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Sir William Herschel (1738-1822), Astronomer

Sitter in 12 portraits
In 1781 the amateur astronomer Herschel identified Uranus, the first planet to be discovered since Antiquity. He was appointed court astronomer to George III the following year, 1782. Working with his sister Caroline (1750-1848), whom he had trained, he made four complete surveys of the night sky and was the first person correctly to describe the Milky Way. Using his great forty-foot telescope constructed over four years, he found two new satellites of Saturn in 1789. Herschel's discoveries astonished the public and inspired Romantic writers like Blake, Byron and Keats. He discovered more than two thousand nebulae and over eight hundred double stars.

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98

Sir William Herschel

by Lemuel Francis Abbott
oil on canvas, 1785
On display in Room 18 at the National Portrait Gallery
NPG 98

4055

Sir William Herschel

by John Charles Lochée
plaster cast of bust, 1787
NPG 4055

2548

Sir William Herschel

by William Tassie, after Friedrich Rehberg
glass paste medallion, after 1814
NPG 2548

1075

Men of Science Living in 1807-8

by Sir John Gilbert, and Frederick John Skill, and William Walker, and Elizabeth Walker (née Reynolds)
pencil and wash, 1858-1862
NPG 1075

1075a

Engraving after 'Men of Science Living in 1807-8'

by George Zobel, and William Walker
engraving, 1862
NPG 1075a

D35724

Sir William Herschel ('Gulielmus Herschel LL.D : RSS')

by Thomas Ryder, published by S. Watts, after Lemuel Francis Abbott
stipple engraving, published 11 February 1788 (1785)
NPG D35724

D10583

Sir William Herschel

by Edward Scriven, after John Russell
stipple engraving, early 19th century
NPG D10583

D35725

Sir William Herschel

by Edward Scriven, published by Charles Knight, after John Russell
stipple engraving, early 19th century
NPG D35725

D9004

Sir William Herschel

by James Godby, published by Colnaghi & Co, published by and after Friedrich Rehberg
stipple engraving, published 1 November 1814 (1814)
NPG D9004

D35726

Sir William Herschel

by James Godby, published by Colnaghi & Co, published by and after Friedrich Rehberg
stipple engraving, published 1 November 1814 (1814)
NPG D35726

D14425

Sir William Herschel ('Gulielmus Herschel LL.D : RSS')

by Thomas Ryder, published by S. Watts, after Lemuel Francis Abbott
stipple engraving, published 11 February 1788 (1785)
NPG D14425