Benjamin West PRA was an American artist, who painted famous historical scenes such as The Death of Nelson, The Death of General Wolfe, and Benjamin Franklin Drawing Electricity from the Sky.
Entirely self-taught, West soon gained valuable patronage, and he toured Europe, eventually settling in London. He impressed George III and was largely responsible for the launch of the Royal Academy, of which he became the second president. He was appointed historical painter to the court and Surveyor of the King's Pictures.
West also painted religious subjects, as in his huge work The Preservation of St Paul after a Shipwreck at Malta, at the Chapel of St Peter and St Paul in Greenwich, and Christ Healing the Sick, presented to the National Gallery.