Credit: ©DACS
    Image number: RS.9745

    Portrait of Frank Brian Mercer

    Frank Brian Mercer (1927 - 1998, British) , Chemist
    Salvador Dalí (1904 - 1989, Spanish) , Painter
    Object type
    Archive reference number
    height (painting): 1100mm
    width (painting): 940mm
    Three quarter length seated portrait of Brian Mercer, his body covered by a draped white sheet, only his left hand and head visible. Situated on a grey plain with distant hills and a clear blue sky above. To the left as viewed, an arched rock outcrop with a smaller equivalent in grey to the right. The chair is painted as grey, liquid, swirls, the head of which contains the face of a woman in profile, regarding Mercer’s face.

    Brian Mercer was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society in 1984.
    Object history
    Bequeathed by Brian Mercer FRS, 1998.

    Sir Hugh Ford noted in his memoir of Brian Mercer: “Perhaps his greatest passion was art. He had a distinguished collection of both paintings and sculpture. The pride of this collection is perhaps the portrait of himself by Salvador Dali, believed to be the best of the four portraits that Dali painted in his life. Mercer had met Dali in New York on one of his many trips abroad and they had immediately established a rapport, which developed strongly during Mercer’s visits to his Spanish licensee, who resided near Dali’s home at Cadaques. It was during these trips that that the painting was done. It is fitting that, with his great respect and esteem for the Royal Society and his admiration for the Dali portrait, he offered it to the Society.” [“Frank Brian Mercer O.B.E.”, by Sir Hugh Ford, Biographical Memoirs of Fellows of the Royal Society, vol.46, 2000, pp.346-361].

    Hugh Ford’s mediation role in the donation was noted in the Presidential Address for November 1999, during which Sir Aaron Klug said: “I particularly wish to thank Sir Hugh Ford for his help in securing this legacy for us, and also the family for donating to us the striking portrait of Dr Mercer by Salvador Dali. It will hang in a Mercer Room we will create in his memory.” [““Address of the President, Sir Aaron Klug, O.M., P.R.S., given at the Anniversary Meeting on 30 November 1999”, Notes and Records of the Royal Society, vol.54, no.1 January 2000, p.108].
    Associated place
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