The Gallery holds the most extensive collection of portraits in the world. Search over 215,000 works, 150,000 of which are illustrated from the 16th Century to the present day.

Search the Collection

Presidents of the Royal Society


57 People in sitter grouping:

The Royal Society was established in 1660 by a group including Sir Christopher Wren, as 'a Colledge for the Promoting of Physico-Mathematicall Experimentall Learning'. It gained approval from Charles II and acquired a Royal Charter in 1662. The President is elected by the society's council, presides over meetings and is chairman of the Trustees. Initially there was no limit on the time a president could serve. Since 1870, it has been tradition for the President to serve for a 5 year period. In a backlash against the election of wealthy amateurs to position of President, the decision was made in 1847 to elect the President based solely on their scientific credentials.

Sir George Biddell Airy

Sir George Biddell Airy

1801-1892
Astronomer Royal
Sitter associated with 24 portraits
Sir Joseph Banks, Bt

Sir Joseph Banks, Bt

1743-1820
Explorer and botanist
Sitter associated with 35 portraits
Patrick Maynard Stuart Blackett, Baron Blackett

Patrick Maynard Stuart Blackett, Baron Blackett

1897-1974
Physicist; government and military advisor
Sitter in 26 portraits
Sir Humphry Davy, Bt

Sir Humphry Davy, Bt

1778-1829
Natural philosopher
Sitter in 20 portraits
Sir Joseph Dalton Hooker

Sir Joseph Dalton Hooker

1817-1911
Botanist
Sitter in 14 portraits
William Thomson, Baron Kelvin

William Thomson, Baron Kelvin

1824-1907
Mathematician, physicist and inventor
Sitter in 30 portraits
Joseph Lister, Baron Lister

Joseph Lister, Baron Lister

1827-1912
Surgeon and founder of a system of antiseptic surgery
Sitter in 16 portraits
Sir Isaac Newton

Sir Isaac Newton

1642-1727
Mathematical scientist
Sitter associated with 46 portraits
Paul Nurse

Paul Nurse

1949-
Biochemist
Sitter in 3 portraits
Samuel Pepys

Samuel Pepys

1633-1703
Diarist and naval administrator
Sitter in 11 portraits
Martin John Rees, Baron Rees of Ludlow

Martin John Rees, Baron Rees of Ludlow

1942-
Professor of Astronomy and Cosmology and President of the Royal Society
Sitter in 3 portraits
Ernest Rutherford, Baron Rutherford

Ernest Rutherford, Baron Rutherford

1871-1937
Physicist
Sitter in 16 portraits
Sir Hans Sloane, Bt

Sir Hans Sloane, Bt

1660-1753
Physician and collector
Sitter in 8 portraits
Sir Christopher Wren

Sir Christopher Wren

1632-1723
Architect and scientist
Sitter in 14 portraits
Edgar Douglas Adrian, 1st Baron Adrian

Edgar Douglas Adrian, 1st Baron Adrian

1889-1977
Physiologist and chancellor of Cambridge University
Sitter in 20 portraits
Sir Michael Francis Atiyah

Sir Michael Francis Atiyah

1929-
Mathematician; Director of the Isaac Newton Institute for Mathematical Sciences, University of Cambridge
Sitter in 3 portraits
Sir William Henry Bragg

Sir William Henry Bragg

1862-1942
Physicist and crystallographer
Sitter in 11 portraits
Sir Benjamin Collins Brodie, 1st Bt

Sir Benjamin Collins Brodie, 1st Bt

1783-1862
Physiologist and surgeon
Sitter in 6 portraits
William Brouncker, 2nd Viscount Brouncker

William Brouncker, 2nd Viscount Brouncker

1620-1684
Mathematician; first President of the Royal Society
Sitter in 4 portraits
Sir James Burrow

Sir James Burrow

1701-1782
Editor of law reports
Sitter in 2 portraits