Features appear in each issue of Pennsylvania Heritage showcasing a variety of subjects from various periods and geographic locations in Pennsylvania.

They were an odd pair. One was a commoner, a native Pennsylva­nian and son of an innkeeper on a busy road between Chester and Philadel­phia; the other, a king who could trace his royal ancestry through several centuries. In spite of their disparate back­grounds and the tumultuous period during which their countries were pitted against each other, the American colon­ist and the monarch of Great Britain were destined to engage in a relationship that would witness – and withstand­ – revolution, intrigue, personal tragedy, and even madness.

Benjamin West and Eng­land’s King George III were born in 1738: the artist on October 10 and the sovereign on June 4. Both died in 1820 within six weeks of each other: George III on January 29, and West on March 11. And their lives, intertwined for several decades in spite of their back­grounds, seemed hauntingly similar, as well as dissimilar, making their friendship odder still.

Young George III’s familiar­ity with the realm of art would hardly have resembled that of the fledgling painter’s. Child­ren of royal families have been for centuries surrounded by the opulence of palaces, castles, hunting lodges, and country estates, each brimming with tapestries, sculptures, paint­ings, and gold and silver. The young prince had been taught drawing, perspective, and an appreciation of architecture (a subject upon which his twentieth century descendant Charles, Prince of Wales, was to expatiate). He became fluent in three languages and gradually assembled a library that eventually became the pride of the British Museum. But Benjamin West, who could not even begin to imagine the riches the royal households across the Atlantic contained, began to draw by the age of seven – without instruction or training.

Given a brush and a few simple pigments, young West began to sketch birds and flowers. A Quaker cousin, excited by the boy’s attempts, took West to Philadelphia to see the work of professional artists. The excursion, supple­mented by a gift of books on painting, fueled West’s enthusiasm, and he devoted more and more time to his paints and brushes. It was in Philadelphia that Benjamin West, at the age of eleven or twelve, received his first practical training in the use of materials for painting. He had by then decided to pursue the profession of artist.

Early in his career, West painted portraits of friends and neighbors, evidently with some ability. In 1755, at the age of seventeen, he executed a likeness of a newlywed Lan­caster, Pennsylvania, couple, William and Ann Henry. At Henry’s suggestion, West painted The Death of Socrates, the first in what was to be a long line of historical subjects.

Both the young artist and The Death of Socrates – actually a crude version of a French engraving – made a favorable impression on Dr. William Smith, a visitor to the Henry residence. Smith, provost of the College of Philadelphia, offered to give West a brief course in classical literature and antiquity. Across the ocean, Prince George had already been tutored in Greek and Latin grammar and literature, the political history of Europe, music criticism, mathematics, natural history, and, of course, the responsi­bilities of royalty. George’s father, moreover, prepared for the future king a guidance paper on character, behavior, and how to budget for peace and war. For amusement,
the prince and his young siblings took part in masques and plays.

However, learning did not come easily to George, who could not even read fluently before the age of eleven. Shy, unhappy, and rather lazy, he was isolated from the world, protected by his mother from virtually all outside influences. The atmosphere in the royal household was hardly condu­cive to raising an ordinary family, let alone a royal dynasty; George grew up amidst acrimonious squabbles that characterized the relation­ship between his father, Frederick, Prince of Wales, and grandfather, King George TI. Although Frederick died in 1751, when Prince George was thirteen, George II continued to reign until his death in 1760, when the throne passed to his twenty-two year old grandson. Upon accession to the throne, George III ignored the power­ful but self-serving prime minister William Pitt, one of the Secretaries of State, in favor of his personal tutor, Lord Bute, whom he placed in the cabinet. The young king was brandishing his new powers for the entire British Empire to feel.

It was not long before King George III realized that royalty has its limitations, even in affairs of the heart. While Ben­jamin West could choose his wife, the king had to give up his first choice, the beautiful Lady Sarah Lennox, in favor of an unattractive German princess, Charlotte of Mecklen­burg. George III and Charlotte were wed in 1761, with the compliant Lady Sarah serving as one of ten bridesmaids.

