Credit: ©The Royal Society
    Image number: RS.9670
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    Portrait of Michael Faraday

    ca. 1840s
    Michael Faraday (1791 - 1867, British) , Natural philosopher
    Alexander Blaikley (1816 - 1903, British) , Painter
    Object type
    Archive reference number
    height (painting): 913mm
    width (painting): 720mm
    Content object
    Half-length portrait of Michael Faraday. Looking to the viewer’s right, his left hand and index finger extended, as if in the act of speaking or lecturing. Faraday is dressed in a black jacket and tie, with a white shirt. To the left of the painting as viewed is a glass tube with brass fittings containing electrodes and a spirit burner, intended to represent Faraday’s work on electrolysis.

    Michael Faraday (1791-1867), British natural philosopher, was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society in 1824. He was awarded the Society's Bakerian Medal and Lecture in 1829, 1832, 1849, 1851, and 1857, its Copley Medal in 1832 and 1838, its Royal Medal in 1835 and 1846, and its Rumford Medal in 1846. Faraday was a famous orator and scientific communicator, and now has a Royal Society prize named after him, awarded annually for exemplary communication of scientific ideas in lay terms.
    MICHAEL FARADAY, F.R.S. (1791-1867) By A. BLAIKLEY
    Object history
    Presented by John Peter Gassiot FRS (1797-1877), 1873.

    The artist, like Michael Faraday, was a member of the Sandemanian church and is mentioned occasionally in Faraday’s correspondence.

    The Society has surviving letters relating to this work. J.P.Gassiot provided information on the two gifted Faraday works (one by Armitage): “The size of the large picture is 7 feet x 5 ½ feet. It was only finished on Saturday...the Portrait is Kit Cat size...” [Letter, J.P.Gassiot, 11 November 1873, to Walter White, Royal Society, Miscellaneous Correspondence MC/10/37]. The information is repeated by Edward Armitage indicating that this work reached the Society at Burlington House on 20 November 1873: “Mr Vokin the framemaker will take tomorrow at about 1p.m. two pictures to the Royal Society belonging to J.P.Gassiot Esq. One of them is a KitKat portrait of Faraday and the other a picture commemorating an event in the life of Faraday. Mr Gassiot intends to present...” [Letter, Edward Armitage, 19 November 1873, to the Secretary, Royal Society, Miscellaneous Correspondence MC/10/39].

    This work was presented with the group portrait of a deputation to Faraday, by Edward Armitage.
    Associated place
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