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.
I forgot to say – I picked up on this via a tweet from the Royal Astronomical Society librarian:
— RAS Library (@astro_librarian) August 4, 2014
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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