It was during Benjamin West’s stay in Philadelphia that he sketched portraits of Benjamin Franklin’s thirteen year old daughter Sarah and the pretty fifteen year old Elizabeth Shewell, daughter of a prosperous merchant. West fell in love with Elizabeth Shewell, and four years later in 1750 – on the eve of his departure for Europe – they became engaged. There were no royal ministers to object, although several family members were not pleased.

After being exposed in America to a collection of European art, West had concluded that it was only in Europe – especially Italy, surrounded by works of the old masters-that he could study best. He first moved to New York, where he had been commissioned to execute several portraits, doubled his fees, and saved enough money to afford at least a short stay abroad. After eleven months in New York, in 1758 and 1759, he had accumulated savings sufficient to realize his dream.

Dr. Smith had heard that several acquaintances were planning a tour abroad for both business and pleasure, and asked that West be allowed to accompany them. The trip’s organizer, William Allen – a friend of Smith’s and reportedly the wealthiest man in Philadelphia – not only agreed but helped West financially. As repayment Allen suggested the artist paint copies of the old masters for the group. One of his portrait subjects also made a contribution to help defray the cost of the trip and West’s studies in Italy.

The band of travelers arrived at Leghorn in June 1760. West, the first American artist to study in Italy, has­tened to Rome, where he was introduced to the elderly art patron Cardinal Albani and to Anton Mengs, a popular painter, who took West on as one of his students. West remained for several months, sketching Michelangelo’s paintings and sculptures, as well as examining the periods of civilization whose evolution could be discerned throughout the Eternal City. West next visited Florence, where he met Angelica Kauffmann, a talented young Swiss artist. They drew each other’s portraits, and West gave her some elementary lessons in the principles of drawing, but resisted her coquetry. Upon Mengs’ recommendation, he toured several northern Italian cities where great works of art could be studied and sketched: Bologna, Florence and, for several weeks, Venice. Returning to Rome, West concentrated on the works of Raphael. In addition to making copies of works of the old masters, he painted original historical subjects. He was twenty-two years old.

And now destiny began to play its part.

While in Venice the young artist met Richard Dalton, an English artist and King George ID’s librarian and curator. Dalton, combing the Continent to acquire works of art for the king’s collection, commis­sioned West “to paint a small picture for His Majesty.” The result was Cimon and Iphigenia, a scene from The Decameron. Impressed by the piece and by paintings executed during West’s sojourn in Italy, the academies of Florence and Bologna elected him to member­ship, no small achievement for so young an artist. He was also given the freedom of the Aca­demy of Rome, and was being hailed (with some hyperbole) as “the American Raphael.”

Dalton urged West to visit London, an idea that reiterated the suggestion contained in a letter written by John West, the artist’s father, that his son return to Pennsylvania by way of England. It was not until summer 1763, after staying three years in Italy, that Benjamin West first set foot in England, where he would live for fifty-seven years. En route to London West and a travel­ing companion stopped in Greenwich, where they visited the tomb of Gen. James Wolfe, the hero who four years earlier had been killed while leading his troops to victory on the Plains of Abraham in a crucial battle of the French and Indian War. (West’s depiction of the death of General Wolfe, painted seven years later, was to become one of the artist’s most famous works.)

Arriving in London, West called on the influential artist Richard Wilson, one of the organizers (along with Joshua Reynolds) of the prestigious Society of Artists, to show him Cimon and Iphigenia and Angelica and Medoro, also executed in Italy. Wilson’s enthusiasm probably encour­aged West to continue his study at the Society of Artists after he returned from touring a number of palaces, cathe­drals, and country houses outside of London. He had also attracted a number of important commissions for portraits, among them one of Gen. Robert Monckton, a hero of the Battle of Quebec. Both Richard Wilson and Joshua Reynolds urged West to exhibit his likeness of General Monckton and Cimon and Iphigenia and Angelica and Medoro at the Society’s April 1764 show. He did so, and his narrative paintings elicited quite a favorable response.

