Regency Portraits Catalogue

Sir Humphry Davy, Bt (1778-1829), Natural philosopher

1802
Satirical etching by Gillray, 'Scientific Researches! - New Discoveries in Pneumatics! -‘ Davy as assistant lecturer at the Royal Institution holds a pair of bellows (coloured impression in British Museum, 9923).

c.1803
Oil by Henry Howard exhibited RA 1803 (5) (NPG 4591).

1804-9
Small pastel drawing by James Sharples in Bristol Art Gallery (20).

1810
Wax 'medallion portrait done from life' by John Henning sent to Wedgwood in 1810 (Rupert Gunnis, Dictionary of British Sculptors 1660-1851, 1953, p 197); a pencil drawing signed and dated '1810 sketch of my Drawing of Sir H. Davy' was in an album of portrait studies by Henning at Christie's 4 March 1975 (2).

c.1810
Chalk drawing by W. Lane exhibited RA 1810 (543) in the Royal Institution, London (RC 0057).

c.1812
Oil by A. J. Oliver exhibited RA 1812 (284), probably the portrait on the staircase of the Royal Institution (RC 0061), whole-length in brown suit, seated in yellow upholstered armchair, Cruikshank battery on floor.

1813
Terracotta bust by Anne Seymour Damer, dated 1813 and exhibited RA 1814 (768) now in the Royal Institution (RC 0056); a marble copy by John Mason exhibited SBA 1829.

1818-21
Oil by Thomas Phillips (NPG 2546).

c.1820
Drawings by Jackson (NPG 1794 and others).

c.1821
Oil by Lawrence in Royal Society collection (see NPG 1573).

c.1822
Oil by Lonsdale exhibited RA 1822 (311) untraced but known from Worthington's line engraving, published March 1827 and used as frontispiece to J. A. Paris, Life of Sir Humphry Davy, 1831.

Undated
Marble bust by S. Joseph in Royal Institution, given by Sir Humphry Davy Rolleston 1915.

Wax medallion by J. Tayler in Royal Society.

Plaster bust in Royal Society, restored by Miss Levick.

Posthumous
c.1847
Marble bust by E. B. Stephens, exhibited RA 1847 (1365), untraced.

c.1860
Caen stone statue by A. Munro in University Museum, Oxford (Illustrated London News, 13 October 1860, pp 339, Pevsner, Oxfordshire, p 282).

1862
'Men of Science Living in 1807-8' by Sir John Gilbert (NPG 1075).

c.1862
Monument by Salter & Perrow exhibited RA 1862 (912) 'to be erected at Penzance, Cornwall'.

1870
Stone statue by M. Noble on NW corner of Civil Service Commission, Burlington Gardens, London (Rupert Gunnis, Dictionary of British Sculptors 1660-1851, 1953, p 274).

1872
Colossal stone statue by W. and T. Wills in Penzance, Cornwall; watercolour drawing by Miss W. Bennett (1914) in Royal Institution (RC 0255).

1876
Davy Medal by A. Bruce-Joy (NPG 1273).

Undated
Bronze bust in Royal Institution, anon. sculptor, probably late 19th century (RC 0055 presented by Dr Rudolph Messel 1900).

Note
Rowlandson's satirical drawing in the Museum of London, 'Mr Acchum Professor of Chemistry - Lecturing at the Surry Institution 1809' was published as an engraving and is sometimes wrongly described as Humphry Davy lecturing (see Grego, II, 366 and M. D. George in British Museum Catalogue, 11605); for the refutation see Renate Burgess, 'Humphry Davy or Friedrich Accum: a Question of Identification' in Medical History, XVI, 3, 3 July 1972.



This extended catalogue entry is from the out-of-print National Portrait Gallery collection catalogue: Richard Walker, Regency Portraits, National Portrait Gallery, 1985, 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.