Benjamin West

Art, walk and a windmill

  • Benjamin West, from Philiadelphia, USA, was known as the American Raphael. One of his most famous paintings can be viewed for free in Barbados
  • After viewing it, this route takes you through the beautiful parish of St George and then over to the secluded east coast for a walk with a difference
  • Then it’s up the coast road to a windmill and fantastic views and a beer at the fantastically named Nigel Benn Aunty Bar

Benjamin West: painter to a king

Turn off the ABC highway at Norman Niles roundabout and then follow the signs to Gun Hill. St George’s Church is tucked in on the right, as a large playing field comes into view. Plenty of room to park and a small farmers’ co-operative just outside the church entrance.

The centre piece is the stunning Rise to Power by Benjamin West, the second president of the UK’s Royal Academy of Arts and painter to George III. West, from Philidelphia, USA, is famous for his separate depictions of the deaths of Lord Nelson and General Wolfe.

Eye poked out…

Legend has it that a thief hiding in the store room with the painting was so upset by the gaze of the centurion (bottom left hand corner) that he poked out the offending eye.

…and patched up

The painting was hung in the church in about 1820, but it took another 60 years for a repair. A pirate’s patch was the best anyone could do.

Benjamin West

A lesser known, unattributed, but just as impressive biblical painting, Descent from the Cross, is also here, as well as several marble sculptures and some impressive stained glass windows.

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Great views from the top

Head east until you meet the coast road. Go via Bathsheba, but turn left at the top of the village, pass Barclay Park until you can see the folded sedimentary rocks. Park on the coast side. The paths snake up the hill – they are four wheel drive tracks. At the top, on a clear day, you can see Africa (that is so not true).

Benjamin West
Benjamin West

Visit the wild beaches, where drift wood and 3,000 miles of flotsam accumulate on the shore, but…

No Swimming

The currents are wicked and careless tourists are often lost in these unforgiving seas. Keep heading north along Ermy Bourne Highway until you turn right into Shorey Village.

Here you’ll pass the Nigel Benn Aunty Bar. Which is exactly what it says, a bar run by Lucille, Nigel Benn’s aunty.
Benjamin West

Nigel Benn, aka the Dark Destroyer, was the world middleweight and super middleweight boxing champion.

After chatting with Lucille and friends, head on to the Morgan Lewis Sugar Mill, one of more than 500 once operating in Barbados. It was restored a couple of decades ago and was working until recently. It’s still a magnificent sight, with commanding views out to sea.

Carry on past the mill and up Cherry Tree Hill, another great lookout point. Through the tree-lined road, is the entrance to St Nicholas Abbey, which is well-worth a visit if time allows.

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