image dolland p0035
Image number: RS.9705
Credit: ©The Royal Society
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Portrait of John Dollond


19th century


John Dollond (1706-1761, British), Instrument maker


William Frederick Witherington (1785-1865, British), Painter


Benjamin Wilson (1721-1788, British), Artist

Object type



height (painting): 282mm
width (painting): 215mm


Content object


Half-length portrait of John Dollond, seated at a table, wearing a brown coat, white shirt and cravat. On the table is a volume with “Opticks” [presumably denoting Sir Isaac Newton’s work] written on the top edge, and a small brass-boxed lens resting on top of the volume. Dollond holds a similar, smaller lens in his left hand.

John Dollond was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society in 1761.

Object history

Presented by George Dollond FRS (1774-1852), 1842.

The gift is noted in Council Minutes: “ The following letter from Mr. Dollond, accompanying the present of a portrait of his late Grandfather, Mr. John Dollond, was read: To the President and Council of the Royal Society. My Lord and Gentlemen, Being desirous of paying every respect in my power to the memory of my late grandfather, Mr.John Dollond, the inventor of the Achromatic Refracting Telescope, for which he was honoured by the Society with the Copley Medal; and having in my possession a small yet highly finished portrait of that most excellent man, from whose talents I have received so many advantages, I beg to have the honor of presenting it to the Society, in order, should it merit the distinction I am seeking through your favour, that it may be suspended in the Meeting Room of the Society among those who have already been so honoured...St Paul’s Churchyard, June 6th , 1842. The thanks of the Council were given to Mr Dollond...“ [Royal Society Council Minutes, Printed, CMP/1, 1832-1846, meeting of 9 June 1842, p.387].

The original of this printed letter is preserved in the Society’s archives. [Letter, George Dollond, 6 June 1842, to the Royal Society, Miscellaneous Correspondence MC/3/222].

Associated place

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