5 of 14 portraits of Edward Gibbon
after Sir Joshua Reynolds
stipple and line engraving, (1779)
8 7/8 in. x 5 5/8 in. (225 mm x 143 mm) plate size; 17 1/8 in. x 12 in. (435 mm x 305 mm) paper size
Purchased with help from the Friends of the National Libraries and the Pilgrim Trust, 1966
Sitterback to top
- Edward Gibbon (1737-1794), Historian; author of 'Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire'. Sitter in 14 portraits.
Artistback to top
- Sir Joshua Reynolds (1723-1792), Painter and first President of the Royal Academy. Artist associated with 1413 portraits, Sitter associated with 38 portraits.
Events of 1779back to top
Current affairsAdmiral Augustus Keppel, First Lord of the Admiralty during the final years of the American War of Independence is tried and acquitted at court martial of misconduct at the Battle of Ushant the previous year. His case becomes a cause célèbre.
Botanist Joseph Banks tells a committee of the House of Commons that the east coast of Australia is suitable for the transportation of convicted felons.
Penitentiary Act authorises state prisons.
Art and scienceSwiss artist Henry Fuseli settles in London after nine years in Rome. Painter and President of the Royal Academy Joshua Reynolds' celebrated Discourses on art are published as a book.
World's first iron bridge is assembled across the Severn at Coalbrookdale.Inventor Samuel Crompton introduces the Spinning Mule.
John Newton and William Cowper's Olney Hymns is published, containing the first printed version of Amazing Grace.
InternationalAmerican War of Independence: Spain, in alliance with France and the US, declares war on Britain. Great Siege of Gibraltar begins, in which French and Spanish forces try to wrest power from the established British Garrison, under the leadership of General George Augustus Eliot.
Captain James Cook is killed in a skirmish with natives on the Sandwich Islands on his third and final voyage.