Sunday, March 23, 2008

Stephen Hopkins portrait

No actual painting of Stephen is known to exist. This portrait (gold vest) hangs in the RI statehouse and there is another that I believe hangs in the Brown University Portrait Collection. The portraits were painted of a cousin who was said to strongly resemble him. Having said that, the portrait of the "Declaration of Independence, 1776" by Revolutionary War artist, John Trumbull, which now adorns the back of the two dollar bill and the 18' X 20' copy that hangs in the U.S. Capitol Rotunda, contain an actual portrait of the man painted by the artist himself...or maybe not. Hopkins died in 1785, the painting was finished around 1815, some thirty years later. Some say that Trumbull painted Hopkins in the likeness of John Dickinson of Pennsylvania. I've checked this out and I don't see even the faintest resemblance between the two portraits in the painting. Still, others say that Trumbull painted many of the signers from memory. Is it possible that a man of Stephen's importance and accomplishments never had an actual portrait done? The man standing to the right of Stephen in the blow-up is William Ellery, RI's other signer of the Declaration of Independence. Governor Hopkins is a fourth cousin 7X removed. Read much more about him in the Notable Ancestors post further on in this blog or at the following Gaspee Virtual Archives link.

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