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Regency Portraits Catalogue

Benjamin West (1738-1820), History painter and President of the Royal Academy

1756
Self-portrait. Miniature in Yale University collection dated 1756, offered to the NPG London in 1884 (Robert C. Alberts, Benjamin West, 1978, p 78 and reproduced in colour in Montgomery & Kane, American Art 1750-1800, 1976, p 74).

1760-80
Crayon drawing by William Lawranson (fl. 1760-80) known from a mezzotint by William Pether, half-length to right in loose robe over coat (John Chaloner Smith, British Mezzotint Portraits, 34).

1763
Chalk drawing by Angelica Kaufmann (NPG 1649).

c.1765
Oil by Matthew Pratt in Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts, Philadelphia, half-length with hands clasped (Robert C. Alberts, Benjamin West, 1978, pp 78-9, Dorinda Evans, Benjamin West and His American Students, 1980, p 29). Pratt's famous oil painting 'The American School 1765' in the Metropolitan Museum shows Benjamin West in his London studio with other young American artists (Dorinda Evans, Benjamin West and His American Students, 1980, pp 26-9 and cover illustration in colour).

1766
Oil by Abraham Delanoy in New York Historical Society collection, possibly painted at the same sitting as Pratt's portrait above (New York Historical Society ,Catalogue, 1974, p 880) and Dorinda Evans, Benjamin West and His American Students, 1980, p 34).

1768
Drawing by Pierre Falconet, profile known from stipples by Falconet himself dated 1768, by Bannerman and B. Reading and a mezzotint in reverse by J. Spilsbury.

c.1768
Oil by C. W. Peale, 'The Peale Family Group' in the New York Historical Society collection, contains a clay bust of West by Peale himself (American Art Journal, Fall 1970, p 6).

c.1770
Self-portrait. Oil in National Gallery of Art Washington, half-length in grey coat and black hat (Dorinda Evans, Benjamin West and His American Students, 1980, frontispiece in colour).

Oil by James Smith in the Smithsonian Institution, head and shoulders to right in a painted oval, shown to NPG London in 1889 (Scharf's sketch in Sir George Scharf’s Trustees’ Sketchbooks, XXXV, 26).

1772
Oil by Zoffany in the Royal Collection, 'The Academicians of the Royal Academy' (Sir Oliver Millar, The Later Georgian Portraits in the Collection of Her Majesty The Queen, 1969, 1210 and plate 39).

Drawing by Charles Grignion at Christie's 14 March 1952 (230).

Self-portrait. Oil in Paul Mellon Collection, 'The Artist's Family' (Ellen D'Oench, The Conversation Piece, 1980, p 74, Robert C. Alberts, Benjamin West, 1978, p 78).

1773
Self-portrait. Oil in Paul Mellon Collection, head and shoulders facing at work, his son Raphael looking over his shoulder (Richard Kenin, Return to Albion: Americans in England 1760-1940, 1979, p 1).

1777
Oil by John Downman (NPG L152(2)).

1780
Terracotta bust by Thomas Banks in RA collection, exhibited RA 1780 (424).

1781-5
Oils by Stuart (see NPG 349).

1788
Wedgwood medallion in Fogg Art Museum, Harvard University (Robin Reilly & George Savage, Wedgwood: the Portrait Medallions, 1973, p 337).

1789
Self-portrait. Brown ink drawing, sketching at Windsor signed and dated: B West 1789 Windsor, exhibited 'English Drawings and Watercolours', Colnaghi, 1966 (6).

1791
Wax by E. G. Mountstephen in private collection (Rupert Gunnis, Dictionary of British Sculptors 1660-1851, 1953, p 266).

1792
Elected PRA 17 March 1792 in succession to Reynolds.

1793
Self-portrait. Oil on panel in RA collection given by Joseph Neeld in 1830, half-length seated to right in the president's chair, Histories of England and Greece on a table, classical torso to right, signed and dated: B. West 1793, exhibited 'Treasures of the Royal Academy', RA, 1963 (25); the head only was engraved by C. Josi for The European Magazine, 1 July 1794 and as head and shoulders with Somerset House in the background by Thomas Holloway 1798.

Drawing by George Dance in RA collection, profile to left signed and dated: March 3rd 1793 Geo: Dance; soft-ground etching by W. Daniell 1809 in Dance's Collection of Portraits, vol.1, p 26.

