George William West created his first miniature at fifteen. In 1788 the aspiring young painter traveled to London to study under Benjamin West, to whom he was not related. The older West was so impressed with the talents of his pupil that he made certain George was admitted into the Academy of Fine Arts in London. George’s budding career was cut short after he contracted tuberculosis and was forced to return home to Baltimore in 1790. Once back in America, he continued to paint as much as his health permitted, until his death at the age of twenty-five.