Benjamin West selected papers from the Historical Society of Pennsylvania, 1755-1819

West, Benjamin, b. 1738 d. 1820
Painter, Portrait painter
Active in Pa., ; U.K.

Collection size: 5 partial microfilm reels.

Collection Summary: REEL P20 (fr.679): Memorandum by Anne M. Smith, 1855 Mar. 27, concerning Benjamin West's "Death of Socrates" and "View of Conestoga Creek."

REEL P23 (fr. 85, 108-157, 218-233): Portrait of West engraved by H. Meyer (?), from an original by T. Lawrence for the British Gathering of Contemporary Portraits, published by T. Cadell and W. Lavier, London, April 15, 1815; estate papers, 1814-1819, relating to Hannah West; card of admission for Mrs. Holland to see "Elgin Marbles" at Burlington House, May 1814; letters from West to George Dillwyn, John Singleton Copley, Peter Thomson, George William West, Mr. Rawle, Joseph Wharton, James Northcote, Sarah Robeson, and to the American Academy of the Fine Arts, about his portrait of Sir Thomas Lawrence, undated and 1772-1819; a letter to Mrs. West from Henry Sulger, Aug. 15, 1774, about West's picture of Christ; and an extract of a letter from Elizabeth West to Dr. Edwards, Jan. 7, 1798, reporting the death of her nephew.

REEL P24 (fr.34-38) : Biographical sketches of West, circa 1805, from the Historical Society of Pennsylvania's "Quaker Scrapbook," v. 2.

REELS P24 (fr. 527-627) & P25 (fr. 465-541): Correspondence, speeches, financial statements, catalogs, etc., of Benjamin West, 1788-1819, compiled by John Galt for his volume on "The Life, Studies, and Works of Benjamin West, Esq.", published in 1820.

REEL P25: Sketchbooks, 1790-1807; travelling expenses, 1807; account books and financial papers, 1790-1804 and 1810-1811; and a list of subscribers to the print of "The Death of Lord Nelson."

REEL 4560: Papers relating to West from HSP's Gilpin Collection (Collection (#704), including an account book with London Banker, 1790-1804, and 1810-1811; and a sketchbook and loose drawings, 1755-1819.

Biographical/Historical Note: Painter. Born in Pennsylvania, moved to London, where his studio became a center for expatriate Americans.

Material on reel P25 microfilmed by the Historical Society of Pennsylvania for the Archives of American Art, 1955. Material on reel 4560 lent for microfilming in 1991 by the Historical Society of Pennsylvania as part of AAA's Philadelphia Arts Documentation Project. [Account book and one sketchbook are filmed on both reels].

How to Use this Collection

  • Microfilm reels P20, P23-P25 & 4560 available for use at Archives of American Art offices and through interlibrary loan.
  • Reel 4560: Authorization to publish, quote or reproduce must be obtained from: Historical Society of Pennsylvania, 1300 Locust, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 19107
  • The Archives of American art does not own the original papers. Use is limited to the microfilm copy.
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