'A Portrait' by K. A. Hickel exhibited RA 1793 (318), noted as 'West' by Algernon Graves and possibly intended for inclusion in one of Hickel's House of Commons pictures; the newly elected PRA would have been a likely spectator.

1795
Oil by Henry Singleton in RA collection, 'The Royal Academicians in General Assembly', begun 1793, signed and dated: H Singleton 1795, and engraved by C. Bestland with a key 1802. The PRA sits in the president's chair wearing hat in the Assembly or Lecture Room at Burlington House. (Sidney Hutchinson, History of the Royal Academy, 1968, plate 21).

1799
Miniature by Philip Jean exhibited RA 1799 (71).

c.1800
Drawing by Ozias Humphry formerly in G. C. Williamson's collection (reproduced in G. C. Williamson's Life and Works of Ozias Humphry, 1918, p 34) and also known from a stipple vignette profile to right lettered: Mr West P.R.A. used as frontispiece to an unidentified publication (example in NPG).

1802
Miniature by Andrew Robertson at Dalchonzie mentioned by Farington as a 'large miniature' (Diary of Joseph Farington, 2 December 1802) and exhibited RA 1803 (774) and 'British Portrait Miniatures', Edinburgh, 1965 (336), reproduced Daphne Foskett, Dictionary of British Miniature Painters, 1972, 734. A preliminary drawing is also at Dalchonzie.

1803
Bust by George Garrard exhibited RA 1803 (1022).

1804
Self-portrait. Oil in Dilettanti Society collection, exhibited RA 1804 (37), half-length seated to left with Bible, History of England and bust of George III, engraved by W. T. Fry ('from an Original Picture painted by Himself in 1793' but surely confused with the RA portrait) for Galt's Life of Benjamin West, 1820, frontispiece. A squared and numbered drawing by Henry Bone, inscribed: B West Esq after Himself 1804, is in NPG library (Henry Bone’s annotated pencil drawings for miniatures and enamels, I, 88).

1806
Self-portrait. Oil in Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts, Philadelphia, head and shoulders painting his wife's portrait in 1806 (Art Quarterly, XXVIII, 1965, p 219).

1809
Drawing by Henry Edridge mentioned by Farington, Edridge wishing Farington to sit for a companion to his drawing of West (Diary of Joseph Farington, 23 June, 1809), exhibited RA 1810 (272) and at Christie's (Samuel Prout sale) 12 April 1880 (164) half-length to right with palette, brush and mahlstick (Scharf's sketch in NPG copy of Christie's catalogue).

1811-12
Marble bust by Nollekens in Royal Horticultural Society collection, London, incised: Nollekens Ft 1812. executed for the British Institution (Diary of Joseph Farington, 22 November 1811 and 12 July 1812) and exhibited RA 1812 (3) where it was approved of by C. R. Leslie: 'in the model-room there is a bust of Mr West by Mr Nollekens, I think the best likeness I ever saw of him' (Leslie, Autobiographical Recollections, 1860, II, p 12); it was also exhibited British Institution 1820 (67), 1821 (115), 1846 (215).

1811-18
Bust by Chantrey exhibited RA 1811 (47) (see NPG 607).

1811
Oil by Lawrence in Paul Mellon Collection, three-quarter-length seated facing holding spectacles, Christ Healing the Sick in right background, exhibited RA 1811 (133) and engraved as a large stipple vignette by H. Meyer 13 April 1813 for Cadell & Davies, Contemporary Portraits, II, 146. Several replicas and copies are known. A squared drawing for a miniature by Charles Muss is in the NPG Reference Collection.

1813
Miniature by Sir William Newton exhibited RA 1813 and known from a line engraving by Charles Heath of which the first proofs were unsatisfactory and rejected (Diary of Joseph Farington, 2 April 1817); it was published by W. J. White 12 December 1817 and re-engraved by Robert Newton slightly reduced but much clearer, 1 August 1818.

Model by H. Cornman exhibited RA 1813 (573).

1814
Oil by Washington Allston in Boston Athenaeum library, half-length of which the head was 1814, drapery and background finished in 1837 - 'a piece of bosh compared with the Lawrence' (E. P. Richardson, Washington Allston, 1948, p 111 and reproduced in Gerdts & Stebbins, A Man of Genius: the Art of Washington Allston, 1979, p 188).

Drawing by Jackson exhibited RA 1814 (605), presumably unsatisfactory not being engraved for Contemporary Portraits.

