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William Emerson, by Charles Turner, after  Sikes - NPG D1858

William Emerson

by Charles Turner, after Sikes
mezzotint, published 1812
NPG D1858

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Juliet Emerson

4 September 2016, 09:58

This is a portrait painted in 1781 of William Emerson the deistical mathematician of Hurworth. A short and hilarious biography of William Emerson can be found in 'the History and Antiquities of the parishes of Darlington' by W.H. Longstaffe which is a google ebook. Evidently William Emerson was highly eccentric: one example of this being that he never buttoned more than three of his buttons on his waistcoat as can be clearly seen in the portrait. Indeed he put his waistcoat on backwards when the weather was cold so that his chest didn't get cold. I believe he is an ancestor of mine though not directly (he died with no issue) because the Emerson family came from Wolsingham in county Durham near Darlington and my Grandfather Henry Oliver Emerson, the author of many french textbooks, was not only eccentric but also looked very like William Emerson.

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