Two months later, on June 24, Elizabeth Shewell “left Philadelphia and all friends,” bound for London to marry Benjamin West. She was accompanied by West’s father, her cousin Matthew Pratt, also a portrait painter, and her maid. The travelers reached London in late August and the couple was married on September 2, with only a few friends attending.

Benjamin and Elizabeth West settled in a spacious house where the artist had begun to take students, including Pratt, whose 1765 painting, The American School, depicting West and four of his pupils, became a popular conversation piece. By then West had become director of both St. Martin’s Lane Acad­emy and the Society of Artists. Among the many notables whose portraits he rendered were the playwright and novelist Oliver Goldsmith and the two older sons of Dr. Robert Hay Drummond, the Archbishop of York. The archbishop’s commission led to the most momentous event in Benjamin West’s life. Drum­mond took a liking to West, commissioned a painting of an episode from the Annals of Tacitus, Agrippina Landing at Brundisium with the Ashes of Germanicus, and was so delighted with the finished work – which has been considered the first complete expression of the kind of neo-classicism about to dominate European art-that he described it to George III. The king sent for the painting and its creator.

The year Benjamin West arrived in London, King George III was refurbishing Buckingham House, a mansion near St. James’s Palace which he had recently acquired to house his private apartments, as well as two new libraries. Known as the Queen’s House, the mansion was later en­larged and partially rebuilt as Buckingham Palace, but it served as the setting for the introduction in 1767 of the Pennsylvania Yankee to the Court of St. James.

Arriving at Buckingham House, the artist was greeted by the monarch, who helped move Agrippina Landing at Brunsidium with the Ashes of Germanicus through a series of chambers to a room that afforded suitable light. After admiring the painting, the king presented West to Queen Charlotte, and suggested he create a painting based on ancient history: the final depart­ure of Regulus from Rome as chronicled by ancient Roman historian Titus Livius. The sovereign had a copy of History of Rome brought to him and announced: “I myself will read to [Mr. West] on the subject of my picture.” He proceeded to translate from the Latin the account of the Roman general who, after his capture by Carthage in the Punic War, had returned to Rome on pa­role with Carthaginian envoys authorized to offer terms of peace. According to Livius, Regulus urged the senate to continue the war, then honor­ably returned to Carthage for his execution by torture.

George III’s warm welcome and interest heartened West. When he brought a prelimi­nary sketch of the proposed scene to Buckingham House, the king approved of the rendition. A series of visits ensued, and West spent several evenings discussing the painting in progress, as well as ways to promote the study of the fine arts throughout Great Britain. The monarch, lacking intimate friends, enjoyed the company of another young man who shared his tastes, even though they could not with propriety discuss the political problems of the North American colonies.

At the suggestion of West and others, the king offered to serve as patron of a new organization to take the place of the Society of Artists, which was fraught with dissension and bickering. After several months of debate by the organizers, the Royal Academy of Arts was officially estab­lished with the blessing and patronage of King George III. The organization consisted of thirty-six Royal Academicians, with Joshua Reynolds heading the roster, Benjamin West ranking second, and Thomas Gainsborough listing seventh. Angelica Kauffmann was one of the few women included; she had settled in England and was becoming well known in art circles and society.

George III exercised his privilege as patron to claim The Departure of Regulus for the Royal Academy of Arts’ inaugural exhibition, held in April and May 1769, at which the artist also showed Venus Lamenting the Death of Adonis. In his first five years in London Benjamin had exhib­ited twenty-one pictures at the Society of Artists, constantly attracting considerable attention. The king, who had paid handsomely for The Departure of Regulus, gave West commissions for two historical paintings to hang on each side of it in Buckingham House. Hannibal Swearing Eternal Enmity to the Romans was completed the following year, followed by the first version of The Death of General Wolfe.

