image williamson p143
Image number: RS.9753
Credit: ©The Royal Society
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Portrait of Joseph Williamson


ca. 1684


Joseph Williamson (1633-1701, British), Government official


Godfrey Kneller (1646-1723, British), Painter

Object type



height (painting): 1274mm
width (painting): 1031mm


Three-quarter length portrait of Sir Joseph Williamson leaning with his right arm against an architectural pillar, the upper portions swathed in a brown hanging. Williamson’s left hand is held at his hip. He wears a shoulder-length brown wig and a brown coat, embroidered in gold and silver, with a white shirt and lace neck-cravat. Over this, a green velvet cloak worn across the body and held at the shoulder by a jewelled clasp.

Joseph Williamson was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society in 1663, he served as its President from 1677 to 1680.

Object history

Presented by Sir Joseph Williamson, 1684.

The donation is given in one early museum catalogue as being 3 December 1683. [Royal Society Manuscripts General, MS/414/11, p.20]. This must be a clerical error, since no meeting were held on that day in 1683. 1684 was meant and a Journal Book minute states that: “The Society having received the Picture of Sir Joseph Williamson, formerly their President, ordered it to be placed in their Meeting Room, and desired Mr.Hill, and Dr, Gale, to wait upon Sr. Jos. Williamson with their thanks.” [Royal Society Journal Book, Original, JBO/7, meeting of 10 December 1684, p.278].

Associated place

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