(1738–1820), American — painter
Son of John West (1690–1776) and his second wife, Sarah née Pearson (1697–1756). In 1764 he married Elizabeth Shewell (1741–1814). He began painting early; he painted his first historical picture, The Death of Socrates, in 1756. He moved to Philadelphia and then, in 1760, to Italy to continue his studies. In 1763 he moved to London, where his reception was so warm that he settled in London. He became a leader of the neo-classical movement in England; recipient of numerous commissions from George III, including decoration for Windsor Castle 1779–1801. President of the Royal Academy 1792, he was re-elected for many years. One of the foremost exponents of the modern history painting, he is best known for his The Death of General Wolfe (1770).
Biographical note by Electronic Enlightenment Project.
First released May 2009.
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