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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'.

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316a(110)

William Smith

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

1075a

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

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

D6788

William Smith

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

D6789

William Smith

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