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Thomas Gray

10 of 13 portraits of Thomas Gray

Thomas Gray, by James Basire, after  William Mason, and after  Benjamin Wilson, published 1 March 1775 (circa 1771) - NPG D14054 - © National Portrait Gallery, London

© National Portrait Gallery, London

Thomas Gray

by James Basire, after William Mason, and after Benjamin Wilson
line engraving, published 1 March 1775 (circa 1771)
10 3/4 in. x 8 1/4 in. (274 mm x 208 mm) paper size
Bequeathed by (Frederick) Leverton Harris, 1927
Reference Collection
NPG D14054

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Sitterback to top

  • Thomas Gray (1716-1771), Classical scholar and poet. Sitter in 13 portraits.

Artistsback to top

  • James Basire (1730-1802), Engraver. Artist associated with 85 portraits, Sitter in 1 portrait.
  • William Mason (1725-1797), Poet and divine; friend and biographer of Thomas Gray. Artist associated with 9 portraits, Sitter associated with 10 portraits.
  • Benjamin Wilson (1721-1788), Portrait painter and scientist. Artist associated with 43 portraits, Sitter in 5 portraits.

Events of 1775back to top

Current affairs

Act of Parliament extends inventor James Watt's patent (first granted in 1769) and the first steam engines are built under it. First known building society - Ketley's Building Society - is established in Birmingham by Richard Ketley, landlord of the Golden Cross Inn.

Art and science

First performance of Richard Brinsley Sheridan's play The Rivals at the Covent Garden Theatre in London. Artist J.M.W. Turner is born. Satirist James Gillray's first engravings and etchings are published. Navigator Captain Cook publishes his discovery of a preventive cure against scurvy, in the form of a regular ration of lemon juice.


War of American Independence begins with British defeat at Lexington and Concord and lasts until 1783. British achieve a narrow and costly victory over the Americans at the Battle of Bunker Hill. Edmund Burke delivers a speech to the British Parliament on conciliation with the American colonies. First performance of Pierre Beaumarchais' comic opera The Barber of Seville in Paris. Pope Pius VI succeeds Pope Clement XIV as the 251st pope.

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