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The Fourdrinier Family

3 of 25 portraits on display in Room 19 at the National Portrait Gallery

The Fourdrinier Family, attributed to John Downman, circa 1786 - NPG 6091 - © National Portrait Gallery, London

© National Portrait Gallery, London

The Fourdrinier Family

attributed to John Downman
oil on copper, circa 1786
18 1/8 in. x 24 1/4 in. (460 mm x 615 mm)
Purchased, 1990
Primary Collection
NPG 6091


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Artistback to top

  • John Downman (1750-1824). Artist associated with 34 portraits.

Sittersback to top

  • Charles Fourdrinier (1767-1841), Brother of Henry Fourdrinier. Sitter in 1 portrait.
  • Henry Fourdrinier (1730-1799), Paper maker and father of Henry Fourdrinier. Sitter in 1 portrait.
  • Henry Fourdrinier (1766-1854), Inventor. Sitter in 2 portraits.
  • Jemima Fourdrinier (1772-1836), Sister of Henry Fourdrinier and mother of John Henry Newman. Sitter in 1 portrait.
  • John Rawson Fourdrinier (1770-circa 1836), Brother of Henry Fourdrinier. Sitter in 1 portrait.
  • Mary Fourdrinier (born 1728), Aunt of Henry Fourdrinier. Sitter in 1 portrait.
  • Sealy Fourdrinier (1774-1847), Paper manufacturer; brother of Henry Fourdrinier. Sitter in 1 portrait.
  • Minerva Manning (born 1763), Stepsister of Henry Fourdrinier. Sitter in 1 portrait.

This portraitback to top

A Huguenot entrepreneur, Henry Fourdrinier senior (1730-99) was a wealthy paper-maker and wholesale stationer. He is shown seated in the middle of his family with his sons Henry junior (1766-1854), in red, and Sealy (1774-1847), standing, in green. In 1802, the brothers employed the inventor Bryan Donkin to design a machine for making continuous paper at greatly increased speeds. At a Parliamentary hearing in 1837, Marc Isambard Brunel called the Fourdriniers' machine 'one of the most splendid inventions of the age'. The family are probably shown in their garden in Putney with a patriotic view of Windsor Castle added in the distance. The inscribed monumental urn commemorates their deceased wife and mother, Jemima (1730-81).

Linked publicationsback to top