The Wolfe Man: Benjamin West's Anglo-American Accent

Monks, Sarah (2011) The Wolfe Man: Benjamin West's Anglo-American Accent. Art History, 34 (4). pp. 652-673. ISSN 1467-8365

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Abstract

Rejecting the polarizing conceptions of loyalism and rebellion with which American colonial sentiment has conventionally been described, this article sets out to return to Benjamin West his status as ‘Anglo-American’ and to suggest some of the ways in which his work registers the meanings of that term as Britain and America separated politically. For many who were both pro-colonial and pro-American, ‘Anglo-American’ relations were to be modelled on forms of erotic, romantic and maternal love, of the kind which West repeatedly depicted in sentimental mythological and history images. Reading these works alongside West’s colonial origins, his reception in London and the changing shape of transatlantic affairs, this article argues that West’s images speak of the colonial embrace subtly, equivocally and in accented form. As the concluding analysis suggests, however, the sheer mutability, artificiality and ambivalence of West’s art may provide its most significant content.

Item Type: Article
Faculty \ School: University of East Anglia > Faculty of Arts and Humanities > Research Groups > Art History and World Art Studies
Faculty of Arts and Humanities > School of Art, Media and American Studies
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Depositing User: Sarah Monks
Date Deposited: 04 Jan 2012 15:38
Last Modified: 21 Apr 2020 16:33
URI: https://ueaeprints.uea.ac.uk/id/eprint/35882
DOI: 10.1111/j.1467-8365.2010.00840.x

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