Part 4 out of 5
whole face of nature, and sip the sweets from every flower. When thus
enriched, lay up your acquisitions for future use; and with that
enrichment from Nature's inexhaustible source, examine the great works of
art to animate your feelings, and to excite your emulation. When you are
thus mentally enriched, and your hand practised to obey the powers of
your will, you will then find your pencils, or your chisels, as magic
wands, calling into view creations of your own, to adorn your name and
"I cannot, however, close this Discourse, without acknowledging a debt due
from this Academy, as well as that which is due to the Academy itself.
Soon after His present Majesty had ascended the throne, his benign regard
for the prosperity of the fine arts in these realms was manifested by his
gracious commands to establish this favoured Institution.
"The heart of every artist, and of the friend of art, glowed with mutual
congratulation to see a British King, for the first time, at the head of
the fine arts. His Majesty nominated forty members guardians to his infant
academy; and that they have been faithful to the trust which he graciously
reposed in them, the several apartments under this roof sufficiently
testify. The professors are highly endowed with accomplishments and
scientific knowledge in the several branches to which they are
respectively appointed; and the funds able to render relief to the
indigent and decayed artists, their widows and children.
"Who can reflect for a moment on the rare advantages here held out for
the instruction of youthful genius, and the aid given to the decayed,
their widows and helpless offspring, without feeling the grateful emotions
of the heart rise towards a patriot King, for giving to the arts this home
within the walls of a stately mansion, and towards the members of this
Academy, who, as his faithful guardians, have so ably fulfilled the
purposes for which the Institution was formed.
"United to what the Academicians have done, and are doing, another
honourable establishment, sanctioned by His Majesty for promoting the fine
arts, has been created and composed of noblemen and gentlemen whose known
zeal for the success of refined art is so conspicuous and honourable to
"Such have been the efforts to give splendour to the fine arts in this
country, and such are the results which have attended these exertions;
that knowing, as we do, the movements of the arts on the Continent, I may
confidently say, that our annual exhibitions, both as to number and
taste, engrafted on nature and the fruit of mental conception, are such
that all the combined efforts in art on the continent of Europe in the
same time have not been able to equal. To such attainments, were those in
power but to bestow the crumbs from the national table to cherish the fine
arts, we might pledge ourselves, that the genius of Britain would, in a
few years, dispute the prize with the proudest periods of Grecian or
Italian art. But, Gentlemen, let us not despair; we have heard from this
place, the promise of patronage from the Prince Regent, the propitious
light of a morning that will open into perfect day, invigorating the
growth of all around--the assurance of a new era to the elevation of the
fine arts, in the United Kingdom."
Mr. West's Visit to Paris.--His distinguished Reception by the
Members of the French Government.--Anecdote of Mr. Fox.--Origin
of the British Institution.--Anecdotes of Mr. Fox and Mr.
Percival.--Anecdote of the King.--History of the Picture of Christ
Healing the Sick.--Extraordinary Success attending the Exhibition of
the Copy in America.
During the Peace of Amiens, Mr. West, like every other person who
entertained any feeling of admiration for the fine arts, was desirous of
seeing that magnificent assemblage of paintings and sculptures, which
constituted the glory and the shame of Buonaparte's administration. He
accordingly furnished himself with letters from Lord Hawkesbury, then
Secretary of State, to Mr. Merry, the British representative at the
consular court; and also with introductions from Monsieur Otto, the French
minister in London, to the most distinguished members of his government.
On delivering Lord Hawkesbury's letters to Mr. Merry, that gentleman
informed him that one of the French ministers had, the preceding evening,
mentioned that Monsieur Otto had written in such terms respecting him,
that he and his colleagues were resolved to pay him every mark of the most
distinguished attention. Mr. Merry, therefore, advised Mr. West to call on
the several ministers himself with the letters, and leave them with his
card. As the object for which the Artist had procured these introductions
was only to obtain, with more facility, access to the different galleries,
he was rather embarrassed by this information; and would have declined
delivering the letters altogether; but Mr. Merry said, that, as his
arrival in Paris was already known to the government, he could not with
any propriety avoid paying his respects to the ministers.
After delivering his letters and card accordingly, the hotel where he
resided was, in the course of the week, visited by all the most
distinguished of the French statesmen; and he had the honour of being
invited to dine with them successively. At these parties, the
conversation turned very much on the importance of the arts to all nations
aspiring to fame and eminence; and he very soon perceived, that the vast
collection of trophies which adorned the Louvre, had not been formed so
much for ostentatious exhibition, as with a view to furnish models of
study for artists; constituting, in fact, but the elementary part of a
grand system of national decoration designed by Buonaparte, and by which
he expected to leave such memorials to posterity as would convince the
world that his magnificence was worthy of his military achievements.
It happened at this particular period, that the galleries of the Louvre
were closed to the public for some time, but a deputation from the Central
Administration of the Arts, under whose care the collections were
particularly placed, waited on Mr. West, and informed him, that orders
were given to admit him and his friends at all times. Denon was at the
head of this deputation; and in the course of the conversation which then
took place, that accomplished enthusiast explained to Mr. West more
circumstantially the extensive views entertained by the French government
with respect to the arts, mentioning several of the superb schemes which
were formed by the First Consul for the decoration of the capital.
This information made a very deep impression on the mind of Mr. West, and
he felt extremely sorrowful when he reflected, that hitherto the British
government had done nothing decidedly with a view to promote the
cultivation of those arts, which may justly be said to constitute the
olive wreath on the brows of every great nation. Mr. Fox and Sir Francis
Baring, who were at this same time in Paris, happened soon after the
departure of Monsieur Denon to call, and they went with Mr. West to the
Louvre, where, as they were walking in the gallery, he explained to them
what he had heard. An interesting discussion took place in consequence;
and Mr. West endeavoured to explain in what manner he considered the
cultivation of the fine arts of the utmost importance even in a commercial
point of view to England.
Mr. Fox paid great attention to what he said, and observed, in a tone of
regret, "I have been rocked in the cradle of politics from my infancy, and
never before was so much struck with the advantage, even in a political
bearing, of the fine arts to the prosperity, as well as the renown, of a
kingdom; and I do assure you, Mr. West, that if ever I have it in my power
to influence our government to promote the arts, the conversation that we
have had to-day shall not be forgotten." Sir Francis Baring also concurred
in opinion, that it was really become an imperious duty, on the part of
the British nation, to do something for a class of art that, undoubtedly,
tended to improve the beauty, and multiply the variety of manufactures,
independent of all monumental considerations.
When Mr. West had returned home, the subject was renewed with Sir Francis
Baring; and he endeavoured to set on foot the formation of a society,
which should have the encouragement of the line arts for its object, and
thought that government might be induced to give it pecuniary assistance.
Sir Thomas Barnard took up the idea with great zeal; and several meetings
took place at Mr. West's house, at which Mr. Charles Long and Sir Abraham
Hume were present, which terminated in the formation of that association
that now constitutes the British Institution, in Pall Mall. Mr. Long
undertook to confer with Mr. Pitt, who was then again in power, on the
subject, and the proposal was received by him with much apparent
sincerity. But a disastrous series of public events about the same time
commenced: the attention of the Minister was absorbed in the immediate
peril of the state; and he fell a victim to his anxieties, without having
had it in his power to further the objects of the association.
At the death of his great rival, Mr. Fox came into office; and he soon
after called on Mr. West, and, reminding him of the conversation in the
gallery of the Louvre, said, "It is my earnest intention, as soon as I am
firmly seated on the saddle, to redeem the promise that I then made." But
he also was frustrated in his intentions, and fell a sacrifice to disease,
without being able to take any step in the business. In the mean time,
the Shaksperian Gallery was offered for sale; and the gentlemen interested
in this project raised a sum of money, by subscription, and purchased that
building with the intention of making it the approach to a proposed
From Mr. Percival the scheme met with a far different reception. He
listened to the representations which Mr. West made to him with a
repressive coldness, it might almost be said with indifference, had it not
been marked with a decided feeling; for he seemed to consider the whole
objects of the British Institution, and the reasons adduced in support of
the claims which the interests of the arts had on government, as the
visionary purposes of vain enthusiasts. It was not within the small
compass of that respectable individual's capacity to consider any generous
maxim as founded in what _he_ deemed wisdom, or to comprehend, that the
welfare of nations could be promoted by any other means than precedents of
office, decisions of courts, and Acts of Parliament. An incident,
however, occurred, which induced him to change his opinion of the utility
of the fine arts.
At the anniversary dinner, in 1812, before the opening of the Academy, he
was present, with other public characters. On the right hand of the
President was seated the Lord Chancellor Eldon, on his left Lord
Liverpool, and on the right of the Chancellor Mr. Percival. A conversation
took place, naturally inspired by the circumstances of the meeting, in
which Mr. West recapitulated what he had formerly so often urged; and Mr.
