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Newton and His Portraits

Nature volume 155, page 43 (13 January 1945) | Download Citation



MR. F. E. BRASCH, of the United States Library of Congress, has selected some of the best portraits of Newton for publication in Scripta Mathematica (8, 199; 1941). The earliest is by Sir Peter Lely, and is supposed to show Newton (who was born on Christmas Day, 1642, Old Style) as he appeared in 1665 (the year of the Great Plague), but there is grave doubt whether Newton sat for this. The first portrait that can be guaranteed authentic is by Sir Godfrey Kneller, and is dated 1689, two years after the publication of the "Principia". The other portraits all show Newton as president of the Royal Society, a position he held from 1703 until his death. in 1727. One is by William Gandy (1706), four by Johann Vanderbank (1720, 1725, 1726 and 1726 again), and one by an unknown artist. There are also photographs of a bas-relief attributed to Wedgwood, of a bronze statue by the American sculptor C. E. Dallin (1897), and of the reconstruction in Wellesley, Mass., U.S.A. of the actual parlour from Newton's house in Leicester Fields, St. Martin's Street, London.

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