West and 'The Death of Wolfe'
by Colonel C. P. Stacey, Director of History
Department of National Defence
Pages 1 | 2 |
1 A. H. Hubbard, ed., The National Gallery of Canada Catalogue
of Paintings and Sculpture. I: Older Schools. Ottawa and Toronto
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
President of the Royal Academy of London, London 1820, Part II,
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,
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.
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.
Top of this page
| Français | Introduction
Index | Author
& Subject | Credits | Contact
This digital collection
was produced under contract to Canada's Digital Collections program,
Collections Program, Copyright
© National Gallery of