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

Sir Humphry Davy, Bt

Sir Humphry Davy, Bt, by John Jackson, circa 1820 -NPG 1794 - © National Portrait Gallery, London

© National Portrait Gallery, London

Regency Portraits Catalogue

Sir Humphry Davy, Bt

by John Jackson
circa 1820
8 7/8 in. x 8 in. (225 mm x 203 mm)
NPG 1794

This portraitback to top

In view of its provenance through the Davy family this is presumably the 'invaluable little picture' mentioned by Lady Davy when she gave the Lawrence portrait to the Royal Society in 1829. It was engraved by Walker in 1830 as being in her collection then and at her death passed to her niece Grace Davy and finally to her son Dr Rolleston who, together with his cousin Sister Helen, gave it to the NPG in 1917.
At least two copies are known, one in Penzance Borough Museum, reproduced Anne Treener, The Mercurial Chemist, 1963, p 192, another formerly in Lord Gage's collection at Firle Place, Christie's 7 March 1952 (108), bought Duits.

Physical descriptionback to top

Three-quarter-length seated in the Presidential Chair of the Royal Society in a brown tail-coat and breeches with silver buttons, white shirt, neckcloth, frills and cuffs; light brown hair, hazel eyes, fresh pink complexion; no inscription. Contemporary carved wood frame with corner foliage.

Provenanceback to top

Family possession until given in 1917 by his great-niece, Miss Helen Mary Davy and great-nephew Sir Humphry Davy Rolleston, Bart.

Reproductionsback to top

Stipple by William Walker (private plate 1 June 1830) engraved 'from the Original Picture in Lady Davy's possession by John Jackson Esq. R.A.'.


This extended catalogue entry is from the out-of-print National Portrait Gallery collection catalogue: Richard Walker, Regency Portraits, National Portrait Gallery, 1985, 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 Sir Humphry Davy, Bt

View all known portraits for John Jackson

Visit From Your Armchair

Self-portrait as My Father from the series Encounter  by Silvia Rosi © Silvia Rosi

Taylor Wessing Photographic Portrait Prize

An online exhibition celebrating the very best in contemporary portrait photography.

Visit now

Hold Still

Hold Still

Explore our community photography project, which presents a personal record of the UK during lockdown.

Explore the exhibition

Margaret Thatcher by Spitting Images Productions Ltd painted plastic, 1985

Sculptures in 360°

See sculptures and fascinating objects from our Collection from all angles.

View the 360s

David Hockney: Drawing from Life

Watch highlights from our special exhibition, which had to close early in March 2020 due to lockdown.

See the video