Benjamin West PRA, The Death of General Wolfe

The Death of General Wolfe, 1 January 1776

After Benjamin West PRA (1738 - 1820)

RA Collection: Art

This engraving has been described as 'one of the most commercially successful prints ever published' and the income it generated was the foundation of the fortune made by Alderman Boydell as a print publisher (see Helmut von Erffa and Allen Staley, The Paintings of Benjamin West, 1986, p.213).

The original painting, which is now in the National Gallery of Canada, Ottawa (with a later version at Ickworth House, Suffolk), was exhibited at the Royal Academy in 1771 and purchased by Lord Grosvenor in the same year. King George III declined to buy it on the grounds that showing 'heroes in coats, breeches and cock'd hats' impaired the dignity of the subject. However, West's innovation of depicting the figures in contemporary dress was generally considered to be groundbreaking and helped to make both the painting and the subsequent engraving famous.

Object details

The Death of General Wolfe
After Benjamin West PRA (1738 - 1820)
Engraved by
William Woollett (1735 - 1785)
Published by
William Woollett (1735 - 1785) and John Boydell (1720 - 1804) and William Wynne Ryland (1733 - 1783)
1 January 1776
Object type
Line engraving

427 mm x 590 mm

Royal Academy of Arts
Object number
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