Benjamin lived in Cornwall from 1956-1960. He became part of the Middle Generation of St Ives artists and was persuaded by Peter Lanyon to join the Newlyn Society of Artists. In September 1960 Benjamin left for Italy armed with a scholarship. He spent the winter in Anticoli Corrado in the Abruzzi mountains near Rome. Like St Ives, Anticoli had a long tradition as a centre for artists; the British School at Rome’s principal had a studio in the village and many British artists spent time there during the 1950s, including Lanyon, Bell and Tilson.