King George III had learned that West intended in The Death of General Wolfe to costume the figures in apparel that would have been worn by participants in the Battle of Quebec in 1759, rather than in ancient Roman costumes, the convention of historical art. Without even seeing the painting, he rejected it. He was not alone in condemning the concept, but Reynolds turned the tide of general opinion in West’s favor. At the first showing of The Death of General Wolfe at the Royal Gallery’s 1771 exhibition, the entrance was thronged by a public that had long been hearing about the painting, but which was not admitted until after the arrival and departure of a score of notables.

Upon actually seeing The Death of General Wolfe, George III, too, greatly admired it; like most viewers, he was struck by its intensity. To his dismay, however, the painting had been coveted and already captured by Lord Grosvenor. The king not only asked West to paint a copy for him, but commissioned two more death scenes, those of the Theban general Epaminondas and the French Chevalier de Bayard. The following year George III appointed Benjamin West “Historical Painter to the King,” an honor accompanied by an annual stipend assuring the artist financial independence.

Meanwhile public enthusi­asm for The Death of General Wolfe remained constant. West painted four more copies, and reaped fabulous royalties when engravings of the piece were mass-produced for a clamoring audience. For generations of students of British history reading about Gen. James Wolfe’s death, what came to their minds, rather than the literal accounts, would be the depiction by the American artist! West’s next success was another historical work. The painting, Penn’s Treaty with the Indians, com­missioned by Thomas Penn, a son of Pennsylvania’s founder, was the subject of countless reproductions that would eventually be found through­out the world.

In 1775, West met the aspiring young Gilbert Stuart, who three years earlier had traveled from Rhode Island to London nearly penniless, scratched out a meager existence, and wrote the older artist, pleading for help. Stuart was offered employment as an assistant in the famous studio that had been the subject of Matthew Pratt’s 1765 painting, The American School, which shows West advising a group of his American students. Stuart worked with his mentor for four years, then struck off on his own. He returned to the United States to become one of the greatest portrait painters in American history.

The increasing hostilities between the North American colonies and Great Britain might well have ended the friendship between King George III and Benjamin West. Although Parliament’s Stamp Act of 1765 was repealed, American colonists still chafed under British rule. The colonists’ unhappiness had been exacerbated by the crown’s attempts to extract revenue, such as the imposi­tion of import duties. Protests exploded in spring 1770 with the Boston Massacre, followed three years later by the Boston Tea Party. Parliament next promulgated what the colonies termed the Intolerable Acts. And now, with the formation of the Continental Congress, resistance turned to revolu­tion, marked first by the Battle of Bunker Hill – in which the British suffered a thousand casualties – and definitively with the Declaration of Independence.

Benjamin West sided with his native country, but painter and patron were able to maintain their friendship, despite their political differ­ences. Dining one day with the king and queen at Buckingham House, West was asked about a recent incident in Philadel­phia. On the following day, in a private chamber, the discussion resumed. Asked what he thought George Washington would do if America’s independence was granted by England, West expressed his belief that the general would be acknowl­edged as the greatest man in the world. George then asked West how he thought Ameri­cans would act toward Great Britain after their indepen­dence. The artist replied that animosities would eventually subside, and that the leaders would soon show greater preference for England than for any other nation. Whether he spoke from conviction or diplomacy, West’s relations with the royal family remained warm and intimate.

In 1782, Benjamin West was with George III on the very day the monarch received the text of the speech prepared for him to recognize American independence. To West, King George III confided his hope that the colonists would be happy with their new govern­ment. West waited in the House of Lords until George delivered – not in his custom­arily impressive manner, but with obvious diffidence – the landmark address.

Despite the Revolutionary War, Benjamin West painted a dozen portraits of the king, the queen, and thirteen of their fifteen children between 1777 and 1784. Beginning in 1783, he embarked on an extensive series of paintings of Biblical subjects intended for a private Chapel of the History of Revealed Religion planned for Windsor Castle, the most important body of work ever undertaken by the prolific artist. In 1805, unfortunately, when twenty-eight of the proposed thirty-five paintings had been completed, the project was suspended, and West’s commission for it canceled because of suspicions about his loyalty to the crown. After the deaths of both painter and patron, George IV returned the paintings to West’s family, and nearly all were sold at auction along with West’s house and gallery.

