image faraday_rs9670
Image number: RS.9670
Credit: ©The Royal Society

Portrait of Michael Faraday

Date

ca. 1840s

Sitter

Michael Faraday (1791-1867, British), Natural philosopher

Creator

Alexander Blaikley (1816-1903, British), Painter

Object type

Material

Dimensions

height (painting): 913mm
width (painting): 720mm

Subject

Content object

Description

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 was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society in 1824.

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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