image deputation faraday p0147
Image number: RS.9675
Credit: ©The Royal Society

Deputation to Faraday

Date

1873

Sitter

Michael Faraday (1791-1867, British), Natural philosopher
John Peter Gassiot (1797-1877, British), Electrician
William Robert Grove (1791-1867, British), Natural philosopher
John Wrottesley, 2nd Baron Wrottesley (1798-1867, British), Landowner

Creator

Edward Armitage (1817-1896, British), Painter

Object type

Material

Dimensions

height (painting): 1376mm
width (painting): 1830mm

Content object

Description

Group portrait and historical painting depicting a delegation from Council of the Royal Society in 1857, offering the organisation’s Presidency to Michael Faraday, who refused the office. The delegation occupies the left of the composition, facing Faraday across a table. The group is: John Wrottesley (seated left); J P Gassiot (seated, centre left) W.R.Grove (standing) and Michael Faraday (seated, right).

The scene is an interior with a marble fireplace in the background over which is a mirror. A candlestick and clock rest on the mantle. Green patterned wallpaper and a framed pattern design can be seen to the left and a bell-pull to the right. Resting on the table is a wooden pen tray with a glass ink bottle, red sealing wax and quills. To the right of this a glass laboratory bottle. A yellow and red cloth is positioned by Faraday’s right hand in which he holds a rolled sheet of paper.

The overall depiction of Faraday is similar to that of Blaikley’s portrait which may have been used as a source image.

Object history

Presented by John Peter Gassiot FRS (1797-1877), 1873.

Apparently commissioned by J.P.Gassiot for the Royal Society. The Society has surviving letters relating to the gift. A letter by J.P.Gassiot provides the date of composition: “The size of the large picture is 7 feet x 5 ½ feet. It was only finished on Saturday...” [Letter, J.P.Gassiot, 11 November 1873, to Walter White, Royal Society, Miscellaneous Correspondence MC/10/37]. A further letter by the artist Edward Armitage indicates 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 a portrait of Michael Faraday by Alexander Blaikley.

Associated place

<The World>
   > Europe
      > United Kingdom