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Mid-Georgian Portraits Catalogue

Nevil Maskelyne (1732-1811), Astronomer Royal

Astronomer and priest; ordained 1755; FRS 1758; observed the transit of Venus from St Helena 1761; tested Harrison’s chronometer in 1763 as chaplain on the Louisiana; astronomer royal 1765; DD 1777 and associate member of the French Académie 1802; his publications included the British Mariner’s Guide 1763 and Observations made on the mountain Schehallien 1775 (concerning the density of the earth); his sister married Robert Clive of India.

‘in character [he] was modest and somewhat timid in receiving visits of strangers, but his ordinary conversation was cheerful and often playful’ (William Walker, 1862).

This extended catalogue entry is from the out-of-print National Portrait Gallery collection catalogue: John Ingamells, National Portrait Gallery: Mid-Georgian Portraits 1760-1790, National Portrait Gallery, 2004, 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.