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Men of Science Living in 1807-8

2 of 119 portraits by William Walker

Mid-Georgian Portraits Catalogue

Men of Science Living in 1807-8

by Sir John Gilbert, and Frederick John Skill, and William Walker, and Elizabeth Walker (née Reynolds)
1858-1862
32 1/8 in. x 53 in. (815 mm x 1346 mm)
NPG 1075


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An imaginary mid-19th century composition showing the scientists assembled in the library of the Royal Institution. Ten of the fifty-four sitters feature in this catalogue (references to key and pl. refer to R. J. B. Walker, National Portrait Gallery, Regency Portraits, I, pp 605-8, pls.1517-24):
Sir Joseph Banks (1743-1820), key 13, pl.1519, stands on the left, wearing the ribbon and star of the Bath, the portrait ’taken from the Picture by T. Phillips, R.A., in the possession of the Royal Society’ (W. Walker, Memoirs of the Distinguished Men of Science of Great Britain living in the years 1807-8, 1862, p 6).
Sir Samuel Bentham (1757-1831), key 27, pl.1520, stands behind the central table to the left, his likeness ‘taken from the Miniature by Murphy, in the Portrait Gallery of the South Kensington Museum’ (W. Walker, Memoirs of the Distinguished Men of Science of Great Britain living in the years 1807-8, 1862, p 10).
Matthew Boulton (1728-1809), key 25, pl.1520, is seated in the centre, his likeness taken from ‘the Picture by Sir William Beechey, R.A., in the possession of J. W. Gibson Watt, Esq.’ (W. Walker, Memoirs of the Distinguished Men of Science of Great Britain living in the years 1807-8, 1862, p 19).
Henry Cavendish (1731-1810), is seated in the foreground centre left, looking down at the floor, the likeness taken from ‘the Drawing by Tomlinson, in the Print Room of the British Museum’ (W. Walker, Memoirs of the Distinguished Men of Science of Great Britain living in the years 1807-8, 1862, p 38), now attributed to W. Alexander.
Peter Dollond (1730-1820), key 6, pl.1518, stands in the back row, fifth from the left, the likeness taken from ‘the Picture by J. Hoppner, R.A.’ (W. Walker, Memoirs of the Distinguished Men of Science of Great Britain living in the years 1807-8, 1862, p 72).
Nevil Maskelyne (1732-1811), key 8, pl.1518, is seated in the front row, second from the left, talking to Herschel, his likeness taken from ’the Picture by Russell’ (W. Walker, Memoirs of the Distinguished Men of Science of Great Britain living in the years 1807-8, 1862, p 125).
Patrick Miller (1731-1815), key 47, pl.1522, stands in the back row four from the extreme right-hand edge, his likeness taken from the ‘Picture by Alexander Nasmyth, in the Portrait Gallery of the South Kensington Museum’ (W. Walker, Memoirs of the Distinguished Men of Science of Great Britain living in the years 1807-8, 1862, p 132).
Robert Mylne (1733-1811), key 37, pl.1521, stands centre right in a black coat, his head seen in profile, the likeness taken from ‘an original Miniature, lent by R. W. Mylne, Esq., F.R.S’ (W. Walker, Memoirs of the Distinguished Men of Science of Great Britain living in the years 1807-8, 1862, p 138).
Richard Watson (1737-1816), does not appear in the NPG 1075, but in the engraving by Walker & Zobel he stands in his shovel hat in the centre background beneath the mirror, the likeness taken from ‘the Picture by G. Romney, R.A.’ (W. Walker, Memoirs of the Distinguished Men of Science of Great Britain living in the years 1807-8, 1862, p 205).
James Watt (1736-1819), key 30, pl.1520, is prominently placed seated just right of centre, the likeness taken from ‘the Picture by Sir William Beechey, R.A., in the possession of J. W. Gibson Watt at Doldowlod, and from the Statue by Sir Francis Chantrey, R.A., at Handsworth Church [Birmingham]’ (W. Walker, Memoirs of the Distinguished Men of Science of Great Britain living in the years 1807-8, 1862, p 210).

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Walker 1862
W. Walker, Memoirs of the Distinguished Men of Science of Great Britain living in the years 1807-8, 1862.


This extended catalogue entry is from the out-of-print National Portrait Gallery collection catalogue: John Ingamells, National Portrait Gallery: Mid-Georgian Portraits 1760-1790, National Portrait Gallery, 2004, and is as published then. For the most up-to-date details on individual Collection works, we recommend reading the information provided in the Search the Collection results on this website in parallel with this text.

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