Benjamin West's First Effort in Art, from "Illustrated London News"

After Edward Matthew Ward British
Subject Benjamin West American

Not on view

Clad in an 18th-century frock coat, a boy kneels by a cradle and uses a quill pen to sketch a sleeping baby. The setting is a well-appointed country house, with a carpet on the floor, table piled with food and vessels, a leather-bound volume, hour-glass and bow near the window, peacock-feather fan on the floor, and rural landscape glimpsed through an open door. The painter Edward Matthew Ward here imagines how Benjmin West, the talented son of an innkeeper in colonial Springfield (now Swarthmore, near Philadelphia), learned to draw (at twenty-two he would study in Rome, then settle in London, become painter to George III, and succeed Sir Joshua Reynolds as President of the Royal Academy). This wood-engraved version of the image appeared in the "Illustrated London News" in 1849.

Benjamin West's First Effort in Art, from "Illustrated London News", After Edward Matthew Ward (British, London 1816–1879 Windsor), Wood engraving

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