after John Vanderbank, Sir Isaac Newton

Photo courtesy of Dave Penman (All rights reserved)


Country House
Sir Isaac Newton
Medium and support
Oil on canvas
Overall height: 58 cm, Overall width: 47 cm
after John Vanderbank (1694-1739)
Catalogue Number


The present portrait is based loosely on John Vanderbank’s three-quarter-length portrait of Isaac Newton in the Royal Society (fig. 1). At the time of Vanderbank’s portrait Newton was aged eighty-three. He had been elected a fellow of the Royal Society in 1672 and was president from 1703 until his death in 1727. Copies of Newton’s portrait were fairly commonly owned and displayed during the eighteenth century. In the present copy the portrait has been reversed and the sitter’s unkempt hair tidied up. The resemblance to Vanderbank’s original is not convincing in terms of likeness, suggesting that it may have been made by a provincial artist.

1727. Oil on paper, 127 × 101.6 cm. The Royal Society, London (RS/9255).

Figure 1.
John Vanderbank, Sir Isaac Newton, 1727. Oil on paper, 127 × 101.6 cm. The Royal Society, London (RS/9255).

Digital image courtesy of The Royal Society, London. (All rights reserved)

by Jonny Yarker

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