1 portrait of Jonathan Swift
by Alexander van Aken, after Markham
mezzotint, published 25 February 1740
13 7/8 in. x 10 in. (352 mm x 254 mm) paper size
Given by Sir Herbert Henry Raphael, 1st Bt, 1916
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Events of 1740back to top
Current affairsThe song Rule, Britannia! by Thomas Arne is performed for the first time at Cliveden, the country home of Frederick, Prince of Wales.
A now discredited account by antiquarian William Stukely asserts that Stonehenge was built by druids.
Art and scienceSamuel Richardson publishes the first two volumes of Pamela, or Virtue Rewarded, the best-selling novel of the period.
Artists Joshua Reynolds and Thomas Gainsborough both arrive in London. Reynolds is apprenticed to the leading portrait-painter Thomas Hudson, while Gainsborough begins his artistic training with the French engraver and illustrator Hubert-Francois Gravelot.
InternationalDeath of the Holy Roman Emperor Charles VI and the succession of his eldest daughter Maria Térèsa heralds the start of the War of the Austrian Succession. Britain, already fighting Spain (in the War of Jenkin's Ear), is drawn into the wider conflict as an ally of Austria until 1748.
Frederick II becomes King of Prussia.
Pope Benedict XIV succeeds Pope Clement XII as the 247th pope.