image Davy P0032
Image number: RS.9343
Credit: © The Royal Society
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Portrait of Humphry Davy


ca. 1821


Sir Humphry Davy (1778-1829, British), Chemist


Sir Thomas Lawrence (1769-1830, British), Painter

Object type



height (painting): 1424mm
width (painting): 1115mm



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.

Object history

Presented by Lady Jane Davy, 1829.

Jane Davy’s presentation letter is preserved within the Society’s archives: “Being so fortunate as to possess an invaluable little picture of Sitr 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].

Associated place

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