Thomas Henry Huxley
Thomas Henry Huxley
by Elliott & Fry
albumen cabinet card, 1885
5 7/8 in. x 5 in. (148 mm x 104 mm)
Sitterback to top
- Thomas Henry Huxley (1825-1895), Biologist and science educationist. Sitter in 48 portraits.
Artistback to top
- Elliott & Fry (active 1863-1962), Photographers. Artist associated with 10995 portraits.
Linked publicationsback to top
- Rogers, Malcolm, Camera Portraits, 1989 (accompanying the exhibition at the National Portrait Gallery from 20 October 1989 - 21 January 1990), p. 125 Read entry
Huxley was one of the best known and most influential scientists of his day. A Darwinian, many of his ideas were in violent opposition to accepted religious teaching, and he battled throughout his career 'to promote the increase of natural knowledge and to further the application of scientific methods of investigation to all the problems of life', and to rid the world of 'the garment of make-believe, by which pious hands have hidden its uglier features'. He carried out his important researches on fish, reptiles, birds and fossils, but he is above all remembered as a scientific popularizer and spokesman.
Joseph John Elliott and Clarence Edmund Fry established the firm of Elliott & Fry at 55 Baker Street, London, in 1863, and it remained there until 1963. This portrait was taken towards the end of Huxley's life, and conveys by its considered pose and careful lighting both his intellectual curiosity and authority.
Placesback to top
- Place made: United Kingdom: England, London (photographers' studio, 55 Baker Street, 7 Gloucester Terrace, London)
Events of 1885back to top
Current affairsRedistribution Act; continues Gladstone's extensive package of electoral reform, although his Liberal government is later defeated when the Irish Nationalists, seeking support for Home Rule, side with the Conservatives over a budget measure. The Marquess of Salisbury is invited to form a 'caretaker' government.
Art and scienceThe Dictionary of National Biography is first published quarterly, under the editorship of Leslie Stephen, and sub-editorship of Sidney Lee. Volume 63 completed the work in 1900. Setting new standards in life writing, the DNB exemplified the form of the brief biography, formalising a style and approach to writing lives, based on Stephen's guiding principles of selection and presentation in 'business-like form'.
InternationalThe death of the famous General Charles Gordon sparks outrage in Britain. Sent to the Sudan to evacuate Egyptian forces from Khartoum, threatened by Sudanese rebels under Muhammad Ahmad al-Mahdi, Khartoum quickly came under siege, and Gordon is killed and beheaded two days before the relief force arrived. The British public proclaimed Gordon a martyr, and attacked government, particularly Gladstone, for not relieving British forces earlier.
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