The Gallery holds the most extensive collection of portraits in the world. Search over 215,000 works, 150,000 of which are illustrated from the 16th Century to the present day.

Advanced Collection search

John Barrow

John Barrow, by Stephen Pearce, circa 1850 -NPG 905 - © National Portrait Gallery, London

© National Portrait Gallery, London

Early Victorian Portraits Catalogue

John Barrow

by Stephen Pearce
circa 1850
14 7/8 in. x 12 1/2 in. (378 mm x 318 mm)
NPG 905

Inscriptionback to top

Inscribed on a label in the artist's hand, formerly on the back of the picture: John Barrow Esq/F.R.S. F.S.A. FGS. &c./Keeper of the Records of the Admiralty/The original Study painted for/the Historical Picture of the Arctic Council/by Stephen Pearce/1851

This portraitback to top

This is a study for Pearce's 'Arctic Council' (see NPG 1208), commissioned by Barrow, as well as an autonomous portrait in its own right; most of the studies were painted in 1850. Only Barrow's head and shoulders appear in the group, but they correspond very closely with the study. In the background of the study are shown copies of books by Sir John Franklin and Sir William Parry; the exact titles are indecipherable.

Physical descriptionback to top

Healthy complexion, bluish eyes, brown hair and whiskers. Dressed in a dark stock, green stock-pin, white shirt, dark waistcoat. Red curtain behind at left and in centre. Books and bookcase at right dark brown. There is a small paint loss just to the right of the sitter's forehead.

Provenanceback to top

Commissioned or purchased by Lady Franklin, and bequeathed by her niece, Miss Sophia Cracroft, in accordance with the wishes of her aunt, 1892.

This extended catalogue entry is from the out-of-print National Portrait Gallery collection catalogue: Richard Ormond, Early Victorian Portraits, Her Majesty's Stationery Office, 1973, and is as published then. For the most up-to-date details on individual Collection works, we recommend reading the information provided in the Search the Collection results on this website in parallel with this text.

View all known portraits for John Barrow

View all known portraits for Stephen Pearce


Scientific techniques

Watch our playlist exploring scientific techniques used by the Gallery to unlock the secrets behind our Tudor portraits.

Watch now

Subjects and themes

Search the collection by themes - from pets to weddings!

Discover the Collection

Black History Month

Take a tour exploring our Collection created by Alayo Akinkugbe for Black History Month in 2020.

Take the tour

A Picture of Health

Learn about pioneers in medicine, health and social reform from 1840 to 1920.

Explore the timeline