Percival, perceiving the impression which his observations made on those
to whom they were particularly addressed, requested him to put his ideas
on the subject in writing, and he would lay it before the Prince Regent.
This took place on Saturday; on Wednesday Mr. West delivered his memorial;
on the Friday following Mr. Percival was assassinated; and since that time
nothing farther has been done in the business.
It is perhaps necessary to notice here, that when it was first proposed to
the King to sanction the establishment of the British Institution with
his patronage, he made some objection, conceiving that it was likely to
interfere with the Royal Academy, which he justly considered with the
partiality of a parent. But on Mr. West explaining to him that the two
institutions were very different in their objects, the Academy being
formed for the instruction of pupils, and the other for the encouragement
of artists arrived at maturity in their profession, His Majesty readily
consented to receive the deputation of the association appointed to wait
on him in form to solicit his patronage. Except, however, the honour of
the King's name, the British Institution, formed expressly for the
improvement of the public taste with a view to the encouragement of the
arts, has received neither aid nor countenance as yet from the state.
Before concluding this summary account of the origin and establishment of
the British Institution, it may be expected of me to take some notice of
the circumstances connected with the purchase and exhibition of Mr. West's
picture of Christ Healing the Sick in the Temple; an event which formed
an era in the history of the arts in Britain, and contributed in no small
degree to promote the interests of the Institution. Perhaps the exhibition
of no work of art ever attracted so much attention, or was attended with
so much pecuniary advantage to the proprietors; independent of which, the
history of the picture is itself interesting.
Some years before, a number of gentlemen, of the society of Quakers in
Philadelphia, set on foot a subscription for the purpose of erecting an
hospital for the sick poor in that city. Among others to whom they applied
for contributions in this country, they addressed themselves to Mr. West.
He informed them, however, that his circumstances did not permit him to
give so liberal a sum as he could wish, but that if they would provide a
proper place in the building, he would paint a picture for it as his
subscription, which perhaps would prove of more advantage than all the
money he could afford to bestow, and with this intention he began the
_Christ Healing the Sick_. While the work was going forward, it attracted
a great deal of notice in his rooms, and finally had the effect of
inducing the association of the British Institution to make him an offer
of three thousand guineas for the picture. Mr. West accepted the offer,
but on condition that he should be at liberty to make a copy for the
hospital at Philadelphia, and to introduce into the copy such alterations
and improvements as he might think fit. This copy he also executed, and
the success which attended the exhibition of it in America was so
extraordinary, that the proceeds have enabled the committee of the
hospital to enlarge the building for the reception of no less than thirty
Reflections.--Offer of Knighthood.--Mr. Wyatt chosen President of the
Academy.--Restoration of Mr. West to the Chair.--Proceedings
respecting the Pictures for Windsor Castle.--Mr. West's Letter to the
King.--Orders to proceed with the Pictures.--The King's Illness.--Mr.
West's Allowance cut off,--and the Pictures countermanded.--Death of
Mrs. West.--Death of the Artist.
Hitherto it has been my pleasant task to record the series of prosperous
incidents by which Mr. West was raised to the highest honours of his
profession; and had he survived the publication of this volume, I should
have closed the narrative with the last chapter. But his death, which
took place after the proof was sent to me for his inspection, has
removed an obligation which I had promised to respect during his life,
while it was understood between us that the circumstances to which it
related were to be carefully preserved for a posthumous publication. The
topics are painful, and calculated to afford a far different view of
human nature from that which I have ever desired to contemplate: I do
not allude to those things, connected with political matters, in which
Mr. West was only by accident a witness, but of transactions which
personally affected himself.
During the time that he was engaged in the series of great pictures for
Windsor Castle, he enjoyed, as I have already mentioned, an easy and
confidential intercourse with the King, and I ought, perhaps, to have
stated earlier, that when he was chosen President of the Royal Academy,
the late Duke of Gloucester called on him, and mentioned that His Majesty
was desirous to know if the honour of knighthood would be acceptable. Mr.
West immediately replied, that no man had a greater respect for political
honours and distinctions than himself, but that he really thought he had
already earned by his pencil more eminence than could be conferred on him
by that rank. "The chief value," said he, "of titles are, that they serve
to preserve in families a respect for those principles by which such
distinctions were originally obtained. But simple knighthood, to a man who
is at least already as well known as he could ever hope to be from that
honour, is not a legitimate object of ambition. To myself, then, Your
Royal Highness must perceive the title could add no dignity, and as it
would perish with myself, it could add none to my family. But were I
possessed of a fortune, independent of my profession, sufficient to enable
my posterity to maintain the rank, I think that with my hereditary
descent, and the station I occupy among artists, a more permanent title
than that of knighthood might become a desirable object. As it is,
however, that cannot be, and I have been thus explicit with Your Royal
Highness that no misconception may exist on the subject." The Duke was not
only pleased with the answer, but took Mr. West cordially by both the
hands, and said, "You have justified the opinion which the King has of
you, and His Majesty will be delighted with your answer;" and when Mr.
West next saw the King his reception was unusually warm and friendly.
But notwithstanding all these enviable circumstances, Mr. West was doomed
to share some of the consequences which naturally attach to all persons
in immediate connection with the great. After his return from Paris, it
was alleged, that the honourable reception which he allowed himself to
receive from the French statesmen had offended the King. The result of
this was the temporary elevation of the late Mr. Wyatt to the President's
chair, merely, as I think, because that gentleman was then the royal
architect; for it would be difficult to point out the merits which, as an
artist, entitled him to that honour. But the election, so far from giving
satisfaction in the quarter where it was expected to be the most
acceptable, only excited displeasure; and Mr. West was, in due time,
restored to his proper seat in the Academy.
This, as a public affair, attracted a good deal of notice at the time; but
it was, in its effects, of far less consequence to Mr. West than a private
occurrence, originating in circumstances that tend to throw a light on
some of the proceedings that were deemed expedient to be adopted during
the occasional eclipses of the King's understanding.
For upwards of twenty years Mr. West had received all his orders from the
King in person: the prices of the pictures which he painted were adjusted
with His Majesty; and the whole embellishment of Windsor Castle, in what
related to the scriptural and historical pictures, was concerted between
them, without the interference of any third party. But, in the summer of
1801, when the Court was at Weymouth, Mr, Wyatt called on Mr. West, and
said, that he was requested by authority to inform him, that the pictures
painting for His Majesty's chapel at Windsor should be suspended till
Mr. West was much surprised at this communication: but, upon interrogating
Mr. Wyatt as to his authority, he found that it was not from the King; and
he afterwards discovered that the orders were given at Weymouth by the
Queen, the late Earl of Roslyn being present. What was the state of His
Majesty's health at that time is now a matter of historical curiosity; but
this extraordinary proceeding deserves particular notice. It rendered the
studies of the best part of the Artist's life useless, and deprived him
of that honourable provision, the fruit of his talents and industry, on
which he had counted for the repose of his declining years. For some time
it affected him deeply, and he was at a loss what steps to take; at last,
however, in reflecting on the marked friendship and favour which the King
had always shown him, he addressed to His Majesty a letter, of which the
following is a copy of the rough draft, being the only one preserved: I
give it verbatim:--
"_The following is the Substance of a Letter I had the honour of writing
to His Majesty, taken at Weymouth, by the conveyance of Mr. James Wyatt._
"To the King's Most Excellent Majesty.
"Gracious Sire, Newman St. Sept. 26. 1801.
"On the fifteenth of last month Mr. Wyatt signified to me Your Majesty's
pleasure,--'That the pictures by me now painting for His Majesty's chapel
at Windsor, should be suspended until further orders.' I feel it a duty I
owe to that communication, to lay before Your Majesty, by the return of
Mr. Wyatt to Weymouth, a statement of those pictures which I have painted
to add to those for the chapel, mentioned in the account I had the honour
to transmit to Your Majesty in 1797 by the hands of Mr. Gabriel Mathias.
