Thomas Wilcocks Sully, born in Philadelphia on January 3, 1811, was one of six children of the portrait painter Thomas Sully and his wife, Sarah Annis Sully, who was his brother Lawrence's widow. The younger Thomas' middle name was probably derived from his father's patron Benjamin Chew Wilcocks, a leading Philadelphia merchant. After studying art with his father, he became a painter of portraits and miniatures. He was active in Philadelphia during the 1830s and 1840s, where he exhibited at the Artists' Fund Society and the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts. He was interested in the theater and executed a series of portraits of famous actors that were engraved by Albert Newsam. His style greatly resembled that of his father, and he later signed his name as Thomas Sully, Jr. He died in Philadelphia on April 18, 1847. [This is an edited version of the artist's biography published in the NGA Systematic Catalogue]
Dunlap, William. A History of the Rise and Progress of the Arts of Design in the United States. 2 vols. 1834: 2:471.
Torchia, Robert Wilson, with Deborah Chotner and Ellen G. Miles. American Paintings of the Nineteenth Century, Part II. The Collections of the National Gallery of Art Systematic Catalogue. Washington, D.C., 1998: 191.