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The American-born painter Benjamin West was one of the most successful artists of his generation. He was one of King George III’s favourite artists, which gave him privileges and wealth that made him the envy of his contemporaries. This polished portrait suggests an affluent and genteel personality.

West’s studio in London was a gathering place for Americans studying art in Europe. Many of these returned home to pursue careers in their newly independent homeland. This portrait is by one of West’s most successful American students, Gilbert Stuart.  

August 2004