Since that period I have finished three pictures, began several others,
and composed the remainder of the subjects for the chapel, on the progress
of Revealed Religion, from its commencement to its completion; and the
whole arranged with that circumspection from the Four Dispensations, into
five-and-thirty compositions, that the most scrupulous amongst the various
religious sects in this country, about admitting pictures into churches,
must acknowledge them as truths, or the Scriptures fabulous. Those are
subjects so replete with dignity, character, and expression, as demanded
the historian, the commentator, and the accomplished painter, to bring
them into view. Your Majesty's gracious complacency and commands for my
pencil on that extensive subject stimulated my humble abilities, and I
commenced the work with zeal and enthusiasm. Animated by your commands,
gracious Sire, I renewed my professional studies, and burnt my midnight
lamp to attain and give that polish at the close of Your Majesty's chapel,
which has since marked my subsequent scriptural pictures. Your Majesty's
known zeal for promoting religion, and the elegant arts, had enrolled your
virtues with all the civilized world; and your gracious protection of my
pencil had given to it a celebrity throughout Europe, and spread a
knowledge of the great work on Revealed Religion, which my pencil was
engaged on, under Your Majesty's patronage: it is that work which all
Christendom looks with a complacency for its completion.
"Being distinguished by Your Majesty's benignity at an early period as a
painter, and chosen by those professors highly endowed in the three
branches of the fine arts to fill their highest station, and sanctioned by
Your Majesty's signature in their choice;--in that station, I have been,
for more than ten years, zealous in promoting merit in those three
branches of art, which constitutes the views of Your Majesty's
establishment for cultivating their growth. The ingenious artists have
received my professional aid, and my galleries and my purse have been open
to their studies and their distresses. The breath of envy, nor the whisper
of detraction, never defiled my lips, nor the want of morality my
character, and, through life, a strict adherer to truth; a zealous admirer
of Your Majesty's virtues and goodness of heart, the exalted virtues of
Her Majesty the Queen, and the high accomplishments of others of Your
Majesty's illustrious family, have been the theme of my delight; and their
gracious complacency my greatest pleasure and consolation for many years,
with which I was honoured by many instances of friendly notice, and their
warm attachment to the fine arts.
"With these feelings of high sensibility, with which my breast has ever
been inspired, I feel with great concern the suspension given by Mr. Wyatt
to the work on Revealed Religion, my pencil had advanced to adorn
Windsor-Castle. If, gracious Sire, this suspension is meant to be
permanent, myself and the fine arts have to lament. For to me it will be
ruinous, and, to the energetic artist, in the highest branches of his
professional pursuits--a damp in the hope of more exalted minds, of
patronage in the refined departments in painting. But I have this in
store, for the grateful feeling of my heart, that, in the thirty-five
years by which my pencil has been honoured by Your Majesty's commands, a
great body of historical and scriptural compositions will be found in Your
Majesty's possession, in the churches, and in the country. Their
professional claims may be humble, but they have been produced by a loyal
subject of Your Majesty, which may give them some claim to respect,
similar works not having been attained before in this country by a
subject; and this I will assert as my claim, that Your Majesty did not
bestow your patronage and commands on an ungrateful and a lazy man, but on
him who had a high sense of Your Majesty's honours and Your Majesty's
interests in all cases, as a loyal and dutiful subject, as well as
servant, to Your Majesty's gracious commands; and I humbly beg Your
Majesty to be assured that
"With profound duty,
"Your Majesty's grateful
To this letter Mr. West received no answer; but on the return of the Court
to Windsor, he went to the Castle, and obtained a private audience of the
King on the subject, by which it appeared that His Majesty was not at all
acquainted with the communication of which Mr. Wyatt was the bearer, nor
had he received Mr. West's letter. However, the result of the interview
was, that the King said, "Go on with your work, West: go on with the
pictures, and I will take care of you."
This was the last interview that Mr. West was permitted to enjoy with his
early, constant, and to him truly royal patron; but he continued to
execute the pictures, and in the usual quarterly payments received the
thousand pounds _per ann._. till His Majesty's final superannuation,
when, without any intimation whatever, on calling to receive it, he was
informed that it had been stopped, and that the intended design of the
chapel of Revealed Religion was suspended.
This was a severe stroke of misfortune to the Artist, now far advanced in
life, but he submitted to it with resignation. He took no measures, nor
employed any influence, either to procure the renewal of the quarterly
allowance, or the payment of the balance of his account. But being thus
cast off from his best anchor in his old age, he still possessed firmness
of mind to think calmly of his situation. He considered that a taste for
the fine arts had been greatly diffused by means of the exhibitions of the
Royal Academy, and the eclat which the French had given to pictures and
statues by making them objects of national conquest; and having thus lost
the patronage of the King, he determined to appeal to the public. With
this view he resolved to paint several large pictures; and in the
prosecution of this determination, he has been amply indemnified for the
effects of that poor economy that frustrated the nation from obtaining an
honourable monument of the taste of the age, and the liberality of a
Without imputing motives to any party concerned, or indeed without being
at all acquainted with the circumstances that gave rise to it, I should
mention that a paper was circulated among the higher classes of society,
in which an account was stated of the amount of the money paid by His
Majesty, in the course of more than thirty years, to Mr. West. In that
paper the interval of time was not at all considered, nor the expense of
living, nor the exclusive preference which Mr. West had given to His
Majesty's orders, but the total sum;--which, shown by itself, and taken
into view without any of these explanatory circumstances, was very
large, and calculated to show that Mr. West might really indeed _do_
without the thousand pounds a-year. In order, however, to place this
proceeding in its true light, I have inserted in the Appendix an account
of the works executed and designed by Mr. West for the King, and the
prices allowed for them as charged in the audited account, of which the
King himself had approved.
Independent of the relation which this paper bears to the subject of these
memoirs, it is a curious document, and will be interesting as such, as
long as the history of the progress of the arts in this country excites
the attention of posterity.
I have now but little to add to these memoirs. But they would be deficient
in an important event, were I to omit noticing the death of Mrs. West,
which took place on the 6th of December, 1817. The malady with which she
had been afflicted for several years smoothed the way for her relief from
suffering, and softened the pang of sorrow for her loss. She was in many
respects a woman of an elevated character; and her death, after a union of
more than half a century, was to her husband one of those irreparable
changes in life, for which no equivalent can ever be obtained.
The last illness of Mr. West himself was slow and languishing. It was
rather a general decay of nature, than any specific malady; and he
continued to enjoy his mental faculties in perfect distinctness upon all
subjects as long as the powers of articulation could be exercised. To his
merits as an artist and a man I may be deemed partial, nor do I wish to be
thought otherwise. I have enjoyed his frankest confidence for many years,
and received from his conversation the advantages of a more valuable
species of instruction, relative to the arts, than books alone can supply
to one who is not an artist. While I therefore admit that the partiality
of friendship may tincture my opinion of his character, I am yet confident
that the general truth of the estimate will be admitted by all who knew
the man, or are capable to appreciate the merits of his works.
In his deportment, Mr. West was mild and considerate: his eye was keen,
and his mind apt; but he was slow and methodical in his reflections, and
the sedateness of his remarks must often in his younger years have seemed
to strangers singularly at variance with the vivacity of his look. That
vivacity, however, was not the result of any peculiar animation of
temperament; it was rather the illumination of his genius; for when his
features were studiously considered, they appeared to resemble those
which we find associated with dignity of character in the best
productions of art.
As an artist, he will stand in the first rank. His name will be classed
with those of Michael Angelo and Raphael; but he possessed little in
common with either. As the former has been compared to Homer, and the
latter to Virgil, in Shakspeare we shall perhaps find the best likeness to
the genius of Mr. West. He undoubtedly possessed, but in a slight degree,
that peculiar energy and physical expression of character in which Michael
Angelo excelled, and in a still less that serene sublimity which
constitutes the charm of Raphael's great productions. But he was their
equal in the fulness, the perspicuity, and the propriety of his
compositions. In all his great works the scene intended to be brought
before the spectator is represented in such a manner that the imagination
has nothing to supply. The incident, the time and the place, are there as
we think they must have been; and it is this wonderful force of conception
which renders the sketches of Mr. West so much more extraordinary than his
finished pictures. In the finished pictures we naturally institute
comparisons in colouring, and in beauty of figure, and in a thousand
details which are never noticed in the sketches of this illustrious
artist. But although his powers of conception were so superior,--equal in
their excellence to Michael Angelo's energy, or Raphael's grandeur,--still
in the inferior departments of drawing and colouring, he was one of the
greatest artists of his age; it was not, however, till late in life that
he executed any of those works in which he thought the splendour of the
Venetian school might be judiciously imitated.
At one time he intended to collect his works together, and to form a
general exhibition of them all. Had he accomplished this, the greatness
and versatility of his talents would have been established beyond all
controversy; for unquestionably he was one of those great men, whose
genius cannot be justly estimated by particular works, but only by a
collective inspection of the variety, the extent, and the number of their
On the 10th of March Mr. West expired without a struggle, at his house
in Newman Street, and on the 29th he was interred with great funeral
pomp in St. Paul's Cathedral. An account of the ceremony is inserted in
_The Account: of Pictures painted by Benjamin West for His Majesty, by his
Gracious Commands, from 1768 to 1780. A True Copy from Mr. West's Account
Books, with their several Charges and Dates_.
