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.

Advanced Collection search

Search the Collection

Scriblerus Club


5 People in sitter grouping:

Meeting in the spring of 1714, a small group of authors and satirists created a fictional literary hack called Martinus Scriblerus. The character was fact-checking, devoid of human spirit and offered the perfect satirical vehicle for the informal group to parody current trends in scholarship and learning. The name Martin was adopted from Sir Martin Mar-all, a character created by the dramatist John Dryden, which had become synonymous with the absurd. Scribler, was a term of contempt used at the time to describe a writer with no talent. Satire flourished in 18th century Britain and the Scriblerus Club used the subversive figure to explore current issues, with a conviction it could influence positive change. The character appeared in different pieces and was a firm fixture in correspondence between the group. However, the memoirs of Martinus Scriblerus were not published until 1741, when Alexander Pope and Jonathan Swift were the only members of the group still alive. The collaborative efforts of the group are considered to have greatly shaped Swift's Gulliver's Travels and Pope's The Dunciad.

John Gay

John Gay

1685-1732
Poet and dramatist
Sitter associated with 12 portraits
Alexander Pope

Alexander Pope

1688-1744
Poet
Sitter associated with 46 portraits
Jonathan Swift

Jonathan Swift

1667-1745
Satirist and divine
Sitter in 26 portraits
Thomas Parnell

Thomas Parnell

1679-1718
Poet
Sitter in 2 portraits

Watch

Our channel

View a wide collection of video content on our YouTube channel from past projects to our latest films.

Sit back and watch

Artist and sitter interviews

Get insights into creating portraiture from BP Portrait Award 2020 artists and their sitters.

Explore behind the scenes

Sleeping Awake

Watch our film created to say ‘goodbye’ to the Gallery before we closed for our major transformation project.

Hear our story