1820 John Trumbull Portrait Painting of Commodore Thomas Tingey

Value (2003) | $20,000 Auction$30,000 Auction

This is a portrait of my great-great-great-grandfather, Commodore Thomas Tingey, one of the early officers of the United States Navy, head commandant of the Washington Navy Yard for a number of years. This is his commission as a captain in the Navy, signed by John Adams in 1798. And, uh, it's still in its original frame and glass, which is pretty amazing.

Yes, it is. How many family members did this painting pass down through till it came to you?

Well, let's see... The commodore had a daughter, who married an ancestor of mine by the name of Tunis Craven, who had a son by the name of Alfred Craven, who had a daughter by the name of Myna Craven, who's my grandmother. Now, if we added all those back again, I suppose it's five generations...

Well, that's remarkable.

...something like that.

John Trumbull is a well-known American portraitist and artist. He was best known for painting "The Death of General Montgomery" in the attack on Quebec, as well as many other paintings, uh, celebrating the history of the American Revolution. And it's rare to find a painting that has this extraordinary provenance you have, because many of his paintings went unsigned. And to have both the painting and the commission, and then you had a photograph that you brought with this of the original frame, which I wish you still had, because that would be worth about $15,000 or $20,000. It's very rare to find an American frame from the 1820s. And you also had the uniform that he's... that Captain Tingey is wearing here. His uniform is in the New York Historical Society. You know, it's pretty remarkable actually having all of this together. Because of the wonderful provenance that it has and that really, within a 99% certainty, that the painting is attributed to Trumbull, I would think the painting would be worth easily $20,000 to maybe $30,000.


It's beautifully executed, well done, and having John Adams' signature on this document is quite wonderful as well.

Yes... yes, it is.

Appraisal Details

Montgomery Gallery
San Francisco, CA
Appraised value (2003)
$20,000 Auction$30,000 Auction
San Francisco, CA (August 16, 2003)

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