When painted. SUBJECTS. L. s.
1769. 1. Regulus, his Departure from Rome 420 0
2. Hamilcar swearing his Son
Hannibal at the Altar 420 0
1771 3. Bayard at the moment of his death
receiving the Constable Bourbon 315 0
4. The Death of Epaminondas 315 0
5. The Death of General Wolfe 315 0
1772. 6. Cyrus receiving the King of
Armenia and family prisoners 157 10
7. Germanicus receiving Sagastis
and his Daughter prisoners 157 10
8. The portrait of Her Majesty,
the Kit-cat size.
9. The portrait of His Majesty,
the same size, (companion,) 84 0
10. Six of the Royal Children in one
picture, size of life 315 0
11. Her Majesty and Princess Royal,
in one picture 157 0
12. His R. H. the Prince of Wales
and Prince Frederic (Duke of
York), in one picture whole
length 210 0
13. A second picture of Ditto, for
the Empress of Russia, sent by
His Majesty 210 0
14. A whole-length portrait of His
Majesty,--Lord Amherst and
the Marquis of Lothian in the
back-ground. 262 10
15. A whole-length portrait of Her
Majesty, with all the Royal
Children in the back-ground 262 10
16. Whole-length portraits of Prince
William (Duke of Clarence) and
Prince Edward (Duke of Kent),
in one picture 262 10
1779. 17. Whole-length portraits of Prince
Adolphus and his sisters, in one
picture 262 10
From the year 1769 the whole of the above pictures to 1779 were painted
and paid for by His Majesty through the hands of Mr. R. Daulton and Mr.
1780. At this period His Majesty was graciously pleased to sanction my
pencil with his commands for a great work on Revealed Religion, from its
commencement to its completion, for pictures to embellish his intended New
Chapel in Windsor Castle. I arranged the several subjects from the four
Dispensations. His Majesty was pleased to approve the arrangement
selected, as did several of the Bishops in whose hands he placed them for
their consideration, and they highly approved the same.
His Majesty then honoured me with his commands, and did at that time, the
better to enable me to carry it into effect, order his deputy privy-purse,
Mr. G. Mathias, to pay me one thousand a year by quarterly payments, which
was regularly paid as commanded; and the following are the subjects which
I have painted from the Four Dispensations, for the Chapel, of various
When painted. SUBJECTS. L. s.
1780. 1. The expulsion of Adam and Eve
from Paradise 535 0
2. The Deluge 525 0
3. Noah and his Family sacrificing 525 0
4. The Call of Abraham going to
sacrifice his son Isaac 600 0
5. The Birth of Jacob and Esau 525 0
6. Joseph and his brothers in Egypt,
composed, not painted.
7. The Death of Jacob surrounded
by his sons in Egypt, ditto.
THE MOSAICAL DISPENSATION.
8. The Call of Moses, his Rod
turned into a Serpent before the
Burning Bush, composed, but not
9. Moses and his brother Aaron
before Pharaoh, their Rods turned
into Serpents 1050 0
10. Moses destroying Pharaoh said
his host in the Red Sea 1050 0
11. Moses receiving the Laws on
Mount Sinai 1260 0
12. Moses consecrating Aaron and
his sons to the priesthood 1050 0
13. Moses showing the Brazen Serpent
to the infirm to be healed 1050 0
14. The Death of Aaron on Mount
Hor, composed, but not painted.
15. Moses presenting Joshua to
Eleazar the priest, and Congregation,
as commanded, composed,
but not painted.
16. Moses sees the Promised Land
from the top of Mount Abarim,
and Death, a sketch in oil colours.
17. Joshua commanding the Ark
and Congregation to pass the
river into the Promised Land, a
sketch in oil colour.
18. The prophets Isaiah and Jeremiah 525 0
19. The prophet Samuel anointing
David the son of Jesse, a sketch.
20. The prophesying of Zacharias at
the birth of John his son 525 0
21. The Angels announcing the Birth
of our Saviour, a cartoon for a
painted-glass window, by Mr.
Forrest 525 0
22. The Birth of our Saviour, ditto,
for painted glass, by ditto 525 0
23. The Wise Man's Offering, a
cartoon for ditto 525 0
24. John the Baptist baptizing our
Saviour, on whom the Holy
Ghost descends 1050 0
25. Christ's Temptation and Victory
in the Wilderness, a sketch.
26. Christ beginneth to preach at
Nazareth, his native place, a
27. Christ healeth the Sick and
Blind; &c. in the Temple 1050 0
28. The Last Supper; which picture
His Majesty presented to St.
George's Chapel at Windsor 735 0
29. A Last Supper, painted for the
King's Chapel 735 0
30. The Crucifixion, a study in oil
colour, for the glass painting by
Messrs. Jervis and Forrest to
colour from, and the cartoon the
size of the window 1050 0
31. The west end window of St.
George's Chapel, 28 feet wide by
36 high, for them to draw the
figures from on the glass 1050 0
32. The Resurrection, a study in
oil colour, for glass painting by
Messrs. Jervis and Forrest to
colour from 525 0
33. And the cartoon the size of the
window at the east end of St.
George's Chapel, 28 feet wide by
36 high, to draw from on the glass 1050 0
And two side pictures 525 0
34. The Assumption of our Saviour,
for the King's Chapel 1050 0
35. Peter's first Sermon, or the
Apostles receiving the Cloven
Tongues 1050 0
36. Paul and Barnabas rejecting the
Jews, and receiving the Gentiles 1050 0
[Total] L21,705 0
_Painted for His Majesty's State Rooms in Windsor Castle the following
Pictures from the History of Edward III_.
1. Edward III. embracing his Son on
the field of battle at Cressy 1365 0
2. The Installation of the most noble
Order of the Garter 1365 0
3. Edward the Black Prince receiving
John King of France and his
son as prisoners 1365 0
4. St. George destroying the Dragon 630 0
5. Queen Philippa defeats David
King of Scotland, at Nevil's
Cross, and takes him prisoner 525 0
6. Queen Philippa soliciting Edward
III. to save St. Pierre and the
brave burgesses of Calais 525 0
7. Edward III. forcing the passage of
the river Somme in France 630 0
8. Edward III. crowning Ribemont
at Calais 525 0
[Total] L6930 0
By His Majesty's commands I made
nine designs for the ceiling in the
Queen's Lodge, Windsor, for Mr.
Haas to work the ceilings from.
Viz. 1. Genius inspiring the fine arts
to adorn the useful arts and sciences.
2. Agriculture. 3. Manufactures.
4. Commerce. 5. Botany. 6. Chemistry.
7. Celestial Science. 8. Terrestrial
Science; and 9. To adorn
Empire 525 0
Myself and son, with Mr. Rebecca,
for painting transparent and water
coloured pictures to adorn the marble
gallery at a great evening entertainment
in the Castle given by Their
Majesties to the nobility 250 0
Painted for His Majesty a whole-length
portrait of Prince Octavius
holding the King's sword 73 10
Painted for His Majesty the Apotheosis
of Prince Octavius and Prince
Alfred, in one picture, the size of life 315 0
A portrait of Prince Augustus, half
length, for the Queen.
A second whole length of Her
Majesty, with all the Royal children
in the back-ground, which was placed
in Windsor Castle, but at present in
the Queen's Palace, London 262 10
A picture of Peter denying our,
Saviour, of which His Majesty honoured
me by accepting, two half-length
figures, the size of life.
[Total] L1426 0
This is a true statement of the numbers of pictures, cartoons, and
drawings of designs, and sketches of scripture subjects, as well as
historical events, British as well as Greek, Roman, and other nations,
with which I had been honoured by the King's commands, from 1768, to 5th
January 1801, to paint for His Majesty; and the charges I made for each
was by him most graciously acknowledged, when my account was audited and
allowed by Mr. G. Mathias, His Majesty's privy purse, who settled for
debtor and creditor the whole amount between the above dates.
Appendix No. II.
_A Catalogue of thee Works of Mr. West_.
Wolfe, the first and second.
Cyrus and the King of Armenia with his Family, captives.
Germanicus and Segestus with his Daughter, captives.
The Apotheosis of Prince Alfred and Prince Octavius.
The picture of the Damsel accusing Peter.
The Queen, with the Princess Royal, in one picture.
Prince Ernest and Prince Augustus; Princesses Augusta, Elizabeth, and
Mary, in one picture.
Prince William and Prince Edward, in one picture.
The whole-length portrait of His Majesty in Regimentals, with Lord Amherst
and the Marquis of Lothian on Horseback, in the back-ground.
The whole-length portrait of Her Majesty, with the fourteen Royal
The same repeated.
