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Brook Taylor (1685-1731), Mathematician

Sitter in 3 portraits
Brook Taylor was a mathematician who wrote on the mathematical theory of perspective, giving the first general statement of vanishing points, as well as on magnetism, capillary actions, thermometers and calculus. He invented the method for expanding functions in terms of polynomials about an arbitrary point known as Taylor series, which he published his chief mathematical work, Methodus Incrementorum Directa et Inversa, in 1715. His book Linear Perspective also appeared in 1715. Although the formal mathematical style made it inaccessible to most artists, the work influenced later writers on the subject and it holds a prominent place in the history of perspective.

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Brook Taylor

probably by Louis Goupy
watercolour and bodycolour on vellum laid down on card, 1720
On display in Room 13 at the National Portrait Gallery
NPG 1920


Brook Taylor

by Richard Earlom, after Unknown artist
mezzotint, published 1793
NPG D6930