He left for England in 1775 and stayed in Europe for twenty years and became very successful. He met another mentor, Benjamin West, who was less of a teacher and more of an person who was well connected socially. This helped Stuart tremendously. Stuart lived a lavish lifestyle and as as result, he accrued debts he could not repay and was forced to first move to Ireland and then back to America in 1792. Stuart painted his three portraits of Washington beginning in 1794, the third of which (the Athenaeum Portrait) was the best one.