Much of West’s painting during the 1780s was under­taken in workrooms assigned to him in Buckingham House and Windsor Castle, and under deepening personal relations with the royal family. He com­memorated the death in May 1783 of the king’s favorite child with a fulsomely sentimental Apotheosis of Prince Octavius, and George III enthusiastically arranged for an engraving to be made of it and copies distributed. Working at Windsor Castle also gave West the rare opportunity to roam the parks and sweeping grounds surrounding the palace. He was inspired to sketch animals, trees, and landscapes in a romantic style that established new ways for artists and the public to look at objects in nature.

The deaths of the two greatest English artists of the period – Thomas Gains­borough in 1788 and Joshua Reynolds in 1792 – left an American as the head of the profession, his status officially marked by election to the presidency of the Royal Academy of Arts with the king’s full approval. West held the position, on and off, for many years; his final five-year term ended with his death. However, the last decade of the eighteenth century witnessed fluctuations in the monarch’s favor and fewer visits by West to Windsor Castle. This change was due partly to court intrigues and partly to the artist’s democratic principles, evidenced by his friendship with such American patriots as Thomas Paine.

Compensation for West’s commissions had been paid out of the king’s privy purse, from which he also received his annuity. But in 1797 he was forced by economic circum­stances to ask his royal patron to authorize remittance of at least a portion of the large sum promised for the chapel pictures which was long over­due. In addition to his growing and extravagant family, West was giving generous financial help to nieces and nephews.

King George III began to grow uneasy, not from fear of a coup d’&eactute;tat, but from pressing family, domestic, and foreign concerns. Among the mon­arch’s personal problems was the behavior of his sons. He was particularly vexed by his eldest, the dissolute George August Frederick, Prince of Wales, born in 1762. Opposed to the king’s state policies and wildly extravagant, the future George IV consorted with highly unsuitable women, and generally disappointed his father.

Of far greater importance to George were the problems he encountered while ruling his vast empire. Understandably determined to see his own policies prevail, he struggled fiercely to find and keep amenable ministers in spite of rivalries and jealousies among leading statesmen. Equally taxing had been the struggle to hold on to the North American colonies in a misguided effort that led to the Revolutionary War. The stress on the king was exacerbated because he lacked the astuteness needed to supervise military cam­paigns and select individuals to direct the broad course of events. Indeed, toward the close of the period he contem­plated abdication. It was after the war’s end that the first symptoms of his insanity surfaced, although they soon disappeared.

In October 1788 evidence of the king’s madness recurred more violently, and he had to be restrained for the protection of his immediate family. Physicians using strait jackets and employing harsh, brutal methods were superseded by a doctor whose soothing and persuasive treatment led to his recovery by the following March, although contention between religious factions contributed to two relapses. And King George III had been subjected to other strains.

In 1799, Napoleon Bona­parte, as First Consul, inheriting a war that arose out of the French Revolution, faced a coalition of European powers that included Great Britain. Napoleon’s attempt to invade England was thwarted by Admiral Horatio Nelson’s victory at Trafalgar in 1806, but war raged on, with one brief interlude of peace, until the defeat of Napoleon at Waterloo in 1815.

Although it had been widely rumored that the “Historical Painter to His Majesty” had fallen from favor, Benjamin West did enjoy pleasant audiences with George III from time to time. During a visit to Windsor Castle in 1805, he observed that the sovereign, then sixty-seven years old, looked aged, emaciated, and stooped. Five years later George III suffered his most serious relapse, and his insanity became permanent after the death of his favorite daughter Amelia one year later.

