Robert Lucius West, Portrait Painter

(b. about 1774, d. 1850)

Portrait Painter

From A Dictionary of Irish Artists 1913

Robert Lucius West, R.H.A. Picture, by Himself; in the National Gallery of Ireland.

Born about 1774, son of Francis Robert West (q.v.). He was instructed by his father in the Dublin Society's School, and obtained medals there in 1795 and 1796. In 1800 he sent two pastels to the Artists' Exhibition at Allen's in Dame Street; and in the following year nine, including a "Portrait of Himself," to the exhibition in the Parliament House. He exhibited again in 1802, and at the various exhibitions between 1809 and 1819. He painted portraits and subject-pieces both in oil and crayons, and, although he did not equal his father as a draughtsman, he showed considerable ability as a painter. In 1807 he presented to the Dublin Society a "Portrait of the Right Hon. John Foster, the first public essay of my talent"; and was given a sum of fifty guineas to enable him to go to London for further improvement in his art. He spent the year 1808 in London, and exhibited in the Royal Academy a "Subject from Gray's Elegy."

He had for some time assisted in the Dublin Society's School, and after the death of his father in 1809 he was chosen to succeed him as Master of the Figure School. On the foundation of the Royal Hibernian Academy in 1823 West was nominated as one of the original Members, and he contributed to its first exhibition in 1826, and continued as an exhibitor until 1849. In January, 1845, owing to his great age and failing powers, he retired from the mastership of the Society's School and received a pension of sixty pounds. He continued to paint and to exhibit in the Academy for a few years longer, but his pictures done in these later years were severely commented on: "A timely retirement would be judicious," says the "Art Union" for 1846; and his picture of "The Seven Churches," exhibited in 1847, was described as "a gross violation of truth in its topographical accuracy."

He died on the 3rd June, 1850, and was buried at Mount Jerome, where there is a monument with a short inscription to his memory.

Portrait of Himself. [Council Room, Royal Hibernian Academy.] Presented by his brother, Dr. William West, in 1850.

Portrait of Himself. Christie's, 15th February, 1904.

Portrait of Himself. Oil miniature. [National Gallery of Ireland.]

Portrait of his father, F. R. West. [Council Room, Royal Hibernian Academy.] Presented by his brother, Dr. William West, in 1850.

Sir Richard Baker, High Sheriff of Dublin, 1834. R.H.A., 1836. Painted for the Taylors' Corporation, Guild of St. John.

James Henry Brocas, artist. [National Gallery of Ireland.] Painted in 1814. Formerly belonged to William Brocas (q.v.).

John Philpot Curran. R.H.A., 1827.

Rt. Hon. John Foster. [Royal Dublin Society, Kildare Street.]

Robert Laffan, R.C. Archbp. of Cashel. R.H.A., 1836.

James, 1st Viscount Lifford, [National Gallery of Ireland.] A copy, bust only, from the full-length picture by Sir Joshua Reynolds.

Samuel Sproule, architect. R.H.A., 1826.

A "Man in a state of semi-starvation lying on a bed of straw, near which are two rats." Engraved by Bartolozzi.

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