ShareThis Page
Westmoreland

Fort Ligonier visitors can enjoy Benjamin West sketch when renovated art gallery opens

Jeff Himler
| Thursday, April 12, 2018, 9:33 p.m.
Manuel Aywazian of Capitol Exhibit Services installs an informational placard April 11, 2018 as part of the art gallery renovation at Fort Ligonier.
Jeff Himler | Tribune-Review
Manuel Aywazian of Capitol Exhibit Services installs an informational placard April 11, 2018 as part of the art gallery renovation at Fort Ligonier.
This 18th century silver serving tray that belonged to British statesman William Pitt the Elder soon will be displayed in the renovated art gallery at the Fort Ligonier Museum.
Fort Ligonier Museum
This 18th century silver serving tray that belonged to British statesman William Pitt the Elder soon will be displayed in the renovated art gallery at the Fort Ligonier Museum.
Manuel Aywazian of Capitol Exhibit Services installs an informational placard April 11, 2018 as part of the art gallery renovation at Fort Ligonier.
Jeff Himler | Tribune-Review
Manuel Aywazian of Capitol Exhibit Services installs an informational placard April 11, 2018 as part of the art gallery renovation at Fort Ligonier.
Brad Mooney of Heritage Restorations explains work underway to restore the east bastion at Fort Ligonier.
Jeff Himler | Tribune-Review
Brad Mooney of Heritage Restorations explains work underway to restore the east bastion at Fort Ligonier.

Visitors to Fort Ligonier will discover a newly acquired sketch by early Anglo-American artist and Pennsylvania native Benjamin West when the fort museum opens its renovated art gallery later this month.

The updated gallery represents one of the final pieces of the recreated 18th century fort's $8.2 million museum expansion, renovation and restoration project.

According to Erica Nuckles, the fort's director of history and collections, the West sketch was never developed as a finished painting.

It shows a British officer in 1758 reclaiming the remains of family members killed on Braddock's Field in the Battle of the Monongahela, an earlier engagement of the French and Indian War.

"It depicts the emotional moment when Major Sir Francis Halkett identified the bones of his father and brother, both killed under what a witness called a remarkable tree over three years before," Nuckles said.

The sketch will be displayed next to "The Reunion," an historical painting of the same scene by modern artist Robert Griffing.

Joining the display will be a silver serving tray that bears the crest of colonial British official William Pitt, whose name is recalled in Fort Pitt and Pittsburgh.

The gallery also will show editions of an 18th century book recounting Col. Henry Bouquet's 1764 expedition into the Ohio Country to confront Native American foes during Pontiac's War. In 1763, Bouquet's British troops successfully defended their local encampment at Bushy Run against a native attack.

The art gallery will be officially unveiled April 28.

As a bonus, marketing director Julie Donovan said, "George Washington will be here that day" — through an appearance by reenactor Dean Malissa, who has portrayed the first president at Washington's restored home, Mount Vernon.

Moving back to the gallery will be 19 paintings that relate to the French and Indian War. Among the newer additions to the collection are five landscapes depicting sites from the war — including one created in 1854 to mark the centennial of Washington's early setback, his surrender to the French at Fort Necessity.

The gallery will be equipped with new iPads that allow visitors to explore additional works by the 11 represented artists — including Sir Joshua Reynolds, Allan Ramsay and Rembrandt Peale.

In the fort itself, Brad Mooney of Historic Restorations is overseeing preservation of the east bastion of the wooden fortifications, removing and replacing log sections that are rotting.

Donovan noted the fort and museum will have extended summer hours, until 7 p.m., on Thursdays and Fridays from June through August.

"This is a great place to be on a summer evening," she said. "It's just beautiful."

Normal hours through Nov. 25 are 9:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Saturday and 11 a.m to 5 p.m. Sunday.

Jeff Himler is a Tribune-Review staff writer. Reach him at 724-836-6622, jhimler@tribweb.com or via Twitter @jhimler_news.

TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.

We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.

While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.

We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers

We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.

We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.

We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.

We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.

click me