image peacock_rs9734
Image number: RS.9734
Credit: ©The Royal Society
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Portrait of George Peacock




George Peacock (1791-1858, British), Mathematician


Douglas Wye Blakiston (1810-1870, British), Artist

Object type



height (painting): 1124mm
width (painting): 868mm


Content object


Half-length portrait of George Peacock seated in an armchair upholstered in red with a carved wooden back and scrolled armrests. Peacock is half-turned to the viewer’s left and holds open a paper-bound book in which is a plan and elevation of Ely Cathedral, where Peacock serves as Dean. Two volumes rest on a table at Peacock’s right hand, the table covered by a blue cloth with a patterned edge. Additional leather-bound books can be seen in a wooden bookcase behind the sitter. Peacock is dressed soberly, in clerical style: a black suit with a white shirt and neck-cloth.

George Peacock was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society in 1818.

Object history

Presented by subscribers, 1860.

The painting was a posthumous work. A letter from the Chairman of the committee of subscribers, Sir Charles Jasper Selwyn (1813-1869, judge, has been preserved in the Society’s archives: "As the Chairman of the Committee of Subscribers to the picture of the late Dean of Ely I beg to request you to communicate to the Royal Society the unanimous wish of the Committee & of the Subscribers to present the picture to the Royal Society. In the event of our request being complied with the picture will be forwarded by Dr.L.Beale at any time most convenient to yourself.” [Letter, J.C.Selwyn, 15 June 1860, to the Secretary of the Royal Society, Miscellaneous Correspondence, MC/6/95]. The letter was reproduced in the Society’s Council minutes where it was “Resolved, - that thanks be returned to Mr. Selwyn, the Committee and the Subscribers, for their highly valued gift.” [Royal Society Council Minutes, Printed, CMP/3, 1858-1869, meeting of 21 June 1860, p.64].

Associated place

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