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Home Forums History of Astronomy Group Who is this a portrait of – and what book is he reading?

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This topic contains 1 reply, has 2 voices, and was last updated by  Tej 3 years ago.

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    Andy Sawers
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    This is fascinating. There’s a painting owned by the National Maritime Museum that they used to think was a portrait of Nevil Maskelyne (the fifth Astronomer Royal) but is now apparently quite firmly regarded as being of someone else. So the question is who is it – though the answer could be someone almost untraceable such as a philanthropist with a passion for astronomy – but also, what book is he holding?

    Here’s the painting – but the ‘Art Detective’ website posing the questions is absolutely fascinating for the detective work by visitors to the site.

    Portrait - Art Detectives

    I forgot to say – I picked up on this via a tweet from the Royal Astronomical Society librarian:


    Topics: 36
    Replies: 582

    Its a lovely portrait, though.  He looks to be a kind and quiet man.  Humble but mixed with a tentative pride to show his “work?”.   Perhaps that quiet humbleness leads him to be forgotten and consequently in this case misidentified.



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