During these trying and turbulent years for his patron, Benjamin West continued painting without pause. Two masterpieces of 1795 – one a portrait of Dr. Enoch Edwards of Philadelphia, the other a landscape with figures, Woodcutters in Windsor Park­ – proved to at least one twentieth century critic that the artist excelled even in genres he himself considered inferior. A scene from the Apocalypse, Death on a Pale Horse, preoccu­pied the artist sporadically from 1783 to 1817, the year its final version was completed. When, in 1802, a brief truce in Napoleon’s military operations afforded an opportunity for a number of British to cross the English Channel, West joined them, carrying an oil sketch of Death on a Pale Horse to exhibit at the Louvre. Its melodrama and highly charged romanti­cism aroused excitement, admiration, and a bit of dismay in Paris. Napoleon expressed his approval, and Jacques Louis David, West’s French counterpart in histori­cal painting, spoke well of the picture, appreciating its execution, although qualifying his praise with the remark that it was “a caricature of Reubens.” Nonetheless, West’s work had a lasting influence on the French romanticists and neo-classicists.

In 1807, Benjamin West was inspired by a momentous event to create a historical painting that would equal The Death of General Wolfe, painted thirty-six years earlier. Admiral Nelson had defeated the French and Spanish fleets at the Battle of Trafalgar in 1805, but was killed in action. West’s dramatic painting of The Death of Lord Nelson, displayed along with The Death of General Wolfe and The Battle of La Hogue drew thirty thousand viewers in less than two months! Queen Charlotte requested a loan of The Death of Lord Nelson, resulting in another friendly visit between George and West at Bucking­ham House. West immediately followed The Death of Lord Nelson with an allegorical interpretation, The Apotheosis of Lord Nelson.

From the opening of the nineteenth century he had also been working on a subject that became one of the major successes of his career, Christ Healing the Sick in the Temple. Prompted by a request from officials of the Pennsylvania Hospital in Philadelphia for the gift of a painting to raise funds for the relief of the mentally and physically ill, it was completed in 1811. The painting contained more than fifty figures, many of them life-size. Christ Healing the Sick in the Temple is a monumental painting, measuring ten by sixteen feet. After its showing at the British Gallery, patrons of the British Institution organized a successful campaign to keep the painting in England, where, acquired at an w1precedented price, it served as an important factor in the creation of the National Gallery of Art in London. Although the painting received the king’s congratulations, West’s reactions were mixed, as both his annuity and his engagement as “Historical Painter to His Majesty” had been discontinued several months earlier.

Since Christ Healing the Sick in the Temple was pledged to its American patrons, the artist had successfully negotiated with the British Gallery his right to paint a copy for the Philadelphia Hospital. This second version was placed in a separate building erected partly for that purpose; proceeds from the exhibition of the painting were great enough to match the cost of the building with enough remaining for the hospital to construct an additional wing.

An even larger work, measuring seventeen by twenty-two feet, Christ Rejected, was begun in 1811, when West was seventy-three years old. Completed in three years, Christ Rejected elicited wide and extravagant praise. Reviewers believed it to be “his crowning work;’ and “the grandest performance of modern times.” In just four weeks it drew fifty-nine thousand visitors to the Royal Academy. Christ Rejected did have its critics, however, including journalist and essayist William Hazlitt, who wrote that West was “only great by the acre.”

It was in 1814 that the artist’s wife Elizabeth died after a long illness. Benjamin, then in his late seventies, had begun to limit his activities to completing Death on a Pale Horse and the second version of Christ Healing the Sick in the Temple. Two years after his wife’s demise, the first volume of John Galt’s biography of West was published. Entitled The Life and Studies of Benjamin West, Esq., President of the Royal Academy of London, Prior to his Arrival in England, the book was one of three widely noted marks of West’s eminence. The second was the glowing praise for the bronze medallion presented that year by West himself to members of the Academy; on the front it bore a relief of his own bust, and on the reverse the names of the forty Academicians. A third event of 1816 was the Ameri­can Academy of Fine Arts, New York, commission to Thomas Lawrence to paint a full-length, life-size portrait of the artist.

