American Commissioners of the Peace Agreement with Great Britain
“American Commissioners of the Preliminary Peace Agreement with Great Britain,” also known as the “Treaty of Paris,” by Benjamin West, depicts the United States delegation preparing to negotiate and sign the 1783 Treaty of Paris.
The Treaty of Paris, signed in Paris by representatives of King George III of Great Britain and representatives of the United States of America in 1783, ended the American Revolutionary War.
The treaty set the boundaries between the British Empire in North America and the United States of America. Details included fishing rights and restoration of property and prisoners of war.
The unfinished oil sketch by Benjamin West depicts the United States delegation at the Treaty of Paris (left to right): John Jay, John Adams, Benjamin Franklin, Henry Laurens, and William Temple Franklin.
Before ending the American Revolution, the American delegation posed for the painting. The British delegation refused to pose, and the painting was never completed.
Treaty of Paris (1783)
The treaty ended the American Revolutionary War, and the separate peace treaties between Great Britain and the nations that supported the American cause—France, Spain, and the Dutch Republic—are known collectively as the Peace of Paris.
Only Article 1 of the treaty, which acknowledges the United States’ existence as free, sovereign, and independent states, remains in force.
Last page of the Treaty of Paris, with the American signatures
The treaty was very generous to the United States in terms of greatly enlarged boundaries. The British generosity was based on a vision of the potential close economic ties between Britain and the United States.
The concession of the vast trans-Appalachian region was designed to facilitate the growth of the American population and create lucrative markets for British merchants, without any military or administrative costs to Britain.
The United States became a significant trading partner with England. As the French foreign minister put it,
“The English buy peace rather than make it.”
Vermont was included within the boundaries because the state of New York insisted that Vermont was a part of New York. However, Vermont was then under a government that considered Vermont not to be a part of the United States.
American Commissioners of the Preliminary Peace Agreement with Great Britain
- Title: American Commissioners of the Preliminary Peace Agreement with Great Britain
- Artist: Benjamin West
- Year: 1784
- Medium: Oil and canvas
- Dimensions: Height: 72.3 cm (28.4 in) Edit this at Wikidata; Width: 92 cm (36.2 in)
- Type: History Painting
- Museum: Winterthur Museum, Garden and Library
Benjamin West (1738 – 1820) was a British North American artist who painted famous historical scenes. West was born in Springfield, Pennsylvania, as the tenth child of an innkeeper and his wife.
He was entirely self-taught and went on to gain valuable patronage in the American Colonies. Later he toured Europe, eventually settling in London.
West became known for his history paintings, which used expressive figures, colors, and compositional schemes to help the spectator to identify with the scene represented.
He impressed King George III and was mostly responsible for the launch of the Royal Academy, of which he became the second president after Sir Joshua Reynolds.
He was appointed historical painter to the court and Surveyor of the King’s Pictures.
- Name: Benjamin West
- Born: 1738 – Springfield, Province of Pennsylvania
- Died: 1820 (aged 81) – London, United Kingdom
- Notable works:
History Brief: The Treaty of Paris 1783
The Treaty of Paris (1783)
A Virtual Tour of History Paintings
- “Washington Crossing the Delaware” by Emanuel Leutze
- “The Family of Darius before Alexander” by Paolo Veronese
- “Las Meninas” or “The Ladies-in-Waiting” by Diego Velázquez
- “The Third of May 1808″ by Francisco Goya
- The Second of May 1808 – The Charge of the Mamelukes by Francisco de Goya
- “The Fighting Temeraire” by Joseph Mallord William Turner
- “Westward the Course of Empire Takes Its Way” by Emanuel Leutze
- “The Capture of the Hessians at Trenton, December 26, 1776″ by John Trumbull
- “The March to Valley Forge” by William B. T. Trego
- “The Massacre at Chios” by Eugène Delacroix
- “The Execution of Lady Jane Grey” by Paul Delaroche
- “Cromwell in Battle of Naseby” by Charles Landseer
- “The Surrender of Breda” by Diego Velázquez
- “Hannibal and his Army Crossing the Alps” by J. M. W. Turner
- “The Death of Marat” by Gioacchino Giuseppe Serangeli after Jacques-Louis David
- “Oath of the Horatii” by Jacques-Louis David
- “The Coronation of Napoleon” by Jacques-Louis David
- “The Burning of the Houses of Lords and Commons by J. M. W. Turner
- “The Burning of the Houses of Parliament” by J. M. W. Turner
- “The Triumph of Cleopatra” by William Etty
- “Dempsey and Firpo” by George Bellows
- Floreat Etona! by Elizabeth Thompson
- Scotland Forever! by Elizabeth Thompson
- “The Last Day of Pompeii” by Karl Bryullov
- Leonidas at Thermopylae by Jacques-Louis David
- The Election Series by George Caleb Bingham
- “The Defeat of the Floating Batteries at Gibraltar” by John Singleton Copley
- “Watson and the Shark” by John Singleton Copley
- “The Death of Major Peirson, 6 January 1781″ by John Singleton Copley
- “Frederick the Great Playing the Flute at Sanssouci” by Adolph Menzel
- “The Anatomy Lesson of Dr. Nicolaes Tulp” by Rembrandt
- “Entry of Alexander into Babylon” by Charles Le Brun
- “Pollice Verso” by Jean-Léon Gérôme
- “The Battle of Anghiari” by Peter Paul Rubens – Copy of Leonardo da Vinci’s Lost Painting
- “The Death of General Warren at the Battle of Bunker’s Hill, June 17, 1775” by John Trumbull
- “Declaration of Independence” by John Trumbull
- “The Death of General Mercer at the Battle of Princeton, January 3, 1777″ by John Trumbull
- “Benjamin Franklin Drawing Electricity from the Sky” by Benjamin West
The 1783 Treaty of Paris
The Treaty of Paris, 1783
Treaty of Paris 1783 (American Revolutionary War)
“To recognize great talent, we must encourage dreamers.”
– Benjamin West
Photo Credit: Benjamin West [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons; ourdocuments.gov / Public domain