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.

Joseph Priestley

Mid-Georgian Portraits Catalogue

Joseph Priestley

by Phipson
1804
2 in. (51 mm) diameter
NPG 175a

Inscriptionback to top

Obverse inscribed: JOSEPHUS PRIESTLEY. and below: PHIPSON FECIT
Reverse inscribed: MAGNUS CHRISTIANUS PHILOSOPHUS and: APR: VIII/BRITTANNIAE/LITORA LINQUENS/COLUMBIAM ADVENIT/JUNII IV/MDCCXCIV. with added inscription below: NATUS 13 MART.1733. MORT. 6 FEB.1804.

This portraitback to top

Phipson worked in Birmingham and doubtless knew Priestley. This medal was first struck to commemorate Priestley’s arrival in America in 1794, [1] the inscription being expanded on his death in 1804. A variant inscription (i decus i nostrum mel[l]ioribus utere fatis; Aeneid, VI, 546) is also recorded. [2] An indifferent engraving by J. Hopwood 1804 appears to derive from Phipson’s medal. [3]

Footnotesback to top

1) L. Brown, A Catalogue of British Historical Medals 1760-1960: The Accession of George III to the Death of William IV, 1980, no.381.
2) J. McLachlan, Joseph Priestley: iconography of a great Yorkshireman, 1983, p 53
3) Illus. J. McLachlan, Joseph Priestley: iconography of a great Yorkshireman, 1983, p 42.

Referenceback to top

Bolton 1892
H. C. Bolton, ‘The Likenesses of Priestley in oil, ink, marble and metal’, in Scientific Correspondence of Joseph Priestley, 1892, p 190.

Brown 1980
L. Brown, A Catalogue of British Historical Medals 1760-1960: The Accession of George III to the Death of William IV, 1980, no.565.

Provenanceback to top

Presented by James Yates (see NPG 175) 1864.

View all known portraits for Joseph Priestley