Search the Collection

William Smith

(1769-1839), Geologist and engineer

Sitter in 5 portraits
A miner, Smith observed the rock layers at the pit and realised that they were arranged in a predictable pattern, and that the various strata could always be found in the same relative positions. He began to determine if the relationships between the strata were consistent throughout the country. In 1815 he published the first geological map of England. The various geological types were indicated by different colours; the maps were hand coloured. His maps were soon plagiarised, and he went into bankruptcy. He finally won recognition for his achievement in 1831 when the Geological Society of London awarded him the first Wollaston medal, the President referring to him as 'the Father of English Geology'.

List Thumbnail

William Smith, by Sir Francis Leggatt Chantrey - NPG 316a(110)

William Smith

by Sir Francis Leggatt Chantrey
pencil, circa 1830
NPG 316a(110)

Engraving after 'Men of Science Living in 1807-8', by George Zobel, and  William Walker - NPG 1075a

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

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

William Smith, by Thomas Anthony Dean, after  Hugues Fourau - NPG D6788

William Smith

by Thomas Anthony Dean, after Hugues Fourau
stipple and line engraving, published 1837
NPG D6788

Web image not currently available

William Smith

by Thomas Anthony Dean, after Hugues Fourau
stipple and line engraving, published 1837
NPG D6789

Tell us moreback to top

Can you tell us more about this person? Spotted an error, information that is missing (a sitter’s life dates, occupation or family relationships, or a date of portrait for example) or do you know anything that we don't know? If you have information to share please complete the form below.

If you require information from us, please use our Archive enquiry service. If you wish to license an image, please use our Rights and Images service.

Please note that we cannot provide valuations.

We digitise over 8,000 portraits a year and we cannot guarantee being able to digitise images that are not already scheduled.

What can you tell us?close

There are occasions when we are unsure of the identity of a sitter or artist, their life dates, occupation or have not recorded their family relationships. Sometimes we have not recorded the date of a portrait. Do you have specialist knowledge or a particular interest about any aspect of the portrait or sitter or artist that you can share with us? We would welcome any information that adds to and enhances our information and understanding about a particular portrait, sitter or artist.


How do you know this? Please could you let us know your source of information.

* Permission to publish (Privacy information)
Privacy Informationclose

The National Portrait Gallery will NOT use your information to contact you or store for any other purpose than to investigate or display your contribution. By ticking permission to publish you are indicating your agreement for your contribution to be shown on this collection item page. Please note your email address will not be displayed on the page nor will it be used for any marketing material or promotion of any kind.

Please ensure your comments are relevant and appropriate. Your contributions must be polite and with no intention of causing trouble. All contributions are moderated.

Your nameclose

If you tick permission to publish your name will appear above your contribution on our website.

Your Emailclose

Contributions are moderated. We'll need your email address so that we can follow up on the information provided and contact you to let you know when your contribution has been published.