image taylor p0129
Image number: RS.9685
Credit: ©The Royal Society
Looking for a special gift? Buy a print of this image.

Portrait of Brook Taylor

Date

ca. 1720

Sitter

Brook Taylor (1685-1731, British), Mathematician

Creator

Possibly studio of Hans Hysing (b.1678, Swedish), Painter

Object type

Archive reference number

Material

Dimensions

height (painting): 760mm
width (painting): 634mm

Subject

Description

Head and shoulders portrait of Brook Taylor in a painted oval, wearing a shoulder-length grey wig. Taylor is dressed in a light brown coat with prominent buttons, opened to show a yellow silk waistcoat brocaded in a floral design with silver and dark green, also open, and a white shirt and cravat.

Artist unknown, possibly by studio of Hans Hysing (1678-1752 or 1753).

Taylor was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society in 1712.

Transcription

BROOK TAYLOR, LL.D. SEC. R.S
BROOK TAYLOR (1685-1731) SECRETARY 1714-1718) PAINTER UNKNOWN

Object history

Presented by Sir William Young FRS, 1807.

This work was in the possession of the Young family before being presented to the Royal Society. A mezzotint version was published in 1793, inscribed “From an original Picture in the possession of Lady Young”. [The print was by the engraver Richard Earlam (1743-1822) see for example, NPG D6930]. Brook Taylor’s only child, Elizabeth (1729-1801) married Sir William Young (1724/5-1788) first baronet and the painting must have belonged to her. The gift was made by her son, the second baronet Sir William Young FRS (1749-1815).

According to the entry in the Society’s Journal Book: “A portrait of the late Brook Taylor M.D. Sec.R.S. painted by Ramsay & original letters of Dr Brook Taylor [now Royal Society MS/82] both presented by Sir William Young Bart., F.R.S.” [Royal Society Journal Book Original JBO/39, meeting of 15 January 1807, pp.241-242]. Ramsay must be intended to mean the Scottish painter Allan Ramsay (1713-1784) who trained in London under Hans Hysing (1678-1752 or 1753) in 1732. Given Brook Taylor’s death in 1731 Ramsay’s involvement would be impossible, but the name may commemorate a link with Hysing and his studio, a more likely attribution for the work.

Associated place

<The World>
   > Europe
      > United Kingdom