Benjamin West
1738 - 1820
Born in Pennsylvania, and recognized during his childhood as having exceptional skills as a draughtsman, West traveled first to Italy, then to London to study, and never returned to the American colonies. He was patronized by the Crown, painting portraits of the Royal family and of important historic events. Although he lived in England for the rest of his life, becoming President of the Royal Society on two occasions, he remained an active member of the group of Americans abroad taking young painters into his studio, writing letters of support for North American artists in London and English artists going to Pennsylvania. He painted Franklin's portrait and other subjects related to America.