The Fourdrinier Family

The Fourdrinier Family, attributed to John Downman, circa 1786 - NPG 6091 - © National Portrait Gallery, London

© National Portrait Gallery, London

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The Fourdrinier Family

attributed to John Downman
oil on copper, circa 1786
18 1/8 in. x 24 1/4 in. (460 mm x 615 mm)
Purchased, 1990
Primary Collection
NPG 6091

Artistback to top

  • John Downman (1750-1824). Artist associated with 34 portraits.

Sittersback to top

  • Charles Fourdrinier (1767-1841), Brother of Henry Fourdrinier. Sitter in 1 portrait.
  • Henry Fourdrinier (1730-1799), Paper maker; father of Henry Fourdrinier. Sitter in 1 portrait.
  • Henry Fourdrinier (1766-1854), Inventor. Sitter in 2 portraits.
  • Jemima Fourdrinier (1772-1836), Sister of Henry Fourdrinier and mother of John Henry Newman. Sitter in 1 portrait.
  • John Rawson Fourdrinier (1770-circa 1836), Brother of Henry Fourdrinier. Sitter in 1 portrait.
  • Mary Fourdrinier (1728-circa 1813), Aunt of Henry Fourdrinier. Sitter in 1 portrait.
  • Sealy Fourdrinier (1774-1847), Paper manufacturer; brother of Henry Fourdrinier. Sitter in 1 portrait.
  • Minerva Manning (born 1763), Stepsister of Henry Fourdrinier. Sitter in 1 portrait.

This portraitback to top

A Huguenot entrepreneur, Henry Fourdrinier senior (1730-99) is shown seated in the middle of his family with his sons Henry junior (1766-1854), in red, and Sealy (1774-1847), standing, in green. The family are probably shown in their garden in Putney with a patriotic view of Windsor Castle added in the distance. The inscribed monumental urn commemorates their deceased wife and mother, Jemima (1730-81).

Linked publicationsback to top

  • Ingamells, John, National Portrait Gallery: Mid-Georgian Portraits 1760-1790, 2004, p. 518
  • Saywell, David; Simon, Jacob, Complete Illustrated Catalogue, 2004, p. 728

Placesback to top

Events of 1786back to top

Current affairs

Philosopher and politician Edmund Burke instigates impeachment proceedings against Warren Hastings, former Governor-General of Bengal after concerns about the moral standards of the British in India are raised.
Prime Minister William Pitt appoints commissioners for the reduction of the national debt and establishes a sinking fund of £1 million a year.
Government approves the establishment of a penal colony at Botany Bay.

Art and science

Robert Burns publishes Poems Chiefly in the Scottish Dialect bringing him immediate success across the country.
Engraver and publisher John Boydell initiates plans for his Shakespeare Gallery in an effort to establish a school of British history painting.
Merchant David Dale establishes New Lanark in South Lanarkshire, Scotland, as a model cotton milling community.


General Charles Cornwallis succeeds Warren Hastings as Governor-General in India.
Composer Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart's Marriage of Figaro premieres in Vienna.
Francisco Goya is appointed court painter to the Spanish king Charles III.

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