Regency Portraits Catalogue

John Playfair (1748-1819), Mathematician and geologist

Oils by Raeburn, see NPG 840.

Marble bust by Chantrey in Edinburgh University library incised: CHANTREY/Sculptor/1814. It was commissioned by J. F. Kennedy of Edinburgh in 1812 and paid for in 1815 (£105) (Sir Francis Chantrey’s Ledgers of Accounts, p 22), and engraved by Swan for Glasgow Mechanical Magazine, 1825; it was seen by Dr Waagen in Playfair's nephew's house in Edinburgh in 1856 (Dr Waagen, Treasures of Art in Great Britain, IV, 1857, p 434); the plaster model is in Ashmolean Museum, Oxford (620-108) exhibited RA 1814 (782) and a plaster cast in Scottish NPG (244).

Pencil and watercolour drawing by William Nicholson is in National Museum of Antiquities of Scotland, three-quarter-length seated to left wearing spectacles, based on Raeburn's oil in Edinburgh University (Scottish NPG L44); an etching by William Nicholson, signed and dated: WN ft/1819, was made for Nicholson's Portraits of Distinguished Living Characters of Scotland; a pencil drawing of the head only is Scottish NPG (1688).

Portrait by unknown artist, known from a stipple vignette by James Thomson, half-length seated to left in library holding quill, published 1 September 1819 in New Monthly Magazine.

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.