Free History Studies: Benjamin West

Benjamin West enjoyed drawing, and became one of the most famous painters in England.

“How Benny West Learned to be a Painter”

  • Map the following (you’ll find mapping resources below):
  • When Benjamin West was young he enjoyed drawing birds, animals, and flowers.  Following the easy step-by-step instructions provided in the free eBook, Drawing Made Easy, choose a bird, animal, or flower to draw.
  • Benny West was using the ink from pokeberries to make his pictures.  Learn more about pokeweed.
  • The Indians showed Benjamin West how to obtain red and yellow ink.  Read how the Indians obtained the colors.
  • Find out how any color can be made by mixing red, yellow, and blue.
  • West’s mother provided him with indigo.  Review the lesson on indigo.
  • More about Benjamin West from the Book of Knowledge:

    Benjamin West (1738-1820), the Philadelphia Quaker, went to Rome, then to London.  Fifteen years later, Copley followed, and a short while after him young Gilbert Stuart also crossed to London and spent the war years picking up a living somehow until he found his way to West as a pupil….The fame of Benjamin West in London continued to increase.  Soon after his arrival there in 1763, he had won the personal friendship of King George III, and the royal patronage had given him prominence as well as wealth.  Partly persuaded by West, the King authorized the foundation of the Royal Academy, with Sir Joshua Reynolds as President; and largely because of his friendship with the King, West was elected president at Reynolds’ death.”Painting in North America to 1830,” The Book of Knowledge

Further Investigation

Benjamin West
Biography at Penn State.


Death of General Wolfe

Christ Healing the Sick

Self Portrait


Color Mixer
Interactive that helps you learn what colors to mix to create your color.

Pennsylvania Map/Quiz Printout

Interactive Map Maker {Free}
Make your own maps.

Benjamin West and His Cat Grimalkin {$2.99}

Benjamin West and His Cat Grimalkin by Marguerite Henry
Wonderful biography from a beloved author focusing on the young artist’s life, including the tale of his cat’s tail!

“Our First Great Painter”
Chapter from Fifty Famous People by James Baldwin.

“Benjamin West”
Chapter from Biographical Stories by Nathanial Hawthorne that fleshes out the stories in the lesson.

Description of the Picture, Christ Healing the Sick in the Temple, Painted by Benjamin West, Esq.
This free download includes the painter’s own descriptions of the painting linked to above upon its presentation to the Pennsylvania Hospital, including a diagram and explanation of the people in the painting.

Printables & Notebooking Pages

United States Map map for locating Pennsylvania.

Pennsylvania Map
Map for notebook, useful for locating Springfield.

Europe map for locating Italy and England.

PAT map for notebook.

PAT map for notebook.

Benjamin West Notebooking Pages
Simple pages for copywork, narrations, or wrapping up.

Enjoy the complete series:
Free History Studies: Stories of Great Americans
Free History Studies: Stories of Great Americans

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