Thomas Henry Huxley

1 portrait of Thomas Henry Huxley

Thomas Henry Huxley, by Jose Maria Mora, circa 1880 - NPG x35907 - © National Portrait Gallery, London

© National Portrait Gallery, London

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Thomas Henry Huxley

by Jose Maria Mora
albumen cabinet card, circa 1880
5 1/2 in. x 4 1/8 in. (141 mm x 104 mm) image size
Purchased, 1988
Photographs Collection
NPG x35907

Sitterback to top

Artistback to top

Placesback to top

  • Place made: United States (photographer's studio, 707 Broadway, New York)

Events of 1880back to top

Current affairs

The Liberals defeat the Conservatives, and Gladstone becomes Prime Minister for the second time, taking over from Disraeli, who retires from politics.
The MP for Northampton and atheist Charles Bradlaugh, refuses to swear on the Bible and so forfeits his right to take his seat. Despite having the support of Gladstone and J.S Mill, it takes six years before he can take his seat, after which he pushes through a new Oaths Act (1888).

Art and science

Thomas Huxley delivers his address 'Science and Culture' at the opening of Josiah Mason's science college in Birmingham (published the following year). Huxley argues that the study of modern literature, combined with knowledge of science, should be promoted in education above classical literature, echoing the claim made by the poet and critic Matthew Arnold. Huxley, an early advocate of 'Darwinism', did much to popularise evolutionary theory.


Buenos Aires finally becomes the permanent capital of Argentina, following sixty years of political debates around the issue. The city was federalised, politically separated from the Buenos Aires Province, and placed under direct control of the national government.
Despite allegations of vote buying, Cecil Rhodes is elected member of parliament for Barkly West in the Cape Colony, marking the start of his political career in South Africa.

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David E. Wolf, PhD

21 March 2018, 16:49

I believe that one can more accurately ascribe a date of August to September 1876 to this photograph, rather than c 1880 as stated. Mora was a competitor celebrity photographer to Napoleon Sarony in New York City, where the image would have had to be taken. During those dates Huxley was in the United States to speak at the dedication of the Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore on September 12, 1876 and he traveled and lectured extensively along the east coast promoting Darwin’s theories (see for instance Interestingly and supportive, there is also a letter from Napoleon Sarony dated 16 September 1876 requesting that Huxley sit for him ( In August of 1895 the Literary News published a portrait of T. H. Huxley which it claims was from a photograph by Napoleon Sarony in 1876. I am suspicious that this was actually from Mora's photograph. (

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