Credit: ©The Royal Society
    Image number: RS.13833

    Portrait of Charles Vernon Boys

    Charles Vernon Boys (1855 - 1944, British) , Physicist
    John Collier (1850 - 1934, British) , Painter
    Object type
    Archive reference number
    height (painting): 1370mm
    width (painting): 1120mm
    height (frame): 1646mm
    width (frame): 1362mm
    depth (frame): 110mm
    Three-quarter length portrait of Charles Vernon Boys shown in the act of creating a soap bubble, standing before a wooden bench, upon which is a variety of demonstration equipment. Boys wears a blue suit with a waistcoat, the watch chain visible, and a blue tie, with a white shirt. He has spectacles and a moustache. In his right hand is a glass tube; his left holds the support for the iridescent bubble, the upper part of which is joined to a laboratory stand. On the bench are various chemical jars containing the liquid mix, including a labelled ammonia bottle. To the lower right is a ‘rainbow cup’ on a tripod, a device of Boys’s invention.

    Charles Vernon Boys (1855-1944), British physicist and inventor, was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society in 1888. He was awarded the Society's Royal Medal in 1896 for 'his invention of Quartz Fibres and and [sic] investigation of their properties', and the Rumford Medal in 1924 for his invention of the gas calorimeter, an apparatus used to determine the calorific values of gaseous fuels.
    John Collier 1915
    Object history
    Provenance: Donated by John V Boys, 2018

    The picture was hung in the family home of St Mary Bourne in Hampshire, where a 1936 image shows the painting in C V Boys’s workshop, converted from his home’s sitting room [1]. John V. Boys (C.V.’s grandson) inherited the work which was at his home in Dorset until the painting’s donation to the Royal Society. A preliminary approach was made to the Society in 2004 [2] and the work was formally offered in June 2017 [3]. The picture arrived at the Royal Society on 27 July 2018, accompanied by manuscripts and books relating to Charles Vernon Boys.

    John V, Boys describes the work as ‘painted in 1915…and is a reconstruction of his demonstrating with soap bubbles at lectures for the young at the London Institute at New Year 1889/1890 and at the Royal Institution Christmas Lectures 1899/1900.’
    Associated place
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