Isaac Watts

© National Portrait Gallery, London

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Isaac Watts

by Unknown artist
oil on canvas, feigned oval, circa 1720-1735
30 in. x 25 in. (762 mm x 634 mm)
Purchased, 1868
Primary Collection
NPG 264

Sitterback to top

  • Isaac Watts (1674-1748), Hymn writer. Sitter in 13 portraits.

Artistback to top

  • Unknown artist, Artist. Artist or producer associated with 6577 portraits.

This portraitback to top

One of three known examples and perhaps an early copy of the portrait in Dr Williams' Library or that at New College, London. It is said to have been painted for Sir Thomas Abney, Lord Mayor of London, and an enthusiastic nonconformist, in whose house Watts spent the last thirty years of his life. 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

Events of 1720back to top

Current affairs

Collapse 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 science

Entrepreneur 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.


International

Treaty 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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