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William Thornton

ca. 1800 Robert Field Born: Gloucestershire, England Died: Kingston, Jamaica 1819 watercolor on ivory sight 2 7/8 x 2 3/8 in. (7.3 x 6.0 cm) oval Smithsonian American Art Museum Museum purchase through the Catherine Walden Myer Fund 1960.6.1 Not currently on view

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William Thornton (1759-1828) was the first architect of the U.S. Capitol, and an inventor and public official as well. He was born in Tortola, British West Indies, and died in Washington. In addition to designing the Capitol, Thornton also designed the Octagon and Tudor Place in Georgetown, Washington. Robert Field and Thornton were friends, and the architect stayed with the artist on his trip to Washington the year this miniature was painted. Thornton held eight patents for improvements to firearms, stills, and boilers, served as commissioner of Washington, and later in life was the superintendent of the Patent Office.


Occupation - art - architect

Portrait male - Thornton, William - bust

painting - miniature

paint - watercolor