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James Bradley

1 of 4 portraits of James Bradley

James Bradley, by Thomas Hudson, circa 1833-1840, based on a work of circa 1742-1747 -NPG 1073 - © National Portrait Gallery, London

© National Portrait Gallery, London

Early Georgian Portraits Catalogue

James Bradley

after Thomas Hudson
circa 1833-1840, based on a work of circa 1742-1747
10 1/4 in. x 8 3/8 in. (260 mm x 213 mm)
NPG 1073

Inscriptionback to top

A trade label G. Rowney & Co./Artists' Colourmen,/51 Rathbone Place, London [1] formerly on the back of the board, has been removed to the picture dossier.

1) Post Office London Directory for 1833; in 1832 shown as Rowney and Forster and from 1840 ‘superfine oil and watercolour manufacturers', added.

This portraitback to top

NPG 1073 is a copy, datable from the trade label to c.1833-40, probably taken from J. Faber junior's engraving of the same size. If engraved soon after it was painted, the type can be dated from the lettering Astronomus Regius to 1742-7. Bradley succeeded Halley as astronomer royal in 1742, and the picture, according to his editor S. P. Rigaud, was painted for his mother who died in 1747. The prototype is probably the Hudson now in the Royal Society; [1] both the age of the artist [2] and the sitter's apparent middle age make it unlikely to be earlier than 1742.

Footnotesback to top

1) S. P. Rigaud, Miscellaneous Works and Correspondence of the Rev. James Bradley, 1832, pp ci and civ, note m.
2) b. 1701, noticed, 1733 by G. Vertue, Vertue Note Books (edited by The Earl of Ilchester), Walpole Society, vols XVIll-XXIX, 1930-55, III, p 66.

Physical descriptionback to top

Bluish-grey eyes, double chin, fresh complexion, long grey wig; black gown, open in front, white bands; painted oval.

Conservationback to top

Cleaned and varnished, 1896; squaring is now beginning to show underneath the face.

Provenanceback to top

Bought, 1896, from William Foat, an Aylesbury dealer, who had companion portraits of Sir William Herschel and Halley; previous history unknown.

Reproductionsback to top

The type engraved by J. Faber junior (J. Chaloner Smith, British Mezzotinto Portraits, 1878-83, 41).


This extended catalogue entry is from the out-of-print National Portrait Gallery collection catalogue: John Kerslake, Early Georgian Portraits, Her Majesty's Stationery Office, 1977, 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 James Bradley

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