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Benjamin West on Sale Now at Auction

Benjamin West (1738-1820)  Please Register/Login to access your Invaluable Alerts

Show Lots:
Benjamin West (1738-1820) - Moses Showing the Brazen Serpent,

Lot 12: Benjamin West (1738-1820) - Moses Showing the Brazen Serpent,

Estimated Price: £6,000 - £8,000

Description: Benjamin West (1738-1820) - Moses Showing the Brazen Serpent, black chalk on buff paper, squared, mounted on contemporary laid paper support with inscribed pencil numbering, signed and dated B. West 1787 lower right on stone, with further pen and black ink signature and title inscription verso, 54 x 33.5 cm. (21 1/4 x 13 1/4 in) Provenance: Private collection, UK Literature: cf. The Paintings of Benjamin West, Helmut von Erffa and Allen Staley, 1986, no. 268 Engraved: by John Hall (1739-1797), etching and engraving for Thomas Macklin's Bible , 1793 The present drawing of Moses, and the following lot depicting St. John the Baptist , both appear to be studies for two large-scale oil paintings that West painted. The paintings later served as the basis for the engraved illustrations in Thomas Macklin's Bible , published circa 1793. The location of the finished paintings Moses Showing the Brazen Serpent, and St. John the Baptist is currently unknown. Apart from Macklin's engravings, the current two drawings provide the first real insight into how West's now lost paintings may have originally appeared. Von Erffa and Staley suggest in The Paintings of Benjamin West that these two lost paintings may have formed the outer wings of a triptych centred around West's The Resurrection (now held in St. George's Parish Church, Barbados). The fourth painting that West executed and that was illustrated in Macklin's Bible, was Saul and the Witch of Endor (now held in Wadsworth Atheneum, Hartford, Connecticut). The composition of the drawings Moses Showing the Brazen Serpent, and St. John the Baptist, differ somewhat to Macklin's illustrations, as one would expect, but the execution and style sit well when compared with the other grand and formidable compositions that West was producing following his contact with the philosopher Edmund Burke in the 1780s (cf. The Cleveland Museum of Art, Head of a Screaming Man, 1792, no. 1967.130.a).

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Live Auction: 12 days 5 hours

Starting bid: £3,000 (0 bids)

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Benjamin West (1738-1820) - St. John the Baptist,

Lot 13: Benjamin West (1738-1820) - St. John the Baptist,

Estimated Price: £6,000 - £8,000

Description: Benjamin West (1738-1820) - St. John the Baptist, black chalk on buff paper, squared, mounted on contemporary laid paper support with inscribed pencil numbering, signed and dated B. West 1787 lower right, with further pen and black ink signature and title inscription verso, 53.5 x 32.5 cm. (21 x 12 3/4 in) Provenance: Private collection, UK Literature: cf. The Paintings of Benjamin West, Helmut von Erffa and Allen Staley, 1986, no. 297 Engraved: by John Landseer (1769-1852), etching and engraving for Thomas Macklin's Bible , 1793.

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Live Auction: 12 days 5 hours

Starting bid: £3,000 (0 bids)

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