Credit: ©The Royal Society
    Image number: RS.9651
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    Portrait of John Wilkins

    Date
    ca. 1670-1672
    Sitter
    John Wilkins (1614 - 1672, British) , Natural philosopher
    Creator
    Mary Beale (1633 - 1699, British) , Painter
    Object type
    Archive reference number
    Material
    Dimensions
    height (painting): 1270mm
    width (painting): 1016mm
    Subject
    Description
    John Wilkins is painted at three-quarter length, seated, in ecclesiastical dress, a black tippet over a white surplice. He has dark natural hair, shoulder length and a narrow moustache. The left hand rests on the arm of his chair; the right loosely on his knee.

    John Wilkins was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society in 1660, he was a founder of the Society.
    Transcription
    JOAN: WILKINS PRIMUS SOCIETATIS REG: SECRET; ET BENEFACTOR WADHAMENSIS. GARDIANUS DEC: RIPON MAGISTER COLTRIN: CANT: EPISCOPUS CESTRIENSIS OBIIT AN: D: M: DC: LXXII.
    JOHN WILKINS (1614-1672) BISHOP OF CHESTER. SECRETARY 1662-168. By MARY BEALE
    Object history
    Probably bequeathed by John Wilkins.

    The picture appears to have been in the Society’s possession by January 1677 when “Mr.Hunt was ordered to take a coppy of the picture of the late Lord Bp. of Chester, Dr. Wilkins.” [Royal Society Council Minutes, Original, CMO/1, meeting of 25 January 1677]. This suggests that it, since Wilkins died in 1672, it may well have been bequeathed to the Society. Certainly, by late 1672 the Society was investigating Wilkins will: “The Amanuensis was commanded to go to the Prerogative Court, and to copy out of the late Bsp. of Chester’s last will what the legacy is, which he hath bequeathed to the Royal Society.” [Royal Society Council Minutes, Original, CMO/1, meeting of 18 December 1672]. Council later noted the receipt of money, but not this picture. [Royal Society Council Minutes, Original, CMO/1, meeting of 27 November 1673].
    Associated place
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