Hugh Mercer, Jr. (Study for "The Death of General Mercer at the Battle of Princeton, Janury 3, 1777")

Artist: John Trumbull (American, Lebanon, Connecticut 1756–1843 New York)

Date: 1791

Medium: Graphite on off-white laid paper

Dimensions: 4 15/16 x 3 1/8 in. (12.5 x 7.9 cm)

Classification: Drawings

Credit Line: Gift of Robert W. de Forest, 1906

Accession Number: 06.1346.2


Trumbull is considered the most learned artist and skilled draftsman of his generation in America. Between 1789 and 1791 he traveled the eastern seaboard of the United States drawing portrait studies of military heroes to ensure the accuracy of the likenesses he would render in his famed Revolutionary War paintings. His portrait drawing representing Brigadier General Hugh Mercer is one of thirteen extant studies for the painting “The Death of General Mercer at the Battle of Princeton, January 3, 1777” (Yale University Art Gallery). Because his subject was deceased, Trumbull used for his model Mercer’s son Hugh Jr.; he twice sketched the young man in Fredericksburg, Virginia, in April 1791.