Monday, May 20, 2013

Derby Historical Society dedicates Hull portrait at Humphreys' House

Derby Historical Society President Tim Dillon, right, speaks Sunday with Melissa Coury, an art and antique appraiser, at the dedication of a portrait of naval hero Commodore Isaac Hull.
The oil painting now hangs in the Gen. David Humphreys House, 37 Elm St., Ansonia.

Humphreys was a Revolutionary War hero, aide-de-camp to Gen. George Washington, ambassador to Spain, and later a successful businessman in what is present-day Seymour.

An anonymous donor presented the portrait of Commodore Hull to the Derby Historical Society, which is based at the Humphreys House.

Dillon said the historical society thrives because of the "many, many generous donors," and volunteers who make it a success. We're gratified (the donor) has donated the painting to us."

Coury, a New Haven resident, said, "I was very pleased to work with this painting."
She talked about a variety of "clues" she found in the portrait that have led her to believe it was painted in 1805-1806.

"This is what (Hull) looked like when he left town for the Navy," Coury said.

Close-up of the oil painting

The portrait was professionally cleaned, Coury said, and the gold-leaf frame was touched up. The artist is unknown.

Hull was born in Derby in 1773 and learned nautical skills from his sea captain father.
Read more about the background of the portrait it in an article on the Electronic Valley.

Commodore Hull commanded the U.S. frigate, the Constitution. He and his crew were victorious over the British frigate, the Guerriere, in a major battle during the War of 1812 and Hull was hailed as a hero.

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