National Gallery of Canada / Musée des beaux-arts du Canada

Bulletin 7 (IV:1), 1966

Annual Index
Author & Subject

Benjamin West and 'The Death of Wolfe'

by Colonel C. P. Stacey, Director of History 
Department of National Defence

1  |  2  |  3 


1 A. H. Hubbard, ed., The National Gallery of Canada Catalogue of Paintings and Sculpture. I: Older Schools. Ottawa and Toronto 1957.p. 133.

2 J. Clarence Webster, Wolfe and the Artists: A Study of his Portraiture. Toronto 1930. p. 64ff. Anonymous, 'Benjamin West's "The Death of Wolfe": Bulletin No. 17, The William L. Clements Library, Ann Arbor 1928.

3 John Galt, The Life, Studies. and Works of Benjamin West. Esq., President of the Royal Academy of London, London 1820, Part II, p. 46ff.

4 Charles Mitchell, 'Benjamin West's "Death of General Wolfe" and the Popular History Piece., Journal of the Warburg and Courtauld Institutes, VII, 1944. 20-33. J. Clarence Webster, 'Pictures of the Death of Major-General James Wolfe', Transactions of the Royal Society of Canada. 3rd Series, 1925, reprinted in Journal of the Society for Army Historical Research. VI, January-March 1927, with important additions by the editor.

5 Galt. loc.cit.

6 In addition to articles already cited, seethe Marquess of Sligo, 'Some Notes on the Death of Wolfe', Canadian Historical Review, III, September 1922, and A. G. Doughty, ed.,' A New Account of the Death of Wolfe', ibid., IV, March 1923. There appear to be two early keys to the individuals in the picture: one accompanying Woollet is engraving of 1776, which identifies only six people, and the Grosvenor House Catalogue of pictures, which doubtless derives from the Woollett key and is said to identify seven (see E. Alfred Jones, 'The History of a Picture', Canadian Magazine, LVI, December 1920, pp. 106-112). The Marquess of Sligo attempts a complete key in the article cited.

7 C. P. Stacey, Quebec 1759: The Siege and the Battle, Toronto 1959, p. 151.

:8 Note the similarity to the profile reproduced in A. E. Wolfe-Aylward, The Pictorial Life of Wolfe, Plymouth, England, 
1926, p. 109.

9 Jones, p. 112, note 6.

10 This discovery was made some years ago by Dr W. S. A. Dale, now Acting Director of the National Gallery of Canada.

11 e.g., Wolfe-Aylward, p. 99.

12 Robert Wright, The Life of Major-General James Wolfe..., London 1864, p. 603. cf. Archibald Malloch, 'Robin and John Adair', Bulletin of the New York Academy of Medicine, XIII, second series, October 1937. The face in West's picture does not seem similar to that of Robert Adair in his surviving portrait. There is no known portrait of John.

13 A. G. Doughty with G. W. Parmelee, The Siege of Quebec and the Battle of the Plains of Abraham, Quebec 1901, III, p. 222.

14 Wright, p. 603.

15 Stacey, p. 176.

16 Reproduced in colour in Webster, Wolfe and the Artists. See also Capt. H. Oakes-Jones, 'Wolfe and his Portraits: A Critical Study of the Uniforms Depicted', Journal of the Society for Army Historical Research, XV, Spring 1936.

17 Oskar Hagen, The Birth of the American Tradition in Art. New York and London 1940, p. 115.

18 On the reputation of West and the picture, see in addition to the important article by Mitchell mentioned in note 4, Ruthven Todd, 'Benjamin West vs. the History Picture', Magazine of Art, X LI, December 1948, and Edgar Wind, 'The Revolution of History Painting', Journal of the Warburg Institute, II, 1938-9.

19 See the argument presented by the present writer in Quebec, 1759.

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