Commodore Isaac Hull


William Dunlap ( American, 1766 - 1839 )

after 1812
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General Description

This is the companion portrait for William Dunlap's Anna Hart, Mrs. Isaac Hull. Already a celebrated naval officer, Commodore Isaac Hull captured the nation's attention during the War of 1812, when the USS Constitution, under his command, battled and sank the British frigate Guerriere. These portraits do not emphasize Hull's heroism, as did other contemporary examples. Rather, they were undoubtedly family paintings meant to be enjoyed in private. The emphasis on Commodore and Mrs. Hull's appearance in this painting and the companion portrait of his wife (1933.6), as well as their bust-length compositions and neutral backgrounds, derive from William Dunlap's previous career as a miniaturist, since the small scale of portrait miniatures left little room for fanciful backgrounds.

Adapted from

William Keyse Rudolph, DMA label text, 2006

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