image ms_654_016
Image number: RS.17958
Credit: ©The Royal Society

Portrait of Josiah Wedgwood


late 18th century


Josiah Wedgwood (b.1730, British)


George Townley Stubbs (b.1756, British), Engraver


George Stubbs (b.1724, British), Painter

Object type

Archive reference number




height (print): 230mm
width (print): 170mm



Half-length portrait of Josiah Wedgwood, his body angled left and looking just left of the camera [as viewed]. He wears an overcoat, a necktie and a wig.

Inscribed below: 'George Stubbs pinx.t Geo: Townly Stubbs Sculp.t Engraver to His R. H. the Prince of Wales
Done from an original Picture Painted in Enamel as large as Life'.

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

Josiah Wedgwood (1730-1795) master potter was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society in 1783.

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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