image Newton-P0093
Image number: RS.9254
Credit: © The Royal Society
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Portrait of Isaac Newton




Isaac Newton (1642-1727, British), Natural philosopher


John Vanderbank (1694-1739, British), painter

Object type



height (painting): 305mm
width (painting): 203mm



Head of Isaac Newton facing slightly to the viewer’s right. Apparently a preparatory study for more formal paintings, the subject has natural long white hair and a white neck-cloth. The eyes are dark, liquid and meeting the viewer’s gaze.

Inscribed below: “Sr. Isaac Newton”.

Isaac Newton was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society in 1672, he served as its President from 1703 to 1727.

Object history

Purchased by the Royal Society in 1950.

Council Minutes for 12 January 1950 state: “The Treasurer reported that Sir Henry Dale and Dr E. Ashworth Underwood had drawn attention to the sale of a portrait study in oils on paper from the hand of J. Vanderbank for his oil painting of Sir Isaac Newton. Resolved – That this portrait study should be purchased for the sum of £75 chargeable to the Donation Fund.” [Royal Society Council Minutes, Printed (CMP/18), volume 18, 1948-1953, 12 January 1950 meeting, minute 16, p.120].

Associated place

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