6 of 15 portraits of James Cook
by Thornton, after Unknown artist
line engraving, published 1784
13 3/4 in. x 9 1/2 in. (348 mm x 240 mm) plate size; 15 3/8 in. x 10 3/8 in. (390 mm x 264 mm) paper size
Given by the daughter of compiler William Fleming MD, Mary Elizabeth Stopford (née Fleming), 1931
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Events of 1784back to top
Current affairsTheatre proprietor and postal reformer John Palmer runs the first mail coach in England, between Bristol and London. A three day journey is now completed in 16 hours.
Commutation Act reduces punitive duties on tea to combat smuggling.
Art and scienceAeronaut James Sadler makes the first hot air balloon flight in Britain, from Oxford to Woodeaton.
Chemist Henry Cavendish's paper Experiments on Air reveals the composition of water.
Writer Samuel Johnson dies.
Joshua Reynolds succeeds Allan Ramsay as Painter to the King.
InternationalThomas Jefferson's Land Ordinance passed by the United States' Continental Congress, coming into effect the following year. It allows for the sale of land in the largely unmapped west of the country.
Britain receives its first bales of cotton from the United States since before the War of American Independence.
William Pitt's India Act creates a Board of Control to oversee the affairs of the British East India Company and centralise power.
Exhibitions and displays
- Life, Death and Memory
Until 4 February 2018
- Portrait of the Day: Henry VIII & Katherine of Aragon
17 December, 12:30
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Help us conserve a portrait of a female adventurer, poet and medical pioneer