Credit: ©The Royal Society
    Image number: RS.9643
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    Portrait of Thomas Birch

    Thomas Birch (1705 - 1766, British) , Historian
    James Wills (British) , Painter
    Object type
    Archive reference number
    height (painting): 918mm
    width (painting): 712mm
    Content object
    Half-length portrait of Thomas Birch in black clerical robes, white bands and a grey shoulder-length powdered wig. Birch is painted looking to the viewer’s left, holding a book in both hands and marking a place with his right index finger.

    Thomas Birch was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society in 1735.
    THOMAS BIRCH (1705-1766) SECRETARY 1752-1765 By J.WILLS
    Object history
    Bequeathed by Thomas Birch, 1766.

    The picture is recorded in all former Royal Society printed catalogues of paintings, but with no donor information. However, the painting is described in Birch’s will: “I give and bequeath to the Royal Society of London to whom I owe the highest Gratitude for the honour done me of electing me one of the secretaries, my picture painted by Mr. Wills in 1737 in a black frame and Gilt border being the original of the Mezzotinto print done by Mr. Faber in 1741.” [National Archives, PROB/11/915, will dated 15 January 1765].
    Associated place
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