Sir Isaac Newton
3 of 46 portraits of Sir Isaac Newton
Sir Isaac Newton
studio of Enoch Seeman
oil on canvas, circa 1726-1730
50 in. x 58 1/4 in. (1270 mm x 1480 mm)
Transferred from British Museum, 1879
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Sitterback to top
- Sir Isaac Newton (1642-1727), Mathematical scientist. Sitter associated with 46 portraits.
Artistback to top
- Enoch Seeman (1689 or 1690-1744), Painter. Artist associated with 18 portraits, Sitter in 2 portraits.
This portraitback to top
An immensely influential mathematical scientist, in one year (1665-6), when driven from Cambridge by plague, Newton formulated a series of important theories concerning light, colour, calculus and the 'universal law of gravitation'. According to tradition, he developed the latter theory after seeing an apple fall from a tree. He published Principia Mathematica (1687) and the Optics (1704), and was knighted in 1705. Newton, who was President of the Royal Society from 1703 until his death, is seen in this portrait by Vanderbank seated at a table. Before him is a celestial globe and an open volume, probably the third edition of his Principia Mathematica.
Linked publicationsback to top
- Gibson, Robin, Treasures from the National Portrait Gallery, 1996, p. 51
- Hackmann, W.D., Apples and Atoms: Portraits of Scientists from Newton to Rutherford, 1986, p. 24
- Ingamells, John, Later Stuart Portraits 1685-1714, 2009, p. 190
- Saywell, David; Simon, Jacob, Complete Illustrated Catalogue, 2004, p. 458
Events of 1726back to top
Current affairsMary Toft allegedly gives birth to sixteen rabbits in Godalming Surrey and becomes the subject of considerable controversy, involving the King's own physician Nathaniel St Andre. The story is later revealed to be a hoax.The Craftsman, a polemical political periodical, is launched by opposition leaders Henry St John, 1st Viscount Bolingbroke and William Pulteney, 1st Earl of Bath.
Art and scienceSt Martin-in-the-Fields church in London is completed to the design of the architect James Gibbs.Jonathan Swift publishes his bitterly satirical Gulliver's Travels.Poet Alexander Pope produces an English language translation of Homer's Odyssey.Poet Allan Ramsay opens the first circulating library in Edinburgh.
InternationalFrench writer Voltaire begins an exile in England which lasts three years. City of Montevideo is founded by the Spanish in Uruguay.
- Portrait of the Day: Sir Isaac Newton
25 September, 12:30