The Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Art has an exhibition on First Academies: Benjamin West and the Founding of the Royal Academy of Arts and the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts.
Born on 10 October 1738 in Springfield, Pennsylvania, West was indeed one of the key people in the founding of the RA, a young Turk, hot from Italy, a protegé of the King and keen to make his reputation in grand, large-scale history painting.
Here is Penn’s Treaty with the Indians, exhibited at the RA in 1772:-
This is his Self-portrait (1806), just after the foundation of the Pennsylvania Academy, which he vigorously supported :-
And his wife, Elizabeth:-
Finally, there is an example of his huge great machine painting in Death on a Pale Horse (1817), acquired by the Pennsylvania Academy in 1836:-
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Terrific ! Did this feature in Loyd Grossman’s thesis / catalogue ? If so, I’ve forgotten it.