image ms_654_015
Image number: RS.17957
Credit: ©The Royal Society

Portrait of Richard Price


early 19th century


Thomas Holloway (1748-1827, British), Engraver


Benjamin West (1738-1820, American), Painter

Object type

Archive reference number




height (print): 370mm
width (print): 275mm



Half-length portrait of Richard Price, his head tilted slightly to the left [as viewed], wearing a black overcoat and a wig, holding his glasses and a sheet of paper in his lap.

Inscribed 'Painted by Benj.n West Esquire, Pres.t R.A. Engraved by Tho.s Holloway'

From The Priestley Papers, a volume containing portraits, drawings, letters and other memorials of Joseph Priestley, curated and edited by James Yates.

The original portrait of Price by Benjamin West is part of the Royal Society's portrait collection [ref: P/0102]

Richard Price (1723-1791) British philosopher, demographer and political radical was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society in 1765.

Joseph Priestley (1733-1804) British theologian and natural philosopher, was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society in 1766.

James Yates (1789-1871) British Unitarian minister and scholar was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society in 1839. Though he never met Priestley personally, Yates knew many of his relatives, friends and pupils, and spent much of his career documenting his discoveries and writings.

Object history

During the planning of the new University Museum of Oxford in 1856, it was decided to commission several statues of famous scientists. One of these was to be of Priestley, and James Yates was invited to oversee its conception. In his own words, 'it became necessary to obtain the best portraits, busts and bas-reliefs to assist the sculptor in making a good likeness.' He also acquired reports of personal experiences and anecdotes from people who knew Priestley, and in 1864 assembled all of this material into this volume.

This volume was presented to the Royal Society in 1957 by the Priestley family.

Associated place

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