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Thomas Sully Painted Jefferson; Now You Can Paint His Walls

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It's been well over a year since 19th-century painter Thomas Sully's house has been on the market, and that may be because the price started at more than $2 million or may be because a lot of people don't know who he is. (When you hear the name "Sully," who comes to mind? A pilot who landed a plane in the Hudson.)

The painting above shows Cinderella with a cat (nice to think she had a friend). It's a lovely domestic moment, but his portraits of John Quincy Adams, Andrew Jackson, Thomas Jefferson and Queen Victoria were the kind of work that brought him renown, as did a famed interpretation of Washington crossing the Delaware. He found a generous late-in-life patron in the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts, and when he died in 1872, he was remembered in the Philadelphia Inquirer as one of America's great painters. His work now hangs in museums across the country, and here in Philadelphia, of course.

His house at 530 Spruce Street has been designated a National Historic Landmark, and has a plaque on the building and a historical marker outside. Its affiliation with Sully, one would think, could be a selling point. Yet the listing doesn't mention Sully. It describes "large windows, high ceilings and pine floors," an "indulgent main bedroom suite with two fireplaces and a marble bath" and "a fitness room and sauna." And then, the final utterance, like a last breath: "this is a beautiful home for both formal and family living that also happens to be a National Historic Landmark." BTW.
· Listing: 530 Spruce St. [Kurfiss Sotheby's]