The Battle of Cressy, when Edward III. embraced his son.
The Battle of Poitiers, when John King of France is brought prisoner to
The Institution of the Order of the Garter.
The Battle of Nevil's Cross.
The Burgesses of Calais before Edward III.
Edward III. crossing the Somme.
Edward III. crowning Ribemont, at Calais.
St. George destroying the Dragon.
The design of our Saviour's Resurrection, painted in colours, with the
Women going to the Sepulchre; also Peter and John.
The cartoon from the above design, for the east window, painted in the
Collegiate Church of Windsor, on glass, 36 feet high by 28 wide.
The design of our Saviour's Crucifixion, painted in colours.
The cartoon from the above design, for the west window in the Collegiate
Church, painting on glass, 36 feet by 28.
The cartoon of the Angels appearing to the Shepherds, ditto for ditto.
The cartoon of the Nativity of our Saviour, for ditto, ditto.
The cartoon of the Magi presenting Gifts to our Saviour, for ditto, ditto.
The picture, in water-colours, representing Hymen leading and dancing with
the Hours before Peace and and Plenty.
The picture, in water-colours, of Boys with the Insignia of Riches.
The companion, with Boys, and the Insignia of the Fine Arts.
Genius calling forth the Fine Arts to adorn Manufactures and Commerce, and
recording the names of eminent men in those pursuits.
Husbandry aided by Arts and Commerce.
Peace and Riches cherishing the Fine Arts.
Manufactory giving support to Industry, in Boys and Girls.
Marine and inland Navigation enriching Britannia.
Printing aided by the Fine Arts.
Astronomy making new discoveries in the Heavens.
The Four Quarters of the World bringing Treasures to the Lap of Britannia.
Civil and Military Architecture defending and adorning Empire.
The Expulsion of Adam and Eve from Paradise.
Abraham and his son Isaac going to sacrifice.
The Birth of Jacob and Esau.
The Death of Jacob in Egypt, surrounded by his Twelve Sons.
Moses and Aaron before Pharaoh; their Rods turned into Serpents.
Pharaoh and his Host lost in the Red Sea, while Moses stretches his Rod
Moses receiving the Law on Mount Sinai.
Moses consecrateth Aaron and his Sons to the Priesthood.
Moses showeth the Brazen Serpent to the People to be healed.
Moses shown the Promised Land from the top of Mount Pisgah.
Joshua crossing the River Jordan with the Ark.
The Twelve Tribes drawing Lots for the Lands of their Inheritance, 6
feet by 10.
The Call of Isaiah and Jeremiah, each 5 by 14.
David anointed King, 6 by 10.
Christ's Birth, 6 by 10.
The naming of John; or, the Prophecies of Zacharias, ditto.
The Kings bringing Presents to Christ, 6 by 12.
Christ among the Doctors, 6 by 10.
The Descent of the Holy Ghost on our Saviour at the River Jordan, 10 by
Christ healing the Sick in the Temple, ditto.
Christ's Last Supper, 6 by 10.
Christ's Crucifixion, 16 by 28.
Christ's Ascension, 12 by 18.
The Inspiration of St. Peter, 10 by 14.
Paul and Barnabas rejecting the Jews, and receiving the Gentiles, ditto.
John called to write the Revelation, 6 by 10.
Saints prostrating themselves before the Throne of God.
The opening of the Seven Seals; or, Death on the Pale Horse.
The overthrowing the Old Beast and False Prophet.
The Last Judgment.
The New Jerusalem.
The picture of St. Michael and his Angels fighting and casting out the Red
Dragon and his Angels.
Do. of the Women clothed in the Sun.
Do. of John called to write the Revelation.
Do. of the Beast rising out of the Sea.
Do. of the Mighty Angel, one Foot upon Sea and the other on Earth.
Do. of St. Anthony of Padua.
Do. of the Madra Dolo Roso.
Do. of Simeon, with the Child in his arms.
A picture of a small Landscape, with a Hunt passing In the back-ground.
Do. of Abraham and Isaac going to sacrifice,
Do. of a whole-length figure of Thomas a Becket, larger than life.
Do. of the Angel in the Sun assembling the Birds of the Air, before the
destruction of the Old Beast.
The small picture of the Order of the Garter, differing in composition
from the great picture at Windsor.
The picture of the Shunamite's Son raised to Life by the Prophet Elisha.
Do. of Jacob blessing Joseph's Sons.
Do. of the Death of Wolfe, the third picture.
Do. of the Battle of La Hogue.
Do. of the Boyne.
Do. of the Restoration of Charles II.
Do. of Cromwell dissolving the Long Parliament.
A small portrait of General Wolfe, when a Boy.
The Picture of the Golden Age.
The picture of St. Michael chaining the Dragon, in Trinity College,
Cambridge, 15 by 8.
Do. of the Angels announcing the Birth of our Saviour, in the Cathedral
Church at Rochester, 10 by 6.
Do. of the Death of St. Stephen, in the church of St. Stephen,
Walbrook, 10 by 18.
Do. of the Raising of Lazarus, in the Cathedral of Winchester, 10 by 14.
Do. of St. Paul shaking the Viper off his Finger, in the chapel at
Greenwich, 27 by 15.
The Supper, over the communion-table in the Collegiate Church at
Windsor, 8 by 13.
The Resurrection of our Saviour, in the east window of the Collegiate
Church at Windsor, 28 by 32.
The Crucifixion, in the window of ditto, 28 by 36.
The Angel announcing our Saviour's Birth, in ditto, 10 by 14.
The Birth of our Saviour, in ditto, 9 by 16.
The Kings presenting Gifts to our Saviour, in ditto, 9 by 16.
The picture of Peter denying our Saviour, in the chapel of Lord Newark.
The Resurrection of our Saviour, in the church of Barbadoes, 10 by 6.
The picture of Moses with the Law, and John the Baptist, in ditto, as
large as life.
The picture of Telemachus and Calypso.
Do. of Angelica and Madora.
Do. of the Damsel and Orlando.
Do. of Cicero at the Tomb of Archimedes.
Do. of St. Paul's Conversion; his Persecution of the Christians; and the
Restoration of his Sight, under the hands of Ananias, in one frame,
divided in three parts.
Do. of Mr. Hope's Family, containing nine figures as large as life.
Large figures of Faith, Hope, Charity, Innocence, St. Matthew, St. Mark,
St. Luke, St. John, St. Matthias, St. Thomas, St. Jude, St. Simon, St
James the Major, St. Philip, St. Peter, St. Andrew, St. Bartholomew, St.
James the Minor, Malachi, Micah, Zachariah, and Daniel.
Paul shaking the Viper from his Finger.
Paul preaching at Athens.
Elimas the Sorcerer struck blind.
Cornelius and the Angel.
Peter delivered from Prison.
The Conversion of St. Paul.
Paul before Felix.
Two whole-lengths of the late Archbishop of York's two eldest Sons.
A whole-length portrait of the late Lord Grosvenor.
The picture of Jacob drawing Water at the Well for Rachael and her Flock,
in the possession of Mrs. Evans.
The picture of the Citizens of London offering the Crown to William the
The Queen soliciting the King to pardon her son John.
Moses showing the brazen Serpent.
John showing the Lamb of God.
Three of the Children of the late Archbishop of York, with the portrait of
the Archbishop, half-lengths, in the possession of the Rev. Dr. Drummond.
The Family-picture, half-lengths, of Mrs. Cartwright's Children.
Do. of Sir Edmund Baker, Nephew and Niece, half-length.
Do. of--Lunis, Esq.'s Children, half-lengths.
A Lady leading three Children along the Path of Virtue to the Temple.
A picture of Madora.
The picture of the late Lord Clive receiving the Duannic from the Great
Mogul, for Lord Clive.
Christ receiving the Sick and Lame in the Temple, in the Pennsylvanian
Hospital, Philadelphia, 11 feet by 18.
The picture of Pylades and Orestes, for Sir George Beaumont.
The original sketch of Cicero at the Tomb of Archimedes, for ditto.
The picture of Leonidas ordering Cleombrotas into Banishment, with his
Wife and Children, for W. Smith, Esq.
Do. of the Marys at the Sepulchre, for General Stibert.
Do. of Alexander and his Physician, for ditto.
Do. of Julius Caesar reading the Life of Alexander.
Do. of the Return of the Prodigal Son, for Sir James Earle.
Do. of the Death of Adonis, for--Knight, Esq. Portland Place.
Do. of the Continence of Scipio, ditto.
Do. of Venus and Cupid, oval, for Mr. Steers Temple.
Do. of Alfred dividing his Loaf, presented to Stationers' Hall by
Do. of Helen brought to Paris, in the possession of a family in Kent.
