(n/a) English School, circa 1770, after Benjamin West (1738-1820)
'The Death of General Wolfe'. Enamel on gold, rectangular ormolu frame with pierced ribbon cresting, the reverse with easel attachment. Oval, 30mm (1 3/16in) high
'The Death of General Wolfe', completed by the American artist Benjamin West in 1770 and exhibited at the Royal Academy in 1771, is one of the better-known examples of the school of 'history painting' which was so popular throughout the mid to late eighteenth century.
General James Wolfe (1727-1759) distinguished himself during the Seven Years War, which saw the forces under his command rout the French at Quebec, thereby strengthening the British hold on their territories in Canada. Sadly, at the moment when the battle seemed to be won, Wolfe received a fatal bullet wound to the chest and died on the field. Posthumously hailed as a hero in England, a memorial was erected in his honour in Westminster Abbey and numerous institutions, throughfares and landforms in Canada itself are named after him.