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Joseph Priestley

Joseph Priestley, by Ellen Sharples, circa 1797 -NPG 2904 - © National Portrait Gallery, London

© National Portrait Gallery, London

Mid-Georgian Portraits Catalogue

Joseph Priestley

by Ellen Sharples
circa 1797
9 1/2 in. x 7 1/2 in. (241 mm x 191 mm) oval, uneven
NPG 2904

This portraitback to top

See NPG 175. A nineteenth-century label, formerly on the verso, described NPG 2904 as by Mrs Sharples.

Referenceback to top

Bolton 1982
H. C. Bolton, ‘The Likenesses of Priestley in oil, ink, marble and metal’, in Scientific Correspondence of Joseph Priestley, 1892, p 182 (as by Mrs Sharples, belonging to Dr W. J. Russell, London).

Physical descriptionback to top

Blue eyes, own grey hair, wearing a black suit with white collar and neckcloth.

Provenanceback to top

Given by the artist to William Russell (1740-1818) of Birmingham; by descent to T. H. Russell by whom, with his sister Mrs Alexander Scott, presented, together with a portrait of George Washington [NPG 2903], 1936.1

1 Provenance as given to Hake by T. H. Russell in November 1936. William Russell was the friend of Priestley in Birmingham and in America, and of the Sharples (with whom in 1794 he had been captured at sea by the French as they sailed to America, where they later met again); see S. H. Jeyes, The Russells of Birmingham in the French Revolution and in America 1791-1814, 1911, pp 2, 8-13, 44-49, 86, 89, 92, 169, 203.


This extended catalogue entry is from the out-of-print National Portrait Gallery collection catalogue: John Ingamells, National Portrait Gallery: Mid-Georgian Portraits 1760-1790, National Portrait Gallery, 2004, 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.

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