Meanwhile the king’s precarious mental and physical condition deterio­rated alarmingly. By spring 1810, he was stricken with blindness, bouts of high fever, imbecility, hallucinations, and even violent impulses. The recurring periods of bizarre behavior over a fairly long period led to his being labeled “the mad king of England,” an unfair appellation because George III had for many decades been an enlightened monarch. It became imperative to appoint as Regent the Prince of Wales, who took the oath of office in February 1811. It was the end of a reign and an era.

From his accession to the throne in 1760, King George III strenuously attempted to garner not only the respect but the affection of his subjects. Some had distrusted him because of his German heritage and, especially, because he had made a German princess his queen. It is a tribute to his persistence that he did eventually gain the nation’s affection, but this was not generally manifested until he was no longer in full control of the government and only vaguely aware of the world outside his castle. Senility continued unabated and by 1818 the king was unable to walk or hear. His illness progressed rapidly and he died two years later.

Because of West’s own failing health, news of George Ill’s had been kept from him. Nonetheless, he sensed something ominous in the sounds and silences of London. “I am sure,” he was heard to exclaim, “that the king is dead, and that I have lost the best friend I ever had in my life!” He survived the king of England by only six weeks, and was buried with impressive ceremonies in St. Paul’s Cathedral alongside its architect, Sir Christopher Wren, and Sir Joshua Reynolds, with whom he had helped found the Royal Academy. Thanks largely to the initial generosity of his patron, West left au estate valued at one hundred thousand pounds.

Although it was the expatriate artist who had introduced neoclassicism and historical realism to the British, who had established historical engraving in Great Britain, who had strongly influenced the development of the French romantic school, and who was the object of tremendous admiration during his lifetime, Benjamin West’s reputation­ – much like that of his friend and royal patron – waned after his death. In fact, his reputa­tion did not begin to recover until the mid-twentieth century. In the 1950s there began a critical revision that again characterized the work of Benjamin West as that of a creative and original artist. Once again he has been hailed for his “monumental powers.”

Not all of Benjamin West’s vast output was of the highest caliber, but his place in the history of world art remains secure. And his friendship with King George III, which with­stood the cruel tests of time, remains more than a footnote in art history books. Their friendship stands as testimony to loyalty and to a common cause: the pursuit of beauty.


For Further Reading

Alberts, Robert C. Benjamin West. Boston: Houghton, Mifflin Company, 1968.

Ayling, Stanley. George the Third. New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1972.

Boine, Albert. Art in the Age of Revolution. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1987.

Brook, John. King George III. New York: McGraw-Hill, 1972.

Dunlap, William. A History of the Rise of the Arts of Design in the United States. New York: Dover, 1969.

Einstein, Lewis. Divided Loyalties: Americans in England During the War of Independence. Boston: Houghton, Mifflin Company, 1933.

Flexner, James Thomas. America’s Old Masters. New York: Dover Publications, 1967.

Kraemer, Ruth S. Drawings by Benjamin West. New York: Pierpont Morgan Library, 1975.

Long, J. C. George III. Boston: Little, Brown and Company, 1960.

Mount, Charles Merrill. Gilbert Stuart. New York: Norton, 1964.

Sellers, Charles C. Charles Willson Peale. New York: Scribner’s, 1969.


David M. Glixon of West Hart­ford, Connecticut, is consultant and writer for The Heritage Club of Norwalk, Connecticut, and The Limited Editions Club of New York City, of which he served as editor and art director for twenty years. From 1948 to 1953, he was editor of Story Classics Editions in Emmaus, Lehigh County, and he contributed to The Saturday Review as reference book reviewer and as conductor of the maga­zine’s “Literary I. Q.” feature from 1962 until 1972. Among his publishing credits are Long for the Stars, Poems, 1929-1991 and a verse translation of Jean de La Fontaine’s poem Adonis. This article was originally written as a chapter for a projected work on artists, composers, and poets and their patrons.