In the decade following General Wolfe’s death in 1759, this was the most famous image of this remarkable young man. It is the earliest accurate portrait of him at the moment of his greatest victory at Quebec in 1759, during the Seven Years’ War (1756–1763).
When news of Wolfe’s heroic death in the service of his country reached Britain on 16 October 1759, he became a celebrity overnight. The public wanted to know what he looked like, but because he died in action there were no existing portraits showing him at the time of his triumph. This painting is the closest there is: although painted shortly after his death, it is based on an eyewitness sketch by Wolfe’s aide-de-camp, Captain Hervey Smyth.
Where to see this painting?
National Army Museum
Royal Hospital Road
Chelsea, London, Greater London, England, SW3 4HT
If you are planning a visit to see this painting, check with the collection first. Paintings can be moved at short notice.
purchased from an anonymous source with aid from the National Heritage Memorial Fund, the Garfield Weston Foundation, Society of Friends of the National Army Museum, the Art Fund and donations from the public, 2008