The Death of Wolfe is Exhibited at the Royal Academy

Along her journey to Thornfield Hall, Jane Eyre is first accommodated in Millcote at the George Inn. While describing the appearance of the Inn, Eyre recalls a mantlepiece adorned with prints of George the Third, the Prince of Wales, and "a representation of the death of Wolfe" (Brontë ch. 11). The representation of Wolfe she references is Benjamin West's masterpiece, The Death of General Wolfe. The painting was created to commemorate the loss of British General James Wolfe at the Battle of the Plains of Abraham, or the Battle of Quebec, on the thirteenth of September in 1759 (de Bruin 2006). General Wolfe was heavily respected and loved, and the public mourned him as a martyr of the Seven Years War. Benjamin West created the painting in 1770 and presented the work at the Exhibition of the Royal Academy in 1771 ("The Death of Wolfe"). The Royal Academy of Art in England was one of the most significant art societies in Europe as it was supported by King George III, and West's inclusion the third Royal Academy Exhibition secured his future as an artist. Around 1773, The Death of General Wolfe found its place on the walls of Buckingham Palace, and in 1792, Benjamin West became President of the Royal Academy ("The Death of Wolfe"). Charlotte Brontë's reference to West's work places the reader within the political atmosphere of Jane Eyre. Though Eyre was unaware of the creator of the work, she was knowledgeable of the subject, which suggests familiarity between Jane and the event being referenced. 

Works Cited

de Bruin, Tabitha. "Battle of the Plains of Abraham." The Canadian Encyclopedia, 7 Feb. 2006,

"The Death of Wolfe." Royal Collection Trust,

Associated Place(s)

Event date:

Summer 1771

Parent Chronology: