by John Smibert
oil on canvas, 1730
40 in. x 29 1/2 in. (1016 mm x 749 mm)
Given by Rev. William Josiah Irons, 1882
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The Irish philosopher George Berkeley was educated at Trinity College, Dublin, and taught there from 1707. He was appointed Dean of Derry in 1724 and made Bishop of Cloyne in 1734. Berkeley took a missionary party to America in 1728 but failed to secure promised government funds to found a missionary college in the Bermudas and so returned home four years later. John Smibert, who made this portrait, accompanied Berkeley to America and settled there. The background is thought to show the Hanging Rock, Rhode Island, where Berkeley wrote his Alciphron (1732). More detailed information on this portrait is available in a National Portrait Gallery collection catalogue, John Kerslake's Early Georgian Portraits (1977, out of print).