9 of 15 portraits of James Cook
by Thornton, after Unknown artist
line engraving, published 1785
8 3/8 in. x 5 1/8 in. (213 mm x 130 mm)
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Artistsback to top
Events of 1785back to top
Current affairsGeorge Prince of Wales secretly marries his mistress Maria Fitzherbert in contravention of the Royal Marriages Act of 1772.Prime Minister William Pitt introduces a bill proposing parliamentary reform and the abolition of 'rotten boroughs' but is defeated.
Art and scienceWilliam Cowper publishes his best -known poem The Task.James Boswell publishes The Journal of a Tour to the Hebrides, narrating his travels with the late writer Samuel Johnson. Physician and naturalist James Hutton presents his studies of local rocks to the Royal Society of Edinburgh, launching the era of scientific geology.
InternationalWarren Hastings resigns as Governor-General of Bengal and returns to England. His trial begins on charges of corruption in the administration of India. French sculptor Jean Antoine Houdon crosses the Atlantic to sculpt a statue of George Washington. British government establishes a permanent land force in the Eastern Caribbean, based in Barbados.
Exhibitions and displays
- Framing the Face: Collars and Ruffs
Until 31 December
- Portrait of the Day: James Cook
3 August, 12:30