Benjamin West (1738-1820) artist

  • About the work
  • About the artist
    George Henry Harlow was born in London, the son of a merchant based in China, who died four months before the birth of his only son. From a young age Harlow was apprenticed to Flemish painter Hendrik Frans de Cort. At 15 he became apprenticed to Thomas Lawrence, but stayed for only a year. He is reputed to have been vain and to have worn extreme fashions and walked with a deliberate swagger, earning him the nickname Clarissa Harlowe. He exhibited at the Royal Academy from 1806. In 1819, he returned from a trip to Italy complaining of a sore throat. An entry in Farington’s diary reveals that an external swelling was visible on his throat and was ‘supposed to be mumps’. His condition deteriorated and he died at his home in Soho, aged just 31.
    London-born engraver James Fittler exhibited two sketches at the Free Society of Artists, aged 17. He studied engraving at the Royal Academy Schools from 21 and exhibited there between 1788 and 1824, becoming an associate in 1800. He was later appointed marine engraver to George III. He contributed to Boydell’s ‘Shakespeare Gallery’ and co-published ‘Views of Weymouth’ (1790-91) and (with Robert Bowyer) an illustrated bible (1795), losing some £1500 in the later venture. He published engravings for John Claude Nattes's ‘Scotia Depicta’ (1804) and made reproductions of Raphael's ‘Cartoons’ (1810). His last published works illustrated Thomas Frognall Dibdin's ‘Account of the Mansion, Books, and Pictures, at Althorp’ (1822). He died aged 77.
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    People
    West, Benjamin
    Places
    Materials & Techniques
    engraving
  • Details
    Title
    Benjamin West (1738-1820) artist
    Date
    8 April 1817
    Medium
    Engraving
    Acquisition
    Convent, Gibraltar (Governor's Residence) collection.
    GAC number
    17934