WEST (BENJAMIN) Autograph letter signed, to Tom Paine's friend, Thomas 'Clio' Rickman, 1818
Lot 185
WEST (BENJAMIN) Autograph letter signed, to Tom Paine's friend, Thomas 'Clio' Rickman, 1818
Sold for £475 (US$ 798) inc. premium
Lot Details
Autograph letter signed ("Benjamin West"), to Tom Paine's friend, Thomas 'Clio' Rickman, gladly accepting his request that he and "some of your 'Tribe' as you denominate them... Freely see my Picture of Death on the Pale Horse – with others of my Pictures now Exhibited at 125 Pall Mall and also those in my Gallery at No 14 Newman Street Oxford Street", and thanking him for the gift of Voltaire and "the Fragment by Clio Rickman"; docketed by the latter: "The hand writing of Benjamin West the great historical painter &c, see his life published in 1818 – Clio 1819", one page, guard, small repair in top margin, 4to, 19 March 1818


  • AN INVITATION TO SEE 'DEATH ON THE PALE HORSE'. John Keats had availed himself of an opportunity to see the same picture three months earlier, and wrote: 'I spent Friday evening with Wells & went the next morning to see Death on the Pale Horse. It is wonderful picture, when West's age is considered; But there is nothing to be intense upon; no women one feels mad to kiss; no face swelling into reality' (to his brothers, late December 1817). The picture remained in West's studio until his death, when it was auctioned for 2000 guineas. It is now in the Detroit Institute of Arts.

    Thomas Clio Rickman, who West invites to see the picture, was a radical bookseller and an especially close friend of Tom Paine, whose biography he wrote. He has been described as being 'to Paine what Boswell was to Johnson'. His "tribe" of sons bore the suitably republican names of Paine, Washington, Franklin, Rousseau, Petrarch and Volney. From the Enys Collection.
  1. Luke Batterham
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