Credit: ©Jennifer McRae
    Image number: RS.9642

    Portrait of Timothy Berners-Lee

    Timothy Berners-Lee (British) , Computer scientist
    Jennifer McRae (1959, British) , Painter
    Object type
    Archive reference number
    height (painting): 2130mm
    width (painting): 1900mm
    Full- length portrait of Sir Tim Berners-Lee seated in an upright position, legs angled at the knee and hands lightly crossed. The sitter wears a light blue-grey suit, white shirt and boldly patterned tie in blue and red.

    The main portrait forms part of a double canvas. The inner work sits over a base canvas of paint and collage in which McRae combines the intellectual content of its subject’s work on the World Wide Web with her own journey to paint Berners-Lee in a flow-chart of preliminary sketches, souvenirs and snatches of conversation. This nimbus from the information age is a playful framing device, nodding to the gilded frames of the Society’s earlier portraits.

    Sir Timothy Berners-Lee, British computer scientist and software engineer, was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society in 2001. He was awarded the Society's Royal Medal in 2000 'in recognition of his invention and subsequent development of the World Wide Web, designing the universal resource locator (URL), an addressing system to give each Web page a unique location and the two protocols HTTP and HTML'.
    McRae 08
    Object history
    Presented by Dame Stephanie Shirley, 2008.

    Following the commission, via Patricia Jordan-Evans of the Bohun Gallery, Jennifer McRae travelled to Boston [in February 2007 according to the artist – 2008?] to meet Berners-Lee. It was at MIT that she saw a wall chart on the World Wide Web which became the imaginative key to the work. The first of seven sittings commenced in Spring 2008, each of 2-3 hours. The work was unveiled at the Royal Society’s Carlton House Terrace headquarters on 19 November 2008. [E-mail correspondence and an account by Jennifer McRae are preserved in a Royal Society provenance file on this picture].

    One of two works commissioned for the Royal Society by Dame Stephanie Shirley: the other, of Stephen Hawking FRS (1942–2018) by Tai-Shan Schierenberg.
    Associated place
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          > United Kingdom
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