by Unknown artist
oil on canvas, 1740s
19 1/4 in. x 15 1/2 in. (489 mm x 394 mm)
Given by the sitter's great-grandson, Robert Canton, 1888
Click on the links below to find out more:
Sitterback to top
- John Canton (1718-1772), Electrician, experimental philosopher, schoolmaster. Sitter in 1 portrait.
This portraitback to top
This is the only recorded portrait of John Canton. According to Robert Canton, his great-grandson, who gave this head portrait to the National Portrait Gallery in 1888, it was originally a full-length, showing the sitter seated in a chair and, Robert Canton thought, surrounded by mathematical instruments. 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).
Linked publicationsback to top
- Kerslake, John, Early Georgian Portraits, 1977, p. 30
- Saywell, David; Simon, Jacob, Complete Illustrated Catalogue, 2004, p. 101
Events of 1740back to top
Current affairsThe song Rule, Britannia! by Thomas Arne is performed for the first time at Cliveden, the country home of Frederick, Prince of Wales.
A now discredited account by antiquarian William Stukely asserts that Stonehenge was built by druids.
Art and scienceSamuel Richardson publishes the first two volumes of Pamela, or Virtue Rewarded, the best-selling novel of the period.
Artists Joshua Reynolds and Thomas Gainsborough both arrive in London. Reynolds is apprenticed to the leading portrait-painter Thomas Hudson, while Gainsborough begins his artistic training with the French engraver and illustrator Hubert-Francois Gravelot.
InternationalDeath of the Holy Roman Emperor Charles VI and the succession of his eldest daughter Maria Térèsa heralds the start of the War of the Austrian Succession. Britain, already fighting Spain (in the War of Jenkin's Ear), is drawn into the wider conflict as an ally of Austria until 1748.
Frederick II becomes King of Prussia.
Pope Benedict XIV succeeds Pope Clement XII as the 247th pope.
Exhibitions and displays
- Life, Death and Memory
Until 4 February 2018
- Portrait of the Day: Angela Georgina Burdett
26 October, 12:30
- Portrait of the Day: Henry VIII & Katherine of Aragon
28 October, 12:30