File:Sir William Herschel, 1738-1822 RMG L6993.tiff

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creator QS:P170,Q6255995
Object type painting
object_type QS:P31,Q3305213
English: Sir William Herschel, 1738-1822

A half-length portrait of William Herschel to left in a russet coat with a fur collar and either a grey wig or powdered hair. He is holding a paper bearing the words, 'The Georgian Planet With its Satellites', together with a drawing of a planet and its satellites. This probably refers to Herschel's discovery of Uranus in 1781, which he initially wanted to call 'Georgium Sidus' after his new patron, George III. It was eventually named Uranus after the mythological god of the skies.

John Russell was a bookseller and printseller as well as an artist. He was apprenticed to Francis Cotes and set up his own practice in 1767. In 1770 he entered the Royal Academy Schools, London, winning the silver medal for figure drawing, and was elected RA in 1788, when he became Crayon Painter to King George III and to George, Prince of Wales. He painted some rather wooden portraits in oil but most of his portraiture was done using pastel. He had a large and fashionable clientele. Significantly for this portrait, Russell was also a keen amateur astronomer, who produced oil and watercolour studies of the Moon and built the first scientific lunar globe, an extraordinarily sophisticated instrument which he called the 'Selenographia'. It is possible that this is either the portrait exhibited in the 1795 Royal Academy exhibition, or a later copy.

Enlarged scan of BHC2764.CT: Sir William Herschel, 1738-1822
Date circa 1795
date QS:P571,+1795-00-00T00:00:00Z/9,P1480,Q5727902
Dimensions Painting: 255 x 220 mm; Frame: 363 mm x 310 mm x 80 mm
institution QS:P195,Q7374509
Accession number

Within the Museum’s Loans Out Policy there is a presumption against lending panel paintings. Please consult Registration for further details.

[Original 63.5 x46 cm still in Herschel family collection: Dr John Herschel Shorland-confidential]
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The text of this image record has been derived from the Royal Museums Greenwich catalogue and image metadata. Individual data and facts such as date, author and title are not copyrightable, but reuse of longer descriptive text from the catalogue may not be considered fair use. Reuse of the text must be attributed to the "National Maritime Museum, Greenwich, London" and a Creative Commons CC-BY-NC-SA-3.0 license may apply if not rewritten. Refer to Royal Museums Greenwich copyright.
Other versions
Identifier Acquisition Number: OP1959-15
id number: BHC2764
Collection Oil paintings


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current22:39, 26 September 2017Thumbnail for version as of 22:39, 26 September 201715,960 × 21,281 (971.73 MB) (talk | contribs)Royal Museums Greenwich Oil paintings (1795), #1444
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