Portraits of the Astronomers Royal

The dates illustrate the period served as Astronomer Royal. All images are © National Maritime Museum.

John Flamsteed, the first Astronomer RoyalJohn Flamsteed, 1st Astronomer Royal from 1675-1719 Edmond HalleyEdmond Halley, 
2nd Astronomer Royal 
from 1720-42 
Rev. James Bradley (1673-1762), Third Astronomer Royal from (1742-1762)Rev. James Bradley, 3rd Astronomer Royal from 1742-62 Nathaniel BlissNathaniel Bliss,
4th Astronomer Royal
from 1762–64 
Rev. Nevil Maskelyne (1732-1811), Fifth Astronomer Royal from (1765-1811)Rev. Nevil Maskelyne, 5th Astronomer Royal from 1765-1811 
 
John Pond,
6th Astronomer Royal
from 1811-35
(no image available)
Sir George Biddell Airy, KCB (1801-92), Seventh Astronomer Royal from (1835-81) Sir George Biddell Airy, KCB, 7th Astronomer Royal from 1835-81 Sir William Christie (8th Astronomer Royal, 1881-1910)Sir William Christie,
8th Astronomer Royal
from 1881-1910
Sir Frank Dyson, KBE (1868-1939), Ninth Astronomer Royal from (1910-33)Sir Frank Dyson, KBE, 9th Astronomer Royal from 1910-33 Sir Harold Spencer Jones, KBE (1890-1960), Tenth Astronomer Royal from (1933-55)Sir Harold Spencer
Jones, KBE,
10th Astronomer Royal
from 1933-55
Sir Richard van der Riet Woolley (1906-86), Eleventh Astronomer Royal from (1956-71)Sir Richard van der Riet Woolley, 11th Astronomer Royal from 1956-71 Professor Sir Martin Ryle (12th Astronomer Royal, 1972-82)Professor Sir
Martin Ryle,
12th Astronomer Royal
from 1972-82 
Professor Sir Francis Graham Smith (1923-), Thirteenth Astronomer Royal from (1982-90) Professor Sir Francis Graham Smith, 13th Astronomer Royal from 1982-90 Sir Arnold WolfendaleSir Arnold Wolfendale,
14th Astronomer Royal
from 1991-95 
Professor Sir Martin Rees (1942-), Fifteenth Astronomer Royal from (1995-) Professor Sir Martin Rees, 15th Astronomer Royal from 1995

In the 1970s the role of running the Observatory was made separate from the other duties of Astronomer Royal and a new position of Director was introduced. The last three portraits here are of the Observatory's Directors. Graham-Smith went on to become the 13th Astronomer Royal in 1982.

Burbidge (1972-1973)Burbidge (1972-73) Hunter (1973-1975)Hunter (1973-75)
Sir Francis Graham SmithGraham-Smith (1976-81)