A small sketch of the Shunamite's Son restored, &c.
Cupid stung by a Bee, oval, for--Vesey, Esq. in Ireland.
Agrippina surrounded by her Children, and reclining her Head on the Urn
containing the Ashes of Germanicus, ditto.
The Death of Wolfe, the fourth picture, for Lord Bristol.
A do. of do. the fourth picture, in the possession of the Prince of
A small do. of do. the fifth picture, ditto Moncton family.
A small picture of Romeo and Juliet, for the Duke of Courland.
A small picture of King Lear and his Daughters, ditto.
Do. of Belisarius and the Boy, for Sir Francis Baring.
Do. of Sir Francis Baring and part of his Family, containing six figures
as large as life, ditto.
Do. of Simeon and the Child, as large as life, for the Provost of Eton.
Do. of the late Lord Clive receiving the Duannic from the Great Mogul, a
second picture, for Madras.
The second picture of Philippa soliciting of Edward III. the pardon of the
Burgesses of Calais, in the possession of--Willet, Esq.
Do. of Europa on the back of the Bull, at Calcutta.
Do. of the Death of Hyacinthus, painted for Lord Kerry, but now in the
National Gallery at Paris.
The picture of Venus presenting the Girdle to Juno, painted for
Lord Kerry, and in the National Gallery; figures as large as life
in both pictures.
Do. of Rinaldo and Armida, for Caleb Whitford, Esq.
Do. of Pharaoh's Daughter with the Child Moses, for--Park, Esq.: the
original painted for General Lawrence.
Do. of the Stolen Kiss, painted for ditto, and in the possession of ditto.
Do. of Angelica and Madora, for ditto, ditto.
Do. of the Woman of Samaria at the Well with Christ, ditto.
Do. of Paetus and Arria, in the possession of Col. Smith, at the Tower.
Do. of Rebecca coming to David, for Sir J. Ashley.
The Drawing respecting Christ's Nativity, for Mr. Tomkins, Doctors'
Do. of Rebecca receiving the Bracelets at the Well, for the late Lord
The drawing of the Stolen Kiss, ditto.
Do. of Rinaldo and Armida, ditto.
Do. of a Mother and Child, ditto.
The whole-length portrait of Sir Thomas Strange, in the Town-hall
Do. of Sir John Sinclair.
The picture of Agrippina landing at Brundusium, (the first picture,) in
the possession of Lord Kinnoul.
Do. of do. for the Earl of Exeter, at Burleigh, second picture.
Do. of do. (third picture,) in the possession of---- Hatch, Esq., in
A small picture of Jupiter and Semele: the large picture lost at sea.
Hector parting with his Wife and Child at the Sun Gate.
The prophet Elisha raising the Shunamite's son.
The raising of Lazarus.
Edward III. crossing the River Somme.
Queen Philippa at the Battle of Nevil's Cuoss.
The Angels announcing to the Shepherds the Birth of our Saviour.
The Magi bringing Presents to our Saviour.
A view on the River Thames at Hammersmith.
A do. on the banks of the River Susquehanna, in America.
The picture of Tangire Mill, at Eton.
Do. of Chryseis returned to her father Chyses.
Venus and Adonis, large as life.
The sixth picture of the Death of Wolfe.
The first and second picture of the Battle of La Hogue.
The sketch, of Macbeth and the Witches.
The small picture of the Return of Tobias.
The small picture of the Return of the Prodigal Son.
Do. of Ariadne on the Sea-shore.
Do. of the Death of Adonis.
Do. of John King of France brought to the Black Prince.
Do. of Antiochus and Stratonice.
Do, of King Lear and his Daughter.
The picture of Chryses on the Sea-shore.
Do. of Nathan and David:--"Thou art the Man!" as large as life,
Do. of Elijah raising the Widow's Son to Life.
Do. of the Choice of Hercules.
Do. of Venus and Europa.
Do. of Daniel interpreting the Hand-writing on the Wall.
Do. of the Ambassador from Tunis, with his Attendant, as he appeared in
England in 1781.
The drawing of Marius on the Ruins of Carthage.
Do. of Cato giving his Daughter in Marriage on his Death, both in the
possession of the Archduke Joseph.
Do. of Belisarius brought to his Family.
The large picture of the Stag, or the rescuing of Alexander the Third, for
Lord Seaforth, 12 feet by 18.
The picture of Cymon and Iphigenia, and Endymion and Diana, at Wentworth
Do. of Cymon and Iphigenia, and Angelica and Madora, in the possession of
Mr. Mitton, of Shropshire, painted at Rome.
Small picture of the Battle of Cressy.
Small sketch of the Order of the Garter.
Mr. West's small picture of his Family.
The sketch of Edward the Third with his Queen, and the Citizens of
Mr. West's small copy from Vandyke's picture of Cardinal Bentivoglio, now
in the National Gallery at Paris.
Mr. West's copy from Correggio's celebrated picture at Parma, viz. the St.
Girolemo, now in the National Gallery.
The large Landscape from Windsor Forest.
The picture of Mark Antony showing the Robe and Will of Julius Caesar to
Do. of AEgistus viewing the Body of Clytemnestra.
The large sketch of the window at Windsor, of the Magi presenting Gifts to
the Infant Christ.
The small sketch of the Battle of Nevil's Cross.
The second small sketch of the Order of the Garter.
The small picture of Ophelia before the King and Queen, with her
Do. of the Recovery of His Majesty in the year 1789.
Do. from Thomson's Seasons, of Miranda and her Two Companions.
Do. of Edward the Third crowning Ribemont at Calais, a sketch.
The picture of Leonidas taking leave of his Family on his going to
Do. of a Bacchante, as large as life, half-length.
First sketch of the Battle of Cressy.
The picture of Phaeton soliciting Apollo for the Chariot of the Sun.
The second picture of Cicero at the Tomb of Archimedes.
The small picture of Belisarius and the Boy, different from that in the
possession of Sir Francis Baring.
The small picture of the Eagle giving the Vase of Water to Psyche.
Do. of the Death of Adonis, from Anacreon.
Do. of Moonlight and the "Beckoning Ghost," from Pope's Elegy.
Do. of the Angel sitting on the Stone at the Sepulchre.
Second picture of the same, but differing in composition.
A small sketch of ditto.
A sketch of King Lear and his Daughter.
The second picture of Angelica and Madora.
Do. of a Damsel and Orlando.
Mr. West's portrait, half-length.
Sketch of his two Sons, when Children.
Do. when Boys.
Do. when young Men.
Portrait of the Rev.---- Preston.
Picture of the Bacchante Boys.
Do. of the Good Samaritan.
Picture of the Destruction of the Old Beast and False
Do. of Christ healing the Sick, Lame, and Blind, in the Tenrple.
Do. of Tintern Abbey.
Do. of Death on the Pale Horse; or, the Opening of the Seals.
Do. of Jason and the Dragon, in imitation of Salvator Rosa.
Do. of Venus and Adonis looking at Cupids bathing.
Do. of Moses and Aaron before Pharaoh.
Do. of the Uxbridge Passage-boat on the Canal.
Do. of St. Paul and Barnabas rejecting the Jews, and turning to the
Picture of the Falling of Trees in the Great Park at Windsor.
Do. of Diomed and his Chariot-horses struck by the Lightning of Jupiter.
Do. of the Milk-woman in St. James's Park.
Do. of King Lear in the Storm at the Hovel.
Do. of the Expulsion of Adam and Eve from Paradise.
Do. of the Order of the Garter.
Do. of Orion on the Dolphin's back.
Do. of Cupid complaining to Venus of a Bee having stung his finger.
Do. of the Deluge.
Do. of Queen Elizabeth's Procession to St. Paul's.
Do. of Christ showing a Little Child as the Emblem of Heaven.
Do. of Harvest-home.
Do. of a View from the east end of Windsor Castle, looking over Datchet.
Do. of Washing of Sheep.
Do. of St. Paul shaking the Viper from his Finger.
Do. of the Sun setting behind a group of Trees on the banks of the Thames
Do. of the driving of Sheep and Cows to water.
Do. of Cattle drinking at a Watering-place in the Great Park, Windsor,
with Mr. West drawing.
Do. of Pharaoh and his Host drowned in the Red Sea.
Do. of Calypso and Telemachus on the Sea-shore; second picture.
Do. of Gentlemen fishing in the Water at Dagenham Breach.
Do. of Moses consecrating Aaron and his Sons to the priesthood.
Picture of the View of Windsor-Castle from Snow-Hill, in the Great Park.
Do. of a Mother inviting her little Boy to come to her through a small
Stream of Water.