1815
Oil by Harlow exhibited RA 1815 (112) and British Institution 1857 (140), three-quarter-length standing facing, porte-crayon in right hand, left on Bible and History of England holding spectacles; it was in Robert Frank's Gallery, St James's Street, in 1947 (reproduced Diary of Joseph Farington, VII, 1927, p 64a). Line engraving by J. Fittler 1817 and small engravings by Cook 1820, Jenkins 1829 and Meyer. A copy by Thomas Heaphy was in Foster's (Heaphy sale) 4-5 May 1836 (241).

Medals by George Mills issued in 1815 to celebrate the President's seventieth birthday and other occasions (Laurence Brown, British Historical Medals, 1980, 862-5); one of these, exhibited RA 1816 (888), prompted Farington to record Mills as 'an ingenious young man' (Diary of Joseph Farington, 1 July 1816).

1816
Oil by George Watson exhibited RA 1816 (350), now in National Gallery of Scotland (319).

1817
Miniature by Mlle de Beaurepair exhibited RA 1817 (778).

Oil by James Green in Metropolitan Museum, New York (fragment of a whole-length) (Diary of Joseph Farington, 4 April 1817). Green exhibited portraits of West RA 1817 (37) and 1820 (47); a mezzotint by W. Say was published 1818 and the head was used for Green's 'Portraits of Sir Joshua Reynolds, Benjamin West Esq. and Sir Thomas Lawrence' exhibited RA 1830 (90) and with Frost & Reed in 1955.

1818-22
Oil by Lawrence in Wadsworth Athenaeum, Hertford, Connecticut, whole-length standing lecturing in a long gown, commissioned by the American Academy of Fine Art, New York, exhibited RA 1821 (19) and delivered 1822 (Kenneth Garlick, ‘Catalogue of Paintings, Drawings and Pastels of Sir Thomas Lawrence’ in Walpole Society Journal, XXXIX, 1964, p 195); a replica in the Tate Gallery (499) was engraved by C. Rolls 1842.

1819
Self-portrait. Oil in Smithsonian Institution, Washington, half-length as an old man in top-hat and overcoat holding porte-crayon (Robert C. Alberts, Benjamin West, 1978, p 271).

Oil by A. Archer in British Museum, 'The Temporary Elgin Room', whole-length seated among the Elgin Marbles with Joseph Planta, Sir Henry Ellis, B. R. Haydon and others (Connoisseur, CXLVII, 1961, pp 190-1).

c.1819
Oil by F. W. Wilkin in private collection, half-length with the two Wilkin brothers (Connoisseur, CXLVII, 1968, p 145).

1820
Marble bust by W. Behnes for Lord De Tabley, exhibited RA 1820 (1061). The President died in March shortly before the exhibition opened.

Undated
Miniature by John Turmeau in Walker Art Gallery, Liverpool, exhibited Liverpool 1960 (13).

'The Fishing Party' by Hoppner and Farington in Victoria Art Gallery, Bath, see Farington.

Posthumous
1821
Model of a marble statue by Rossi exhibited RA 1821 (1112) and SBA 1824 (358) 'to be placed in St Paul's Cathedral'.

1823
Stone bust by Paul Nixon on pediment of Academy of Arts, Carlisle, together with busts of Wren and Chantrey (Rupert Gunnis, Dictionary of British Sculptors 1660-1851, 1953, p 273).

Engraved gem by Thomas Warner exhibited RA 1823 (1031).

1830
Miniature or watercolour by Miss Hayter exhibited SBA 1830 (603).

Oil by J. Scarlett Davis, 'The Interior of the British Institution Gallery', West and Northcote (from a portrait by Lawrence and a self-portrait) examining a Reynolds self-portrait, exhibited 'British Portraits' RA 1956-7 (391) and sold Christie's (Heywood-Lonsdale) 24 October 1955 (62).

1843
Oil by M. Claxton, 'Sir Joshua Reynolds and Friends', exhibited RA 1843 (315)

1845
Drawing by C. H. Lear (NPG 1456(26)).

1849-6
Crayon drawing by W. Wilson exhibited RA 1863 (996) 'for the medal die in progress'. The medal was executed for the Art Union of London and exhibited RA 1866 (946); a bronze example was given in 1875 by the Council of the Art Union for the NPG Reference Collection.



This extended catalogue entry is from the out-of-print National Portrait Gallery collection catalogue: Richard Walker, Regency Portraits, National Portrait Gallery, 1985, and is as published then. For the most up-to-date details on individual Collection works, we recommend reading the information provided in the Search the Collection results on this website in parallel with this text.