West, Robert (DNB00)

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WEST, ROBERT (d. 1770), artist, was born at Waterford, the son of an alderman of that city, and is said to have been trained in Paris. He for some years conducted a drawing academy in George Lane, Dublin, and when the Royal Dublin Society established a school of design in Shaw's Court was appointed the first master. This position he held until 1763, when, becoming mentally deranged, he was superseded by a former pupil, Jacob Ennis. On the death of the latter in 1770 West was reappointed, but died in the same year. He was an accomplished draughtsman and an excellent teacher.

Francis Robert West (1749?–1809), son of Robert, studied in Paris, where he was a pupil of Van Loo and worked in the French Academy. On 11 Oct. 1770 he succeeded his father as master of the Dublin school of design, and this post he filled with great success throughout his life. Like his father, he excelled as a draughtsman in crayons, having a profound knowledge of the human figure, which he could draw without models, but painted little in oils. There exists a set of ten plates of moral emblems, engraved from compositions by him, and dedicated to various Irish noblemen. West died at Dublin on 24 Jan. 1809. He had many good pupils, including Sir Martin Archer Shee [q. v.] His portrait, painted by his brother Robert Lucius, is in the Royal Hibernian Academy (Cat. Third Loan Exhib. No. 86).

Robert Lucius West (d. 1849) was a son of Francis Robert West, and for some years acted as assistant to his father. On the death of the latter in 1809 he succeeded to the mastership of the school, which he retained for about forty years. He painted portraits and historical subjects, and in 1808 exhibited at the Royal Academy in London a subject from Gray's ‘Elegy.’ He was a member of the Irish Society of Artists, and on the foundation of the Royal Hibernian Academy in 1823 was nominated an original academician. The National Gallery of Ireland possesses a portrait of J. H. Brocas, the landscape-painter, by West, also a miniature of the latter by himself. West died early in October 1849.

[Redgrave's Dict. of Artists; Pasquin's Professors of Painting, &c., who have practised in Ireland, 1795; Sarsfield Taylor's Fine Arts in Great Britain, 1841; information from S. Catterson Smith, esq., R.H.A., and W. Strickland, esq.]

F. M. O'D.