One of the greatest portraitists in American history, Gilbert Stuart moved to Ireland in 1788 to escape debts and returned in 1793. Before that period, at the outbreak of the Revolutionary War, he went to London and studied under Benjamin West. His early portraits were considered provincial in style. Later that provincialism changed to a sophisticated style. Following his return from Ireland, he was very much in demand and he painted hundreds of portraits. His three portraits of George Washington (1795-1796) were so popular that Stuart painted more than 100 replicas to meet the demand. Stuart also painted the next five presidents, along with many other prominent Americans of the day.