The Death of General Wolfe, 1759
Oil on copper panel, after the painting by Benjamin West (1738-1820), 1770 (c).
Wolfe is shown surrounded by officers and men after being fatally wounded at the Battle of the Heights of Abraham, Quebec, 13 September 1759.
James Wolfe came from a family of professional soldiers and was a rising star of the British Army. Wolfe fought at the Battles of Dettingen (1743) and Culloden (1746) but it was his role in the campaign in North America during the Seven Years War (1756-1763) that raised him to the level of national hero.
In 1759, although still only 32, Wolfe was appointed to command the British expedition against the French fortress of Quebec. In a battle fought just outside the city, Wolfe's army won a stunning victory over the French. It led to the fall of Quebec and marked the beginning of the end of French control of Canada.
Wolfe was mortally wounded early on in the battle, and did not live to celebrate his victory. He became a legend - a charismatic young soldier who died heroically in action at the moment of his triumph.
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National Army Museum, Out of Copyright
National Army Museum, Study collection
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