image ramsden p0107
Image number: RS.9553
Credit: © The Royal Society
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Portrait of Jesse Ramsden




Jesse Ramsden (1735-1800, British), Instrument maker


Robert Home (1752-1834, British), Painter

Object type



height (painting): 1270mm
width (painting): 1005mm


Content object


Three quarter length portrait of Jesse Ramsden, seated in a red upholstered chair. Ramsden wears a black jacket trimmed with grey fur at the collar over a white shirt and black knee-breeches, the tops of his grey stockings just visible. Ramsden holds callipers in his right hand and a metal straight-edge or ruler in his left. Behind there is an astronomical circle (telescope mounted on an azimuth circle); before the sitter is a dividing engine to Ramsden’s design. [Discussed in Jesse Ramsden (1735-1800) London’s leading scientific instrument maker, Anita McConnell (Aldershot, Ashgate, 2007), pp.39-51].

Jesse Ramsden was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society in 1786.

Object history

Presented by Sir James Everard Home FRS (1798-1853), 1850.

The donation of this picture is noted in Council Minutes, reproducing a letter from Sir [James] Everard Home: “4 Queen Anne Street, June 14 1850. Sir, - I have the honour to offer for the acceptance of the Royal Society, to be suspended in the Meeting Room, two pictures, one of John Hunter, the other of Jesse Ramsden, optician, both of them painted by the late Robert Home, Esq…“ [Royal Society Minutes of Council, Printed CMP/2, 1846-1858, p.158, meeting of 20 June 1850].

The picture was donated with the Society’s portrait of John Hunter, also by Robert Home.

Associated place

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