2 of 3 portraits of Brook Taylor
- Extended Catalogue Entry
probably by Louis Goupy
watercolour and bodycolour on vellum laid down on card, 1720
3 7/8 in. x 3 in. (98 mm x 76 mm)
Artistback to top
- Louis Goupy (circa 1674-1747), Miniature painter. Artist associated with 4 portraits, Sitter in 1 portrait.
This portraitback to top
The mathematician Brook Taylor was the son of John Taylor of Bifrons in Kent. In 1714 he published his solution to the problem of the centre of oscillation, and in the following year he was the first to write on the calculus of finite differences, which contained 'Taylor's Theorem'. Soon thereafter he published Linear Perspective (1715) and New Principles of Linear Perspective (1719), presumably the book he holds in his portrait. Taylor was wealthy, and, as his portrait suggests, was interested in music and painting. The small portrait hanging on the wall is presumably intended to be his first wife, a Miss Brydges. More detailed information on this portrait is available in a National Portrait Gallery collection catalogue, John Kerslake's Early Georgian Portraits (1977, out of print).
Linked publicationsback to top
- Kerslake, John, Early Georgian Portraits, 1977, p. 276
- Rogers, Malcolm, Master Drawings from the National Portrait Gallery, 1993 (accompanying the exhibition at the National Portrait Gallery from 5 August to 23 October 1994), p. 33
- Saywell, David; Simon, Jacob, Complete Illustrated Catalogue, 2004, p. 604
- Walker, Richard, Miniatures: 300 Years of the English Miniature, 1998, p. 57 Read entry
Brook Taylor, another polymath and Fellow of the Royal Society, is shown here informally dressed and holding a copy of his Linear Perspective, poised on a two-manual harpsichord, with in the background a landscape and a miniature portrait, perhaps of his first wife, Miss Brydges. He married her in 1721, the year after his sitting to Louis or Joseph Goupy. The Gallery also owns a large group portrait of Brook Taylor with his brothers and sisters, painted by John Closterman in 1696.
Events of 1720back to top
Current affairsCollapse of the South Sea Company's shares causes financial crisis in London and ruins many investors. Their rapid inflation and the speculation mania it had encouraged become known as the South Sea Bubble. Charles Townshend, 2nd Viscount Townshend returns to the Whig ministry. Robert Walpole 1st Earl of Orford, who had resigned in 1717, also returns and restores public credit in December.
Art and scienceEntrepreneur Ralph Allen is appointed to take over the Cross and Bye Posts, which manage mail not going via London, leading to his eventual reform of the entire British postal system.
History painter James Thornhill is appointed Serjeant Painter to the King and becomes the first British artist to receive a knighthood.
InternationalTreaty of the Hague signed between Britain, France, Austria, the Dutch Republic and Spain ending the War of the Quadruple Alliance.
In Lhasa, the Dalai Lama accepts Chinese imperial protection, which lasts until 1911.
Two political parties emerge in Sweden's parliament and become known as the Hats and the Caps.
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