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    Portrait of Humphry Davy

    Date
    ca. 1821
    Sitter
    Sir Humphry Davy (1778 - 1829, British) , 1st Baronet Physicist, Chemist
    Creator
    Sir Thomas Lawrence (1769 - 1830, British) , Painter
    Object type
    Archive reference number
    Material
    Dimensions
    height (painting): 1424mm
    width (painting): 1115mm
    Subject
    Description
    Davy is portrayed at three quarter length in fashionable Regency dress. He wears a high white stock and white waistcoat with a black jacket and matching overcoat, the latter open to reveal a silk lining. He wears grey trousers with a blue ribbon at the waist and kidskin gloves. The left arm is crooked to the waist, the right rests on a red cloth-lined table, upon which rests a miner’s safety lamp to Davy’s design. A deep turquoise-blue sky is balanced by a rich red cloth to Davy’s left side; the two colours separated by an architectural pillar.

    Humphry Davy was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society in 1803, he served as its President from 1820 to 1827.
    Transcription
    SIR HUMPHRY DAVY (1778-1829) SECRETARY 1807-12. PRESIDENT 1820-7. By SIR THOMAS LAWRENCE
    Object history
    Lady Jane Davy (née Kerr), Davy's wife, commisioned this portrait and later presented it to the Society in 1829. Her presentation letter reads as follows:

    “Being so fortunate as to possess an invaluable little picture of Sir Humphry, I feel enabled to resign the only Portrait of him by his celebrated friend the President of the Royal Academy...The Picture is at Sir Thomas Lawrence’s in Russell Square & he knows my present resolution...“, Royal Society Miscellaneous Correspondence, MC/1/175, Jane Davy, Park Street, 3 November 1829, to [President of the Royal Society].

    Jane Davy's wealth was inherited from her father, Charles Kerr of Antigua, who bequeathed his property, 'including enslaved people’, to his wife and daughter in equal halves.
    Associated place
    <The World>
       > Europe
          > United Kingdom
    Credit
    © The Royal Society
    Image number
    RS.9343
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