Do. of the naming of Samuel, and the prophesying of Zacharias.
Do. of the Ascension of our Saviour.
Do of the Birth of Jacob and Esau.
Do. of the Brewer's Porter and Hod Carrier.
Do. of Venus attended by the Graces.
Do. of Samuel, when a Boy, presented to Eli.
Do. of Christ's Last Supper. (In brown colour.)
Do. of the Reaping of Harvest, with Windsor in the back-ground.
Do. of Adonis and his Dog going to the Chace.
Do. of Christ among the Doctors in the Temple.
Do. of Moses shown the Promised Land.
Do. of Joshua crossing the River Jordan with the Ark.
Do. of Christ's Nativity.
Do. of Mothers with their Children, in water,
Do. of Cranford Bridge.
Do, of the sketch of Pyrrhus when a Child, before King Glaucus.
Do. of the Traveller laying his Piece of Bread on the Bridle of the dead
Ass. From Sterne.
Do. of the Captivity. From ditto.
Do. of Cupid letting loose Two Pigeons.
Do. of Cupid asleep.
Do. of Children eating Cherries.
Sketch of a Mother and her Child on her Lap.
The small picture of the Eagle bringing the Cup to
The picture of St. Anthony of Padua and the Child.
Do. of Jacob, and Laban with his Two Daughters.
Do. of the Women looking into the Sepulchre, and beholding Two Angels
where the Lord lay.
Do. of the Angel loosening the Chains of St. Peter in Prison.
Do. of the Death of Sir Philip Sydney.
Do. of the Death of Epaminondas.
Do. of the Death of Bayard.
The small sketch of Christ's Ascension.
The sketch of a Group of Legendary Saints. In imitation of Reubens.
The picture of Kosciusco on a Couch, as he appeared in London, 1797.
Do. of the Death of Cephalus.
Do. of Abraham and Isaac:--"Here is the Wood and Fire, but where is the
Lamb for Sacrifice."
The sketch of the Bard. From Gray.
Do. of the Pardoning of John by his brother King Henry, at the
Solicitation of his Mother.
Do. of St. George and the Dragon.
The picture of Eponina with her Children, giving Bread to her Husband when
The sketch on paper of Christ's Last Supper.
The picture of the Pardoning of John, at his Mother's Solicitation.
Do. of the Death of Lord Chatham.
Do. of the Presentation of the Crown to William the Conqueror.
Do. of Europa crowning the Bull with Flowers.
Do. of Mr. West's Garden, Gallery, and Painting-Room.
Do. of the Cave of Despair. From Spenser.
The picture of Christ's Resurrection.
The sketch of the Destruction of the Spanish Armada.
The picture of Arethusa bathing.
The sketch of Priam soliciting of Achilles the Body of Hector.
The picture of Moonlight. (Small.)
The small sketch of Cupid showing Venus his Finger stung by a Bee.
The drawings of the Two Sides of the intended Chapel at Windsor, with the
Arrangement of the Pictures, &c.
The drawing of St. Matthew, with the Angel.
Do. of Alcibiades and Timon of Athens.
Do. of Penn's Treaty.
Do. of Regulus.
Do. of Mark Antony, showing the Robe and Will of Caesar.
Do. of the Birth of Jacob and Esau.
Do. of the Death of Dido.
The large sketch, in oil, (on paper,) of Moses receiving the Laws on
The large drawing of the Death of Hippolytus.
The large sketch, in oil, of the Death of St. Stephen. On paper.
The drawing of the Death of Caesar.
Do. of the Swearing of Hannibal.
Do. of the Expulsion of Adam and Eve.
Do. of the Deluge.
The sketch, in oil, of the Landing of Agrippina. On paper.
Do. of Leonidas ordering Cleombrotus into Banishment. On paper.
The drawing of the Death of Epaminondas.
The sketch, in oil, of the Death of Aaron. On paper.
The drawing of the Death of Sir Philip Sydney.
The sketch, in oil, (on paper,) of David prostrate, whilst the destroying
Angel sheathes the Sword.
The drawing of the Women looking into the Sepulchre.
Do. of St. John Preaching.
Do. of the Golden Age.
Do. of Antinous and Stratonice.
Do. of the Death of Demosthenes.
The large sketch, in oil, (on paper,) of Death on the Pale Horse.
The drawing of King John and the Barons with Magna Charta.
Do. of La Hogue.
Do. of Jacob and Laban.
The large ditto of the Destruction of the Assyrian Camp by the
The large sketch, in oil, (on paper,) of Christ raising the Widow's Son.
Do. in ditto, (on paper,) of the Water gushing from the Rock, when
struck by Moses.
The drawing of the Death of Socrates.
Do. of the Boyne.
Do. of the Death of Eustace St. Celaine.
The sketch, in oil, (on paper,) of the Procession of Agrippina with her
Children and the Roman Ladies through the Roman Camp, when in Mutiny.
The drawing of the Rescue of Alexander III. of Scotland from the Fury
of the Stag.
Do. of the Death of Wolfe.
The sketch, in oil, of King Alfred dividing his Loaf with a Pilgrim.
The sketch, in oil, of the Raising of Lazarus.
The small whole-length of Thomas a Becket, in oil, on canvass.
The small picture of the Death of the Stag.
The drawing of ditto.
Do. of Nathan and David.
Do. of Joseph making himself known to his Brethren.
The drawing of Narcissus in the Fountain.
Do. sketch, in small, of the Duannic received by Lord Clive.
Do. of the Continence of Scipio.
Do. of the Last Judgment, and the Sea giving up its Dead.
Do. of the Bard. From Gray;
Do. of Belisarius and his Family.
The sketch, in oil, of Aaron standing between the Dead and Living to stop
Do. on paper, of the Messenger announcing to Samuel the Loss of the
The drawing of Sir Philip Sydney ordering the Water to be given to the
The sketch of Christ Rejected.
The great picture of Christ Rejected.
Do. of Death on the Pale Horse.
The second picture of Christ healing the Sick.
The third great picture of Lord Clive receiving the Duannie.
Portrait of the Duke of Portland.
Portrait of Himself, left unfinished.
N.B. Besides these productions, Mr. West has, in his portfolios, drawings
and sketches exceeding two hundred in number.
[The following letter on an interesting subject is curious, and is
inserted here to be preserved.]
_Mr. West's Letter to Sir George Beaumont, Bart._
East Cowes Castle, Isle of Wight,
Sept. 30. 1815.
"DEAR SIR GEORGE,
"Your letter to me from Keswick of the thirty-first of last month I have
received at this place: in that letter you have honoured me with the
communication of 'the Lords Commissioners of His Majesty's Treasury having
done you the honour, among others, to inform you of the commands of His
Royal Highness the Prince Regent, that measures be forthwith taken for the
erection of a monument to commemorate the victory of Waterloo, in
pursuance of an address of the House of Commons; and to request you to
apply to such artists as you think fit, for designs for this national
column;' and you are pleased to say, that you believe at this distance you
cannot better forward their views than by applying to me.
"The honourable way in which you have noticed my humble abilities in the
arts, by calling on them for a design for a monument, to perpetuate an
occurrence of such high military glory and national greatness as that of
the victory of Waterloo, demands my warmest acknowledgments, and I also
feel a duty and profound respect for the sources of your instructions to
procure appropriate designs from the artists. When a monument is to be
raised by a great and victorious nation (such as England) in memory of her
departed as well as her living heroes, I feel it of the highest importance
to her national character, when her arts and her arms stand so high, that
they should bear a proud record to posterity of both their powers in such
a building as that now under consideration.
"To raise a record to departed virtue in an individual, an obelisk, a
column, or a statue, may bear an honourable name to posterity; but a
record when thousands have devoted their lives to save their country from
a rapacious enemy, as in those victories gained by the Greeks at
Thermopylae and Marathon; the English at Blenheim and Trafalgar; and,
lastly, that greatest of all, gained by the unsubdued valour and heroism
of the armies of the United Kingdom at Waterloo, demands a building of
greater magnitude and more national consequence than that of a column.
"Such a design as I have conceived to record that victory I will give to
yourself and others for your consideration; but not as a competitor
presenting a drawing or model for a decision to be made on it as offered
for competition: I therefore give you the following ideas on friendly
motives for a dignified building.
"All records to be transmitted, must be by the three means which have
been established for that purpose; namely, the pen, the pencil, and the
chisel. I therefore propose a building wherein these three may be
employed to express the various incidents, and to mark that victory
distinct from all others, by applying the several spoils and trophies
taken; and to have the building of considerable magnitude. For as the
subject is great, so should be its representative: nothing little or mean
should be accepted, or permitted to appear in such a work, nothing but
what will mark the great features of that event: all of which by dates,
names, and sculptured trophies, as well as paintings, may be proclaimed
and recorded to distant times.
