trumbull. As you read this, he and his wife continue to rest peacefully at the foot of the beloved portrait, in a special tomb underneath Yale Art Gallery.
For a brief but well-done biography of Trumbull, you can do worse than this article over at AmericanHeritage.com.