1 of 43 portraits of Benjamin West
by Angelica Kauffmann
black chalk on greenish grey paper, 1763
16 1/2 in. x 12 1/2 in. (419 mm x 318 mm)
Given by Percy Fitzgerald, 1912
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Sitterback to top
- Benjamin West (1738-1820), History painter and President of the Royal Academy. Sitter associated with 43 portraits, Artist associated with 39 portraits.
Artistback to top
- Angelica Kauffmann (1741-1807), Painter. Artist associated with 21 portraits, Sitter in 9 portraits.
This portraitback to top
The American artist, Benjamin West, settled in London in 1766 and became one of George III's favourite painters. He excelled at history painting and is best remembered for his large historical group, The Death of General Wolfe (1770). While in Rome in 1762 West was introduced to the young Swiss painter Angelica Kauffmann, and this drawing may have been done in preparation for her oil portrait of him which is now in the Uffizi, Florence. She has pictured him in Van Dyck dress, a fashionable convention favoured by Pompeo Batoni and Anton Raphael Mengs, West's mentor. The inscription on the drawing may be a later addition.
Linked publicationsback to top
Linked displays and exhibitionsback to top
- The Art of Drawing: Portraits from the Collection, 1670-1780 (19 October 2012 - 19 May 2013)
Events of 1763back to top
Current affairsJohn Stuart, 3rd Earl of Bute resigns as Prime Minister following sustained attacks in the press and parliament. He is succeeded by George Grenville.
Radical John Wilkes is arrested for attacking the king in his weekly satirical publication The North Briton. His arrest is declared illegal by Chief Justice Pratt and he is released, though expelled from Parliament.
Art and scienceBiographer James Boswell is introduced to the writer Samuel Johnson for the first time at Thomas Davies's bookshop in Covent Garden, London.
Josiah Wedgwood receives orders for his pottery from Queen Charlotte. He names his range of pottery 'Queen's Ware' after her.
American painter Benjamin West settles in London, where he becomes famous for his large-scale history scenes.
InternationalPontiac, an Ottawa chief, leads an uprising of the Indian tribes in America in an attempt to drive the British east. Royal Proclamation of 1763 is made by George III, regulating westward expansion of British North America.
Seven Years' War: Treaty of Paris between Britain, France, Spain and Portugal and Treaty of Hubertusburg between Prussia and Austria end the Seven Years' War, leaving Britain in control of Canada, India and much of the Caribbean.