"The basis of such an erection being intended solely to commemorate the
battle of Waterloo, its name should be in capital letters on the four
faces, and the trophies of that victory should enrich the sides of the
same; and the characters of the various military in British armies made
conspicuous by their numbers shown; and on the summit of the lofty pile
the sovereign's figure then in power should be placed.
"The plan and dimensions of the building I present to you are as
follows:--Its base a square of sixty feet, and its height thirty: this
will make each of the four faces of the base a double square on its
measurement. From the centre of this base a building to be erected in
diameter thirty feet, and in height one hundred and twenty, formed out of
the spoils of victory, and diminishing as it rises, and to be surmounted
by a figure twelve feet in height, including the pedestal on which it
stands, In the centre, over the front face of the great case, to be the
equestrian group of the Duke of Wellington, under which, in large letters,
WATERLOO to be inscribed; and the four angles of the great base
perpendicular tablets, ornamented with military insignia expressive of the
British armies, and inscribed on the four tablets the number of each
regiment who shared in the glories of that day, and by the four tablets be
placed the statues of distinguished generals. Thus I have presented you
with the external appearance of my imaginary building in honour of the
victory of Waterloo; and the interior of this building to be considered as
the place of deposit for preserving the powers of the pen, the pencil, and
other gems from perishing by water or by fire: to be built of stone, and
all its ornaments to be made of durable metals: all of which to be
illustrative of the victory for which such a building was erected.
"The situation of this building should be a populous one, and that within
a circus or square of a diameter not less than six hundred and fifty-eight
feet. This size of space will give the spectator an opportunity of viewing
the erection at double the distance of its elevation, which is the optical
distance that pictures, statues, and buildings should always be seen at.
"Should my ideas of a building to commemorate the military achievements of
Waterloo be viewed with complacency by yourself and others, I shall feel a
satisfaction, as President of the Royal Academy, to have done my duty; and
should His Royal Highness the Prince Regent be pleased to signify his
approbation, I shall be gratified and honoured. With the sincerity of
"My dear Sir George,
"Your obliged and obedient Servant,
* * * * *
Suffolk Lane, 28th Jan,
"MY DEAR SIR,
"Sir Philip Francis's critique on the _Transfiguration_ appears very
ingenious, so far as it explains the painter's design in representing the
Demoniac Boy as the connecting link between the action _on the Mount_ and
the groupe at the foot of it; but I cannot agree with Sir Philip in
supposing the picture to represent the _Ascension_ and as you request
me to state my reasons for this dissent, I shall briefly endeavour to
"I have _not_ seen the original picture; but in the copy of it by Harlow,
which was much admired in Rome, and which one would think must be
accurate, at least in regard to so important a point, since it was
exhibited beside the original--I say in Harlow's copy the raiment of our
Saviour is _white,_ not _blue_. The white has, indeed, in the shaded part,
a bluish tinge, but the colour is decidedly a _white_, and, therefore, Sir
Philip's assumption that it is _blue_ appears contrary to the fact.
"The _Transfiguration_ was witnessed by _only three_ of the Apostles,
Peter, James, and John, (see St. Matthew, chap. xvii, v. 1, 2, and 3.)
exactly as represented In the picture, 'and (see v. 9.) as they came down
from the mountain, Jesus charged them, saying, "Tell the vision to no man,
until the Son of Man be risen again from the dead."'
"It maybe as well, to prevent the trouble of an reference, to quote at
once from the Evangelist, the description of the subject which it appears
to me the painter meant to represent.
Chap. xvii. as before.
1. And after six days Jesus taketh Peter, James, and John his brother, and
bringeth them up into an high mountain apart,
2. And was transfigured before them: and his face did shine as the sun,
and his raiment was white as the light.
3. And, behold, there appeared unto them Moses and Elias talking with him.
6. And when the disciples heard, they fell on their faces, and were
14. And when they were come to the multitudes there came to him a man,
kneeling down to him, and saying,
15. Lord, have mercy on my son: for he is lunatic and sore vexed: and
oft-times he falleth into the fire, and oft into the water.
16. And I brought him to thy disciples, and they could not cure him, &c.
"Now this is exactly the scene delineated in the picture. There are _on
the Mount_ the three disciples, fallen on the ground, and shading their
faces from the '_bright cloud_' which _overshadows_ the transfigured
Saviour; and Moses and Elias are the two figures of old men attending the
Saviour, or '_talking with him._'
"At the _foot of the Mount_, there are _the multitude_, the lunatic boy,
_his father_ holding him, the _disciples_ who _could not cure him_; and
one of whom appears in the act of attempting to cure him, by addressing or
exorcising the demon who is in him. There are also _several women_ in the
groupe; and it seems that instead of bringing 'different incidents
together to constitute one plot,' the painter, on the contrary, has
exactly followed the Evangelist, and represented the same instant of time
in the action _on_ the Mount, among the _multitude_ at the foot of it.
"I cannot imagine how Sir Philip Francis could have supposed the picture
to represent the _Ascension_, which took place in the presence of the
_Eleven Apostles_ and of them only, (see St. Luke, last chapter and last
paragraph,) as follows:
"And he led them out as far as Bethany, and he lifted up his hands, and he
blessed them. And it came to pass, when he blessed them, he was parted
from them, and carried up into Heaven."
"This bears no resemblance whatever to the scene represented in the
picture, and the opinion given by Sir Philip can only have arisen from an
imperfect recollection of the Sacred Writings, and from having neglected
to refer to the text.
"My dear Sir,
_John Galt, Esq._
The Funeral of Mr. West.
It would be improper to close this appendix without giving some account of
the funeral of Mr. West.
Soon after Mr. West's decease, a deputation from the Council of the Royal
Academy waited on his sons and the executors, to apprise them of the
intention of that body to honour the remains of their late President., by
attending them to his grave, according to the ceremonial adopted on the
public interment of the late Sir Joshua Reynolds, in St. Paul's
Cathedral. His Majesty having, as Patron of the Royal Academy, given his
gracious sanction that similar honours should be paid to the late
venerable President, his sons and executors adopted active preparations
to carry the arrangement into effect. As the schools of the Royal Academy
were closed, and all its functions suspended, by the death of the late
President, it was of material importance on this account, and with the
view to the usual preparatory arrangements for the annual exhibition,
that the funeral should not be delayed; and as early a day as practicable
was therefore fixed for the public interment in St. Paul's Cathedral. The
obvious consequence, however, of this has been, that owing to the absence
from town, at this particular season, of so many noblemen and gentlemen
of the highest rank, and the indisposition of several others, many warm
admirers and friends of this celebrated artist and amiable man, who
have, during his long life, honoured him with their friendship, and who
have been particularly desirous of paying their last tribute of respect
to his remains, have been precluded attending the funeral. The corpse was
privately brought to the Royal Academy on Tuesday evening, attended by
the sons and grandson of the deceased, and two intimate friends, Mr.
Henderson (one of the trustees and executors of the deceased) and Mr.
Hayes (for many years his medical attendant), and was received by the
council and officers of the Royal Academy, and their undertaker and his
attendants, with every mark of respect. The body was then deposited in
the smaller Exhibition-room, on the ground-floor, which was hung on the
occasion with black.
About half-past ten yesterday morning, the Academicians, Associates, and
Students, assembled in the Great Exhibition-room, and the nobility,
gentry, and the deceased's private friends, soon after arrived, and joined
the mournful band. The chief mourners were in seclusion in the library of
the Academy. About half-past twelve o'clock, the whole of the arrangements
having been effected, the Procession moved from Somerset House to St.
Paul's Cathedral in the following order:
Six Constables, by threes.
Four Marshalmen, two and two.
City Marshal on horseback.
Undertaker on horseback.
Six Cloakmen on horseback, by twos.
Four Mutes on horseback, by twos.
Lid of Feathers, with attendant Pages.
Hearse and Six, with rich trappings, feathers, and velvets, attended by
Two Mourning Coaches and four, with attendant Pages, conveying the
Mourning Coach and Four, with attendant Pages, conveying the Sons and
Grandson of the deceased, as CHIEF MOURNERS.
Mourning Coach and Four, with attendant Pages, conveying the Family
Trustees and Executors of the deceased.
Mourning Coach and Four, with attendant Pages, conveying the Reverends the
Vicar of Mary-la-bonne, the Chaplain to the Lord Mayor, and the Medical
Attendant of the deceased.
Then followed Sixteen Mourning Coaches and Pairs, with Attendant Pages,
conveying the Right Rev. the Chaplain, the Secretary for Foreign
Correspondence, and the Members of the Royal Academy and Students.