Benjamin West

Study for "The Death of General Wolfe"

c. 1769
The deaths of Generals Wolfe and Montcalm in the Battle of the Plains of Abraham at Quebec, in 1759, inspired a number of paintings, the most famous of which is Benjamin West's, in the collection of the National Gallery of Canada. The present drawing is the only known surviving preparatory study, in which the artist has worked out the arrangement of the figures and the dramatic lighting, drawing on such religious scenes as Christ's Descent from the Cross to elevate this contemporary event into the realm of grand history painting.
Study for "The Death of General Wolfe"
c. 1769
pen and black ink and oil paint on laid paper
43 x 61.4 cm irregular
American; British
Credit line
Purchased 1984 with the assistance of a grant from the Government of Canada under the terms of the Cultural Property Export and Import Act
Accession number