image clift p0024
Image number: RS.9657
Credit: ©The Royal Society
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Portrait of William Clift


ca. 1820s


William Clift (1775-1849, British), Museum curator


Heinrich II Schmidt (b.1771, German), Painter

Object type

Archive reference number



height (painting): 767mm
width (painting): 640mm



Half-length portrait of William Clift, seated, his body turned to the right as viewed. His hands are crossed at the wrist, the right hand holding a sheaf of paper. Clift is balding, with long side whiskers. He wears a black coat, waistcoat and tie, with a high-collared white shirt.

William Clift was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society in 1823.


WILLIAM CLIFT, F.R.S. (1775-1849) by H.SCHMIDT

Object history

Presented by Mrs Caroline Amelia Owen [nee Clift], 1858.

The gift of this painting is recorded in the Society’s Council Minutes, on receipt of a letter from Mrs Owen [Caroline Amelia Clift, daughter of William Clift and wife of Richard Owen FRS (1804-1892)]. “Mrs Owen presents her respectful Compliments to the President & Council of the Royal Society, & begs to offer a Portrait of her late father William Clift F.R.S. & to Express the gratification it would afford Professor Owen & herself if it should be deemed worthy of acceptance for the Society. Resolved that the best thanks of the President & Council be returned to Mrs Owen for her highly acceptable gift of the Portrait of our late valued Member.“ [Letter, Caroline Amelia Owen, 8 February 1858, to the Royal Society. Royal Society archives, Miscellaneous Correspondence MC/5/331. Transcribed in Royal Society Council Minutes, Original, CMO/13, meeting of 4 March 1858].

Associated place

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