The American Museum in Britain hosts talk by Loyd Grossman on Benjamin West and the Death of General Wolfe

August 21, 2015 - Nicky Hancock

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DR Loyd Grossman, CBE OBE, will deliver a lecture at the American Museum entitled How to Paint History on Friday 16 October 2015.

Loyd Grossman will discuss the genesis and influence of Benjamin West’s most famous picture and explore the personality of the artist who travelled from the backwoods of Pennsylvania to the state rooms of Buckingham Palace and the Presidency of the Royal Academy.

Benjamin West’s painting The Death of General Wolfe was the smash hit of the Royal Academy’s 1771 exhibition.  In a feat of compositional brilliance, West took the death of General James Wolfe at the moment of victory in the battle of Quebec and used the language of religious imagery to elevate contemporary news to the status of the great events of classical history, mythology, and the Bible. The Death of General Wolfe signalled a revolution in historical painting that influenced the work of Gericault, Courbet, Manet, Picasso, Lichtenstein, and others.

Loyd Grossman explores both why Wolfe has exercised such a magnetic grip on our imaginations for almost 250 years, and how, with this artwork, West helped to lay the foundations of a modern attitude that has affected the way we live and think ever since.

This lecture co-incides with the publication of his new book, published by Merrell, Benjamin West and the struggle to be Modern. Loyd Grossman will be signing copies of his book after the lecture.

Born and educated in Boston, Loyd Grossman studied at the London School of Economics and Magdalene College, Cambridge. He is, like West, an Anglo-American ‘inbetweener.’ He is Chairman of the Heritage Alliance, Chairman of the Churches Conservation Trust, and Deputy Chairman of the Royal Drawing School.

The lecture takes place at 7pm. For tickets priced at £10 (or £8 for Museum Members) please call 01225 820866 or e- mail

Notes to Editors

The American Museum in Britain hosts one of the finest collections of American decorative arts outside  the United States, displayed in a series of Period Rooms to illustrating life for earlyAmericans from the seventeenth to nineteenth centuries. The collection comprises over 200 historic American quilts, exceptional pieces of Shaker furniture, exuberant Folk Art paintings and sculptures, Native American objects, and Renaissance maps of the New World. Visitors may also explore the extensive grounds, including the Arboretum of American trees.  This year’s special exhibitions include Hatched, Matched, Dispatched – and Patched! – textiles interwoven with the stories of people’s lives and Spirit Hawk Eye, a series of photographs by Heidi Laughton capturing Native American culture.

Main Season 14 March – 1 November 2015, Tues – Sun, 12noon-5pm, Closed Mondays except during August and Bank Holidays

Admission, Museum, Exhibition and Gardens: Adults £10.00, Over 60’s & students £9.00, Children (5-   16 years) £5.50, Family ticket £27.50

Gardens only: Adults £6.00, Over 60’s & students £5.00, Children (5-16 years) £3.50

Gift Aid and Membership rates available

Tel: 01225 460503 or e-mail